real life

"I'm happily married and in my 40s. Stop asking me about kids."

When I was 16 years old a friend of my mother’s said to me: "When you grow up and have children of your own..."

Hold up, who said anything about kids? 

"Give it time," they said.  

"When you’re older you’ll feel different," they said.  

"You’ll change your mind," they said. 

Yet here I stand, decades older and my feelings have remained the same: Little 'uns? I think I’ll take a pass thanks Eddie. 

Watch: Things people who don't want kids always hear. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

Now to be clear, I’m not the Grinch that stole parenthood and I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t talk about your children... in fact, I’m all ears – I love a good chinwag about how your kids are doing. People who know me get it immediately, however, from complete strangers I receive blank stares and dropped jaws when I inform them of my under-utilised womb.

You see, I started dating my husband when I was 33. I was married at 36. Now I'm in my mid-40s and we never wanted to try for children. But because I am married and in my forties, people assume I must have children and want to know how many. 

A question that is answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no' provides such shock when the response is not at all what was expected. For years, I've leapt into a personal essay on my reasons for not having procreated. 

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I have since traded that in for a simple "No. I have none". 

I am quickly met with either confusion/sadness because they assume I can’t have them, or confusion/disgust because they assume I don’t like them. Or even confusion/hope, as they tell me "you still have time!" or confusion/over compensated excitement with comments like... "Oh the freedom you must have! You can travel whenever you like and get drunk mid-week!" Whilst I can do all of these things in theory, I am just a normal person, who goes to work, has four weeks annual leave a year and can’t arrive at my job hungover. 

Never ever am I met with just a plain, "OK".  

We all know that children are the great equaliser and that is why it is such a go-to conversation starter between strangers. I have heard that celebrities and royalty alike will often resort to offspring related chit-chat when standing beside a commoner; therefore, it’s of no surprise that my humble ride-share driver breaks out the topic on the daily.  

So here is my point: What about other equalisers? Perhaps we start with something else or move on swiftly. Has the art of small talk been reduced to constant mini-me related chatter? 

What about travel, art, music, sport or food? 

A friend of mine once met Oprah and her first question to my friend was "what was the last book you read?" Off they went on a glorious evening of literary exchange.  

Think about it. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to jump in a cab and be greeted with: "Potatoes: fried or mashed... what’s your fancy?"

So please, if you meet me waiting in line, let’s talk about something else. 

Jane Goldsmith is a fashion designer, writer and mirror selfie enthusiast.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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