Blog,  Parenting

“Are You Having Anymore?”

Warning: If you don’t want to listen to a rant read no further, and this is not really a G rated theme.

I’m well used to the much of the world’s reactions against a large family, I grew up as the oldest of eight, I now have eight of my own. People can be so rude, the stupid questions which everyone of more than two children receive today generally roll off my back, generally;)
“Haven’t you got a television? Don’t you know what causes it? and many other similar comments, have actually over the years kind of got funny, after all do they really think they are original? In fact I have become rather bold in the last few years and rather shocked myself with my returning quips, I’ll keep it G rated, email me if you need some pointers;) I try to make them think by comic relief.

Most people are pretty well meaning really, they just don’t think before they engage their mouths. Often it really is small talk, kind of like when the older folk say “You’ve got your hands full” and you smile graciously and give them a chance to talk; and they tell you they had seven and these are truly the best days of your life. Yep I really know that.

But for some reason I’m getting different questions at the moment and it is really starting to bug me. The children have just started gymnastics, a new sport for us so in this town of 20,000 a whole new set of people we haven’t met, so the inevitable begins. For some reason these people’s reactions are stronger, I have a very definite idea of when they are told; I settle the girls into class and the boys along the wall whilst they wait for their class, and turn and see this absolute physical shock come over the woman who has just been told, yep you’ve guessed it.
“You have eight children…?”
I smile “Yes”
Truly week after week (three weeks now), it is a new couple of mums waiting and when they are told or the penny drops they look absolutely gob-smacked, then
“Are you having anymore?”

This is really getting to me, do I know these people? I haven’t even had a basic conversation with them and they are asking me personal details, really personal. And my pre-teen/teenage children are sitting there. We have lost it as a society if we think it acceptable to ask anyone let alone perfect strangers intimate questions.
Mind you they are perfectly happy to offer you all their personal details, keeping it G rated but I’m certain you know to what little hospital visits I refer to. I don’t want to know.

So all week I’ve racked my brain for a nice way to put these strangers straight, nicely but politely so how does this sound “It”s really none of your business.”
Okay a little confrontational?
I’m wondering if I would offend if I said, “I’m not sure that I know you well enough to share that just yet”
Mmm drippy , so any ideas? I’m fed up.

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  • Aussie Therese

    I hate that question too and I have come up with a couple of reactions to it.

    These are my favourites:

    Well I gave away my crystal ball so I cannot tell you my future anymore.

    Well personally, I believe that is between my husband and I and really no one else’s business.

  • Tina

    You know, I only have 4 children and get the same kinds of questions and comments. They don’t seem shocked, so much, since 4 isn’t too far above what they deem acceptable, but it’s enough to make them feel they have a right to comment and/or question. I (only having 4, like I said) actually had one person stand there and count my children, then ended with a “wow! 4!…are you planning on having any more?” I so want to say “How is that ANY business of yours?” or just for fun say, “I’m hoping to have AT LEAST 10 more. Can you count THAT high?”. Lately I have just shrugged and said, “That’s up to God”. Then I usually just smile and walk away.

  • Anonymous

    As they are stickybeaking I would tell them Is it really any of your business? Another retort I have heard is I have to have another 20 to meet my quota

    Too many of us myself included comment on others ‘ private lives and business. My silliest was asking one very white women were her very dark kids adopted when out came her husband who was Sri Lankan. However in my defense one of my church friends had recently adopted a Filipino boy who is very dark whilst his Aussie born parents are fair and his dad is a red head.


  • Jessica

    I only have 5, but have been hearing that question my whole life too! 😉 I just respond, “I don’t know. That’s up to God, like it should be!” and that usually ends the conversation. Sometimes I’ll return the question to them, and when they tell me oh no, say “Oh! That’s too bad.. I’m sorry!! How sad!” 😉

    Growing up was the funnest though. People that knew my family always asked me “Do you want a big family too??” and I’d reply: “OH NO!! I want a SMALL family… only five or six kids, but it will be up to God.”

    The funny thing was I was totally serious, it was the truth! Yet, even though “five or six” was small to me back then, it sure caught the “general public” off guard! =)

  • Tracy

    We have 6 and get similar.

    I’m a shocker I like to shock so I say

    We’re still looking for the child we like… do you think we can refund the others?

    But then I’m a little naughty 😉

  • FlyFshrGrl

    I don't have any children, but I teach, so I see the gamut of only children, the 2.5 children/family, and large families.

    I think you should continue to come up with tongue-in-cheek answers, and let your kids help you create them. The most shocking or mouth-dropping or dumb-founding comment of the week gets an extra allowance or whatever. Must be G-rated, though.

    …We're role playing Snow White, but I thought Disney should have written it with 8 dwarfs. Giving it a go to see who was right, Walt or us.

    …love football (soccer) so much, that I wanted to have my own team.

    …needed a constant resource of slave labor without breaking any child labor laws.

    …wanted someone else to do the dishes and the laundry for a change.

    …taking a survey as to how many times strangers ask stupid questions about the number of children we have. You're number [fill in the blank].

    Love your post, and visiting from the Rewind.

  • Life In A Pink Fibro

    I think I'd just smile and say "I'll get back to you on that" – then again, I'm not the one getting asked every five minutes. It really is a case of engaging mouth before turning on brain. Bet you never knew you were creating such a conversation starter!

    Visiting from the Rewind.

  • Tenille @ Help!Mum

    Whether you have a family big or small, having a stranger ask if you're planning on having another child is a bit invasive. I love the quota reply; I'm going to remember that one.

    Stopping by from the Rewind.

  • MultipleMum

    I have only got four and I get that all the time. Are you finished yet? I think you have had another child since you wrote this post. That must have gone down well with the gymnastics crowd! Thanks for Rewinding x

  • Erin


    I read a few one liner lately, but not game enough to use them. more about "when will you stop"
    1. We'll stop when we get an ugly one. (but then how would the last one feel? kwim)
    2. Or "Don';t you know what causes it?" answer; "No, do tell me"
    3.I once had a delivery man at my door say, "Don't you have a TV" I'm afraid I did get bold that time, "Oh I have something much better to do"

    I like your answer, very calm and polite, I'll have to use it.
    btw the most recent time I was asked was on the delivery table just after giving birth. I did say, "now is not a great time to ask that"

    I agree! and I do not it is not just large families who get asked personal, intimate questions.
    a friend(has 2). Had people asking when she got back from her honeymoon when she was having one. (and considering she has sub-fertility issues it was extra insensitive, not that they knew that.) then when she was blessed with one it was, when was she having another.

  • Erin


    Cross- posting:) Yes, old post, we've had another since then. I read on one of your sisters posts that you get, "are they all yours?" I have a one liner for you, "I don't find shopping exciting enough so I picked up a few extras". I do realise often people mean well and want to just chat.

  • therhythmmethod

    I get this question and I only have 3 kids. I can't imagine how frustrating this must be.
    I'm sure your kids are gorgeous. I love watching a mum with a lot of kids: they're experts, after all. And it wasn't that long ago that big families were fairly common.
    Visiting from Weekend Rewind.

  • Erin

    Mostly I've developed a thick skin and laugh it off, it's more the really intrusive comments with my pre-teens and teens standing next to me that bother me. thanks for your kind words. I've added your blog to my google reader btw:)

  • Elisa | blissfulE

    I'm a Protestant with four children (who, *shockingly*, sit in the church service with us) and mostly get this type of intrusive question at church. Usually I tell them that we're open to what God has for us, since I know it's a well-meaning curiosity. Lately, though, I've started saying with a smile, "We get asked that a lot." Most people realise the conversation is over at that point.

    The wife of our late pastor came up to me and said, "you guys would make good Catholics." So I asked her why Protestants don't have more children, and she immediately replied, "we're too selfish." I found this both very apt and terribly sad.

    I did feel insulted when a random stranger asked in a nasty tone if we're planning to have more. There I was, quite visibly pregnant with my third beautiful child, and this stranger was acting horrified that I might consider having more. I thought honesty would be the quickest way to end the conversation, so I said we were hoping for more. She got even more nasty, saying things about it being irresponsible. It's not like I'm unwed or on government assistance, and my kids were right there with me! She moved on as she continued her janitorial duties and I prayed for her, thinking she must have a very hard life to react like that.

    That's the only really bad incident I can recall. Most of the time I get the old "You must have your hands full." And I smile and reply, "Yes, in a good way."

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