When Your Parents Pressure You To Have Kids
It can be difficult to know what to say when your parents and in-laws pressure you to have children. Children are a wonderful, beautiful thing, but that doesn’t mean everyone should have them, or at least that you should have them right now. Explaining why you don’t want children, or avoiding the topic entirely, becomes increasingly difficult once you and your partner get married. Then it becomes a little more difficult when you become really financially successful. And you can almost forget about explaining why you have an empty nest when you’ve moved into a three-bedroom yard with a home. Surely you couldn’t expect to enjoy that all to yourselves—you and your spouse? That’s just selfish, right? Not really. But it’s hard to tell that to aging parents who want to grow their brood. Here is how to deal with parents who are pressuring you into having kids.
Remind them they’re welcome to have more kids
Ask your mother if she would like to have another baby around? Would she like to deal with the diapers and the vomit and the toys on the floor and the sleepless nights? Bring her some pamphlets on surrogate mothers and in vitro options. Tell her she is more than welcome to make another little baby herself if she’s so intent on having one around. This may quiet her for a while.
Ask if they’d like to pay for it
Because you can’t. So if they’d like to put aside a grand or so a month to pay for diapers and food and clothes and toys, they can. And if they’d also like to take money out of their retirement to start a college fund for the child, they can do that, too. Remind them kids are expensive and you’re not ready to pay for them.
Ask if they’d like to babysit every day
Because they’d have to. You’re not quitting your job because A) You can’t afford to and B) You don’t want to and C) You don’t want to! Oh, did we already say that? Well, it’s an important one. So you can tell your parents that if they’d like to have the child in their house from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, they can be your guests. Then see what they say.
Do your other accomplishments mean nothing?
You can also tell your parents and in-laws that when they obsess over the baby issue, they make you feel like your other accomplishments mean nothing. What about the career you’ve built? Your business? The volunteer work you do? You can play the guilt card and make them feel a little bad for not paying enough attention to those accomplishments.
Get them a hobby
They may just want grandkids because they’re bored! Look, they’re retired. Many of their friends moved away for their retirement. They just have nothing to do. So get them a membership to a golf club or buy them some dance classes at the rec center. Just distract them, for goodness sake. They need to feel fulfilled and they’re looking to your uterus for that fulfillment.
Have them babysit somebody for a day
Here’s a really great way to make your parents question how badly they want grandkids: put them in charge of a toddler for a day. Offer to babysit your friend’s toddler, and drop that child off with your parents. They may question how eager they are to have grandkids after that. You can use this tactic every few months or so, when their memories on the matter go blurry.
Remind them the bloodline is already going
It’s possible they just want grandkids to keep their bloodline alive. If you have nieces or nephews, or cousins with children, you can remind them that the bloodline is already going.
If your in-laws are the ones pressuring you to have children, remember to be flattered: it means they really love you. Nothing quite solidifies your place in their life forever like having their grandkids, so if they want that from you then they’ve fully accepted you. Thank them for that.
Tell them you’re trying
Hey, how do they know? Are they in the room when you and your partner do grab the condom or when you do take your birth control pill? When people won’t respect your privacy, sometimes you have to do a little white lying about what goes on behind closed doors.
Your time is too precious to discuss this
You could try flattering them. When they bring up kids, you could say that your time with them is too precious to spend on talking about this. Say you’d rather catch up on what they’ve been up to or see that photo slideshow from that vacation or learn that recipe your mom has. Focusing the attention on them can go a long way.
Ask them why it matters to them
Your parents have a specific reason they want you and your significant other to have children. Perhaps they have a family business they want to make sure is run properly. So sit down and talk to them about the future of the business, and the plans you have for it. Maybe they are religious and feel isolated from their community recently, but feel that grandkids could help them get back into it. So go to church and church events with them.
Get a dog
You’d be amazed what an effective placeholder this can be. Your parents really just want a thing they can love with you. A dog allows them to share cute photos on Facebook, tell you all the cute things the dog did while they babysat him and share in the responsibilities of caring for something.
Spend more time with them
They may just want grandkids as a way of spending more time with you. So spend more time with them. Show them that you don’t need some sort of extra glue to hold you together. Visit them and call them more often. Spend more holidays with them.
Let them baby you more
Maybe your parents just want to baby you, you won’t let them, and so they demand grandkids. Let your parents take care of you more. Let your dad make that phone call on your behalf to negotiate your car payments. Let your mom cook for you when you’re sick. Listen to their advice. Go to them when you’re down.
Assure them you’re happy
Your parents might just worry that you are not personally satisfied in your life and that having kids could bring you satisfaction. So assure them you’re happy. Let them come along with you to work or your volunteer project and see just how happy your pursuits make you.