I am the very lucky mother of three gorgeous boys and I could be sunning myself on my own luxury yacht in the Bahamas if I had a dollar for every time I have heard this question: "Will you try again for a girl?" It was one of the reasons I set up the website luckymothersofboys.com. Surely there are many many more mothers out there who feel truly blessed to have sons but find themselves stuck for an appropriate response when, often complete strangers, wade in with this query.
It made me think of all the other things people say, often highlighting the obvious -- like the spot on your nose (despite the cover-up), the fact you look tired (thanks!) -- or just to fill a silence. Those irritating remarks that require a fake smile response, a forced giggle or seemingly flippant retort, argh!
What are the most common comment faux pas? I have put together a list of 10 (and I am sure there are numerous more) with some suggested responses that may help silence the offending perpetrator.
"Wow, you're tall." No. You are short!
"Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?" You got me! I knew it would be bad when I woke up and had to crawl out from underneath
"Still single? Where's your boyfriend/ girlfriend?" Oh no, have I lost them again?
"Are you not married yet?" Nah, we don't really like each other much
"Are you going to have kids soon?" Maybe tonight!
"Don't you have grandchildren yet?" Not that I know of!
"Do you want children?" Why? Are you trying to sell yours?
"Do you work or are you just a mother?" I am too busy putting my feet up to work.
"Ok you have one child, when's the next one due?" Not for a while, we've realized we don't really like kids.
"Cheer up it can't be that bad." It's not, that's just the way my face looks.
Yes, there is an element of those on the receiving end needing to toughen up and have a thicker skin. Perhaps we are becoming too easily offended. But, on the other hand, having to fend off the same inane comment time and time again can be annoying, demoralising and even painful (you never know what is going on in people's lives). So as well as advocating a good back bone lets also promote a greater use of the age old proverb that we should "think before we speak." And, if ever stuck for an opening comment, go with a compliment.
As for me, until the day when "that question" is not asked anymore I think the answer is just to get smarter with my replies and depending on my mood I will choose from one of the following:
"I didn't think they came to order!"
"I am perfectly happy with what I have!"
"What a strange question!"