When was the last time you asked someone if they had children? I’m asked this question at least once a week. Yesterday I was asked three times.
I was presenting on my area of expertise – PR and social media – to a group of very successful CEOs. One asked “How do you have time to do social media?” Before I could answer, another asked “Do you have children?” It wasn’t a casual conversation between a group of friends – I was presenting a professional seminar.
My answer: No
His response: Well that is why you have time to do social media.
I let the comment go, but by the end of the seminar I was so annoyed by that dismissive comment, I let him know how annoyed I was.
But it made me wonder about a few things.
Do people with children really think that I have more time than them? I’m not a sitting on the couch watching TV kind of girl. Come and spend a day in my life. There isn’t much couch time.
Last week I was sitting with a group of women artists who were talking about how they have suffered because male artists don’t tend do the child rearing so have more opportunity to do their art and have “dreaming” time, and hanging out with their “muses”.
One very observant woman in the room could see I was starting to think it was probably time to go home. This conversation no longer included me. She said “And don’t forget the women like Catriona who run companies, they are trying to find time to do their art as well.” Yes we are.
If I was a man would I be asked if I have children? I would suggest no, or at least not as much.
I did a quick poll of my friends, some of whom have children, others who don’t. The only ones that responded are women who don’t have children. They are asked at least once a week if they have children.
I’m not sure what this means. Do the ones who do have children not notice if they are asked because it is such a part of their lives? I’m not sure. I do know the only people who ask me if I have children, are people with children.
When I’m asked the question, at times it makes me feel like I’m not a part of your club. I’m an outsider. I don’t have that one thing in common with you. During a time in my life being asked this question brought up profound sadness for me. Mostly now, I have no attachment to the answer. It’s simply, no.
Next time you ask “Do you have children?” Maybe think twice. Don’t assume we do. And don’t assume we have more time in our lives, because often we don’t.
There are so many other questions you could ask to get to know someone better.
What questions do you ask to get to know someone better?