Every child-free woman has her own way of answering The Big Question: “Why don’t you have children?” Few of us have the nerve to respond by asking the questioner why they do have children, no matter how often we have the chance.
Laura LaVoie admitted in a recent post that she tends to volunteer the fact that she doesn’t “hate children” and asked for other suggestions. Commenters were happy to oblige.
Asking a woman if she has children is a staple of life. Period. If you have a uterus, people want to know if you’re using it. Parents want to know if you belong to their tribe. Cool. No explanation needed.
It’s the follow-up that veers into rudeness. The why. When asked, “Why don’t you have children?” the appropriate answer is “None of your business.” Or the more polite, “For personal reasons” – followed by silence, or a walk-away. “Oh, my! Look at the time!” always works.
For you and I, the follow-up is annoying. For some of us, it can lead to tears in the ladies’ room. What is it like, I wondered, when cameras are in your face? I decided to review responses by some famous NotMoms, looking for a trend. Without kids by choice or by chance, their answers are honest, short, and straight to the point. Think about that the next time someone presents you with Why?
Cameron Diaz: “I have an unbelievable life. In some ways, I have the life that I have because I don’t have children,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a compromise to have children,” she adds. “I don’t think it’s a compromise not to. I think it’s just a different choice.”
Condoleeza Rice: “I won’t have kids [laughs] but I may still get married. But I would have lived a very fulfilled life if I had gotten married and had kids, too.”
Megan Mullally: “We like to stay home and read books and hang out with our poodles.”
Jennifer Aniston: “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I’m at peace with whatever the plan is.”
Zooey Deschanel: “[Having kids has] never been my focus. I like kids, and I like being around kids, but it was never an ambition, something, like, I need.”
Chelsea Handler: “I don’t think I’d be a great mother. I don’t want to have a kid and have it raised by a nanny. I don’t have the time to raise a child myself.”
Tyra Banks: “I will have children, whether they come out of me or come to me. I’m open to [adopting].”
Diane Sawyer: “I have stepchildren, and I have — what do the Quakers say? — a basket filled with children whom I adore.”
Portia de Rossi: “You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So, it’s just going to be me and Ellen and no babies.”