I have three wonderful children. My husband and I are retired and so spend more time with friends. When we go out we naturally speak about our children and grandchildren. They are our whole life. I have friends who have no children or grandchildren and they never ask how is your family, what are the grandkids up to? So we never bring our family into the conversation. But we do feel uncomfortable sometimes. Oh, and all these people want to talk about are their pets- what is wrong with people who think animals are like humans?
1. The man who lives next door to me once angrily knocked on my door, holding a bag of rocks in his hand. These were rocks he had collected from his yard. Apparently, during one of my many playdate-turned-Mommy-winefest afternoons, the unattended kids were chucking rocks over the fence. My neighbor was super angry and was like, “These could have hit my children! It really would have hurt them! They’re only eight pounds a piece!” And I was thinking, who the hell lets two 8-pound babies loiter by a fence in the backyard all by themselves…and then I realized that he was talking about his dogs. His dog children. I immediately decided to discount everything else he ever says to me because what’s wrong with those people is that they’re bored and lonely and their spouses have ceased to provide adequate entertainment and affection, and they’re desperate, so they get it from their dogs.
2. Do your friends ask about other things in your life? Do they ask about your sailboat, or your salt and pepper shaker collection, or your tango lessons? If they do, then they either hate children and don’t want to hear about them, or they’re oblivious and it never occurs to them to ask, since they don’t have kids or grandkids of their own. If you think it’s the former, don’t bother talking to them about your family, because they don’t want to hear it: they’ll only roll their eyes and think nasty thoughts about your family (probably in much the same way you roll your eyes every time they talk about their pets). If it’s the latter, feel free to talk about your family all you want…as long as you don’t talk about them constantly. Then you’ll be just as bad as my neighbor and his bag full of rocks.