Mental Health, Relationships

Are You Trying?

Do you get asked this question?

It could pertain to anything.  And I think this question comes up for kids more than adults.  When it comes to sports or homework or chores around the house.  But for me, it comes up in a completely different way.

I get asked this question because people want to know if I’m starting a family.  Yup.  I get asked this question on a pretty regular basis.  I’m at an age where a lot of people think it’s strange that I don’t have kids yet.  Growing up in a small town in Massachusetts, it was normal to date, get married and immediately start a family.  However, that was not my path.

Don’t get me wrong, I like kids.  But my husband and I have a 24-hour rule – we an only babysit for 24-hours.  It’s a existing joke, but it’s true.  And we have this rule because we feel, right now, there is a bigger reason for us being on this planet.  If kids are in our future, then they will be in our path eventually.  For us, it’s that simple.  If it’s meant to be, it will be.

Bringing kids into our life is an exciting idea.  It makes us smile.  And we both know that we can be great parents.  But for me, the idea brings on a bit of anxiety.  Ok, a lot of anxiety.  Why?  Because I want to be a great parent.  I want to be there, fully, for my kids.  Right now, I don’t think I can do that.  There are a lot of reasons, but they don’t really need to be explained for the purposes of this post.  What I’m really here to do, is talk about this question.

Asking this question has caused anxiety for me from time to time.  I get anxious because I don’t know how to respond to it.  I also get anxious because because deep down, I question myself.  Sometimes when I get asked this question, I don’t feel like I’m doing enough or like I’m not good enough.  I have even questioned the path I’m on.  I have even thought this question is just as bad as the other side – “Are you pregnant?” But ultimately, every time, I feel stress.  Recently, I’ve come up with a few tips for myself to deal with this stress…to deal with this question.

First and foremost, I need to remember to breathe.  I take a breathe when I’m asked this question because it allows time to think.  I need to think about how I’m going to respond so I don’t fly off the handle.  Depending on who asks me this question, it can come off differently – pushy, rude, aggressive, curious.  And my mood will have a direct correlation to how I respond.  Breathing first helps.

Second, I take it into context.  Is your mom asking this question because she wants grandkids?  Is your friend asking because he/she is curious?  Everything depends on who is asking the question.  The person doing the asking has their own reasons for asking, which I may not know right away.  The context of the conversation will help showcase those reasons.

Lastly, be kind.  I have been in this situation many times and it’s hard to not be kind.  Being asked this question may make you immediately feel defensive.  I know I have felt that way before.  And yes, there have been times when I have responded in a not-so-kind way.  Responding with kindness is easier for everyone in the end.

Despite this question being asked in so many different ways, by so many different people, it’s still a hard question to be asked.  Yes, I want to have kids, but I want to have them on my own terms.  And it has to work for the lifestyle within my family and that means my husband and I.

Moral of my story, if you’re going to ask this question, be considerate to who you’re asking it to.  They may struggle with the answer.  They might feel uncomfortable with the question.  And they might not be in a place where they can even answer.  Your best bet…steer clear of the question.

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