DEAR READERS: Some time back, I ran a letter from "No Babies in South Dakota," about how to respond to frequent queries about when she and her husband would have children. Because they don't plan to have children, they were looking for a "snappy comeback."
Readers responded by the bushel. A surprising number of readers accused people who don't wish to have children of being selfish.
Other readers offered snappy comebacks or other responses to the age-old question: "When are you going to have kids?"
DEAR AMY: Why is it necessary to have a snappy comeback?
Most people ask out of curiosity.
Being a person who decided against kids and marriage, I always politely but firmly say that was my lifestyle choice.
Only a Neanderthal would push the point, and then I still politely but firmly say, "These questions are getting a little personal."
— Personal Choice
DEAR AMY: I'm a 49-year-old woman. When people ask me why I don't have children, I just say, "I love doting on other people's children, and with such a wonderful niece and nephew, that's enough for me."
This has worked well for me, but on occasion I have had to set some boundaries with particularly insistent people. In those cases, I said, "It is a personal decision that is not open for discussion."
DEAR AMY: "No Babies" should more honestly rationalize her decision by just admitting, "I'm selfish, and I don't want to interrupt my lifestyle" or "I dislike children; they are so untidy," or "I'm afraid I'd make a child turn out as miserably neurotic as myself." — Disgusted
DEAR AMY: If you don't have kids and you're happy with it, you're "childfree."
If you don't have kids and you're not happy with it, you're "childless."
— Childfree By Choice
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have known couples that have "elected" not to have children. It seems that these couples always replace the children in their lives with a very pleasant lifestyle that includes frequent vacations, nice clothes, fine cars, above-average homes, season tickets to sporting events, plays, concerts and a lifestyle that couples with children never dream of.
All to replace the emptiness of an empty nest. This all smacks of the '60s hippie culture through the '70s "me generation."
— Not Buying It
DEAR AMY: To the couple with concerns about inquiries: Bottom line — it is your private business! Remember, too, that you have the right to change your mind. In one case we know of, it took 17 years, but when the baby came, it was for all the correct reasons.
— No Excuses/No Regrets
DEAR AMY: I, too, have the same "no babies" problem.
Nothing infuriates me more than when people say, "You want them, but you just don't know it yet."
I am 31, and my husband is 33. We know, and it's a no for us.
I am starting to think "We can't have kids" is the easiest response.
— No Babies In Meraux, La.
DEAR AMY: A better answer for a childless couple might be to just pick any date far in the future and when busybodies ask, "When are you planning to start having children?" you could say, "Nov. 11, 2022."
— No Babies Too
DEAR AMY: I am childless and concur that your young couple will be facing the inevitable questions for many years to come.
I will be 50 soon and have allowed my hair to go gray naturally. Nonetheless, it was not that long ago that people were still asking me when — not if — I'd have kids.
My standard answer is that until I can learn to keep a houseplant alive, children are out of the question.
— Choosing Childless