11 February, 2019

A teaching moment

I was really pleased to see that my No Kidding menopause series - or for search engine purposes, my Childless menopause series - sparked a discussion around the internet. It wasn't my first foray into the subject, but it was my wordiest! Just to remind, here are my posts.

12 Things I wish I'd been told about the Big M (posted back in 2014)
A No Kidding Menopause: The Bloody Version
A No Kidding Menopause: The Emotional Issues (Part 1)
A No Kidding Menopause: The Emotional Issues (Part 2)
A No Kidding Menopause: The Emotional Issues (Part 3) 
A No Kidding Menopause: Some Final Thoughts

Having written so many pieces on this issue, I've taken a break from thinking about other childless things. But there's always something, or someone, who reminds me. I was at a function over the weekend, filled with in-law relatives. I got chatting to a woman who was the wife of a cousin-in-law. I've heard about her for years and years - her many children, her personality, her relationship - via her mother-in-law and my mother-in-law - so although we didn't know each other, we knew about each other. Or so I thought. No, in a conversation about all the elderly relatives and getting them organised when they could no longer do so, and the general difficulty of decluttering their houses, she asked me if I had children. (An aside: given that I knew that she had six, I had assumed she would have known we had none. But apparently not. It shows that people are only really interested in themselves!)

"Well," she says, "you won't have nearly as much junk at home than if you had had children."

"No," I acknowledged, "that's probably true." And - thinking fast, deciding should I or shouldn't I? - I added, "but all our rooms that were intended for children have still ended up filled with junk too."

I said it without emotion, simply stating a fact. The message got through, I think, because she hesitated. I could see her thinking. I hope so anyway. One of many teaching moments?


  1. Excellent teaching moment. I really like how you handled that, just stating the fact, making her think a moment on her parent-centric view of decluttering. I feel like it's almost always a good idea to put that out there, to make people think on the alternate reality that is true for so many, so that maybe they'll be more sensitive next time.

    And I LOVED the menopause series!

  2. Great menopause series Mali, I just read them all. As for the mother of six: reminds me of a woman at work (mother of two) who must've asked me seventeen times if I have children. In fact, next time I plan to say to her: "If I can remember that you have two kids, can you try to remember that I don't have any?". FFS.

  3. Ooh -- I LOVE this!! What's more -- I'm glad that (a) you thought of it on the spot (because so often I think of a witty comeback hours or days later...!) & (b) said what you were thinking! I know it's ingrained in most of us to consider the feelings of others, but seriously, sometimes others deserve to feel equally as uncomfortable as they've made us feel. :p

  4. I think you done good.

    What Loribeth said.

  5. I'm so glad that you replied to this woman and that she (hopefully?) understood! Brava :-)