Opinion

9 annoying questions strangers ask parents

Are they all yours? Does your husband make a lot of money? Are you going to let your child do that?...

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Australian mom Annie Nolan posted this picture of her two-year-old twin daughters on Instagram.

To some people, a woman pushing a stroller is an open invitation to ask inane questions. And when you have twins, there’s likely double the amount of dumb questions you have to field. Australian mom Annie Nolan took matters into her own hands and wrote up some tongue-in-cheek answers to the silly questions she gets from strangers and stuck the list to the strollers of her two-year-old twin daughters Cheska and Delphine. She also has a four-year-old son, Malachy.

Although Nolan admits she didn’t wander too far from her house with the signs, her Instagram picture has since gone viral, with tons of feedback both positive and negative.

In her initial post she wrote: “As a twin mum, you get asked a series of questions/hear a series of statements EVERY TIME you go out. I know most people are coming from a great place and are just curious, however many can be quite intrusive and after a while it’s just plain exhausting.”

Her cheeky list includes:

Yes, they are twins.

Yes, both girls.

No, not identical.

Yes, my hands are full (sometimes with two glasses of wine, just to get through).

While I admit to asking some dumb questions of mothers of twins myself (it’s just so mind-boggling!), I’ve also fielded similar questions while with my three kids, as I’m sure all parents have occasionally. It seems that simply having a child near you is an open invitation for an inquisition. Sometimes the nosy just can’t help themselves, and sometimes I can’t bite my tongue:

1. Are they all yours?: Actually, it’s none of your business how they wound up on this planet.

2. Did you have three so you could have a girl?: Do you want to say that a little louder? I don’t think my wonderful boys heard you liken them to second-class citizens.

3. Wow, your hands are full!: I’m a firm believer that space fills a vacuum. My hands were full with one, and two and also three. It’s life.

4. You’re a busy mama!: You know what? My husband is busy too.

5. Did you notice your child is missing a shoe/sock/hat/mitten?: Yes. If you want to find it, replace it and force the child to keep it on without losing your mind—or your temper—be my guest. Or you can trust that they will survive the short walk home without coming down with an illness.

6. Oh, you feed your child [fill in the blank]?!: OMG! Where did that come from? I’ve never given my children a juice/candy/cookie before. They must have found it on the street.

7. Is your baby in PJs?: I call it clothing. But you can call it whatever you’d like.

8. Three kids? Does your husband make a lot of money?: Actually, he just makes a lot of sperm.

9. Are you going to let your child do that?: You mean the thing that they’re doing right now while I’m talking to you? I guess I am.

I know that parents of an only child encounter questions about when the next one is coming; parents of families with all girls or all boys get asked if they’re going to try again; and parents of large families get asked if any of their kids were “accidents.”

It seems that having any configuration of children leaves you a moving target for nosy, intrusive questions. And I’m sure all of us are guilty of asking some of them at one point or another. So, Annie Nolan, I feel your pain.

What questions have you been asked and how did you respond?

Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of which are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.

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