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"Is there a father?" - Page 4

post #61 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I think its likely that the woman at the playgroup is single and she was looking for some way to see if you were too because she wants to make a friend. Honestly, I probably would have responded with a simple, "yes, DH and I have been married for x amount of time. What about you?" She would realize that her question was rude, just by the fact that you DO have a partner.


I don't get this.  Why is it rude to think someone who does have a partner might not have one?  Would it be rude to ask, "Do you have other children?"  I can't imagine anyone would think so - whether the answer turned out be yes or no.  It's a neutral question that doesn't imply any assumption about the other person.  I see "Is there a father?" as pretty much the same kind of question.  Why would you be insulted by someone thinking it was possible you didn't have a male partner?  Is being a single mom or a lesbian shameful?

 

post #62 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post




I don't get this.  Why is it rude to think someone who does have a partner might not have one?  Would it be rude to ask, "Do you have other children?"  I can't imagine anyone would think so - whether the answer turned out be yes or no.  It's a neutral question that doesn't imply any assumption about the other person.  I see "Is there a father?" as pretty much the same kind of question.  Why would you be insulted by someone thinking it was possible you didn't have a male partner?  Is being a single mom or a lesbian shameful?

 


I'm totally with you Daffodil. I would not have taken offense at this question because I would have assumed it was genuine interest and perhaps a desire not to offend by assuming one way or the other. It kind of feels like you're darned if you do and darned if you don't in this situation. In a baby playgroup the topic of partners, fathers, etc. are bound to come up, so I totally understand some one asking ahead of time so they don't misspeak later. I get asked a lot of somewhat personal questions, often by total strangers. Especially the "do you plan on having more kids?" It doesn't bother me. Usually it's just other mothers looking for commonalities. The only question that would really feel too personal is "was the pregnancy planned" I wouldn't want to talk about it with anyone except very close friends.

 

post #63 of 97

Yes, her question was rude and nosy. That said, I horrified myself some months ago by asking a mom I'd just met if she was renting or buying her home. She said she was renting, because she was a single mom and couldn't afford to buy.

 

I couldn't believe that I'd let something so nosy slip out of my mouth! I'd just started attending our area homeschool co-op and, after thinking that it seemed like everyone was way out in the suburbs (we live in the inner city), I was excited to meet this other mom who lived in the city, too. Then I recalled that a lot of folks will rent here for a while, then, when they're ready to buy, they head to the suburbs. I found myself wondering if she was committed to the "hood" like we were, and before I knew it I'd blurted out my question.

 

I quickly apologized and tried rather awkwardly to explain, and she said something like, "Don't worry, its' impossible to offend me."

 

Of course it was silly and rude for me to try to gauge her committment to the neighborhood by categorizing her as "buying" or "renting." We ourselves rented here for five years before we bought here.

 

So, I was rude, too, and I'm ashamed of it. I'm just saying that sometimes people aren't asking questions to judge us in the way that we think they are -- sometimes they may be trying to judge us in a different way, if that makes sense. Whereas my stupid question probably came off as trying to categorize her economically, I was really trying to categorize her in terms of how likely she was to stick around, which, I'll admit, was still wrong.

post #64 of 97

Can I trade someone a "are you a single mom" type of question for "Are you babysitting your grand-daughter".  Um, no, this is my daughter.  And yes, I was nearly 40 when I had her, but she's 8 so I'm really not THAT old.  Am I?

 

post #65 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post




I don't get this.  Why is it rude to think someone who does have a partner might not have one?  Would it be rude to ask, "Do you have other children?"  I can't imagine anyone would think so - whether the answer turned out be yes or no.  It's a neutral question that doesn't imply any assumption about the other person.  I see "Is there a father?" as pretty much the same kind of question.  Why would you be insulted by someone thinking it was possible you didn't have a male partner?  Is being a single mom or a lesbian shameful?

 




Not at all, but some people still think it is.

 

I am a single mom by choice, so my kids are donor-conceived. There is no father. Yesterday we were on a bus, and a lady sitting next to us asked my five year old what her name was. She answered, then the lady asked what her brother's name was. Then what mom's name was. Then what dad's name was. My daughter answered "momma" to that. It was hilarious.

post #66 of 97


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

And on Monday, I had a guy on the street ask me in the middle of the day ask me where my daughter's father was.  "He's working," I told him.   You know, where you'd want your kid's father to be in the middle of the day, as opposed to at the bar or something.

 

"Oh that's too bad.  I was hoping I could help you out."

 

Ye-haw, what?  Now there's a pick-up line if I ever heard one.


ROTFLMAO.gif

 

OP: yep, rude question. People are rude all over, no matter what you look like.

She may have had good intentions, as pointed out above. You could always turn around rude questions by saying, "why do you ask?" If she said, "I'm a single mama hoping to connect with other single moms, you look so young I thought you might be..." then you could, if you felt like being helpful, let her know that her question sounded invasive and too personal, and a better way to connect might be to say, "you know, I'm a single mom and looking to connect with other single moms. Let me know if you or any of your friends are single and would like to chat, thanks!"

Or maybe she was just another nosy person asking intrusive personal questions like the people above mentioned.... "did you have IVF?" "do they have the same father?"...sheesh!!!

 

post #67 of 97

I have two ways of dealing with questions that I see as rude or potentially offensive.

 

The first is to answer directly, but I only use this if I am feeling rather amused and not offended or sensitive. For example, a complete stranger at the train platform asked me the other day if I was pregnant. I said yes and left it at that. She went on to ask how old I was, to which I bemusedly replied that I was 38, giving no more information. She then remarked that was pretty old to be pregnant!! I just laughed and said, "yep!" Some days I just prefer to be in awe of rudeness as a novelty... but others?

 

I've been asked about the father. He and I did plan this pregnancy, but once it was real to him , he bailed under the pressure. I blame him less and less these days, as I am starting to realize how much better off I will be without having to mother him in addition to my son... but still, it hurts. And I would find the question you asked to be somewhat offensive, because the mommy groups here are made up primarily of married stay-at-home moms.

 

The best response I can think of to rude questions is a simple question asked with a BIG smile:

 

"Why do you ask?"

post #68 of 97

I was asked in the ER last night /morning by the OB Chief if the father was still in my life. I said "no". I was too tired to care but I guess she thought most fathers would be there since I was in pain and 13 weeks preg.

I was half asleep and was thinking "huh? father?"

Later I laughed . I was thinking "oh him" the one who gave me the sperm.lol

I was fortunate that it took in one try with him-awesome!

 

Baby is fine. I have bum ovary.


Edited by AngelsNPrayers - 5/8/11 at 7:53pm
post #69 of 97

It does seem like a rude way to word a question.

post #70 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I don't get this.  Why is it rude to think someone who does have a partner might not have one?  Would it be rude to ask, "Do you have other children?"  I can't imagine anyone would think so - whether the answer turned out be yes or no.  It's a neutral question that doesn't imply any assumption about the other person.  I see "Is there a father?" as pretty much the same kind of question.  Why would you be insulted by someone thinking it was possible you didn't have a male partner?  Is being a single mom or a lesbian shameful?


ITA.  I might be amused to get this question but certainly not offended.

 

And for those who are saying that this is a 'rude way to phrase the question,' I'm wondering how it could be phrased so as to be less 'rude'?  The question as asked seems pretty assumption-less, any other way I could think of to phrase it would probably be less polite, or else kind of equivalent (eg, "do you have a partner?").   

post #71 of 97


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post




I don't get this.  Why is it rude to think someone who does have a partner might not have one?  Would it be rude to ask, "Do you have other children?"  I can't imagine anyone would think so - whether the answer turned out be yes or no.  It's a neutral question that doesn't imply any assumption about the other person.  I see "Is there a father?" as pretty much the same kind of question.  Why would you be insulted by someone thinking it was possible you didn't have a male partner?  Is being a single mom or a lesbian shameful?

 


I don't think it was a rude question so much because of any assumptions behind it (i.e. that it is shameful to be a single or lesbian mom), but just for the simple fact that it is pretty prying and personal for someone you Just met to be asking. Stick around, get to know me, the subject of our household structure may later be appropriate to discuss. But not on a first meeting.

 

post #72 of 97

OP: I know context is everything, but for me personally, I'd like to think I wouldn't be offended.  Perhaps she wanted an invitation to begin talking about her life?  I'm new to a group, and I remember what a relief it was to finally be among a group of women with young children and infants and that they just *understand*.  About everything.  Also, members of mom groups tend to be really good listeners too, so maybe she really needed a vent session?  I don't know.  I tend to play devil's advocate...  It's also totally possible she's rude and clueless!  :)

 

I'd give her another chance for sure though.  :)

post #73 of 97

I view it as a little rude, but because it's a prying question about one's personal life. I usually respond that my children are the result of immaculate conception.

post #74 of 97


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenP View Post

I don't think it was a rude question so much because of any assumptions behind it (i.e. that it is shameful to be a single or lesbian mom), but just for the simple fact that it is pretty prying and personal for someone you Just met to be asking. Stick around, get to know me, the subject of our household structure may later be appropriate to discuss. But not on a first meeting.

 

 

So would it also be rude to ask about whether you have other children then?  If not, how is that different from asking about the partner?

 

For the record, this is the kind of question that I would avoid asking myself on a first meeting because I do recognize that some people are going to find it intrusive.  But I have to say that such a reaction does not make sense to me - and I have found myself avoiding entire topics of baby-care conversation in order not to come close to the partner question.  It puts a big roadblock in the conversation.

 

It's mainly because this is the kind of thing that immediately comes up when you are talking about babies (bc what else are you going to talk about when that's what you have in common) - the partner issue is just such a huge part of the picture of baby care.

 

eg, Mom 1: "I can't figure out when to take a shower!"

Mom 2: "Why don't you have your husband hold the baby while you do that?"

Mom 1: "I don't have a husband..."

 

Bad move Mom 2, should have asked first!  Wouldn't "Do you have a partner" have been a better response?

 

 

post #75 of 97

I always want to ask women a similar question, b/c I'm a single mom and I'd like to meet other single moms.

 

But, it's hecka rude, so I never say it. 

post #76 of 97

And, for the people who are asking why it's so rude:

 

1. The way the question was asked was, well, rude.  If you have different manners, you will have a different opinion.

 

2. The timing was rude.  You don't usually ask personal questions right after meeting someone.  You wait to see what the person divulges. 

 

3. You don't even ask if people have other kids.  That's rude, too, when you've just met someone!

 

I feel like I'm in an alternate universe, reading some of these replies.  Since when is it appropriate to ask personal questions that are not directly related to the topic and when not giving advice...upon first meeting someone?  Good manners dictate that we allow some sort of personal connection to take place before we start asking personal questions.  By then, these sorts of personal questions (about children and partner) will have been answered, anyway. 

 

The Facebook Generation. lol!

post #77 of 97



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by princesstutu View Post

And, for the people who are asking why it's so rude:

 

1. The way the question was asked was, well, rude.  If you have different manners, you will have a different opinion.


Hm, I actually disagree with this.  My manners reflect, not what *I* think is rude, but what I think *others* may be likely to find offensive or upsetting or what have you.  I am incredibly difficult to offend so if I based my manners on my own low level of tetchiness I'd probably be offending others all day long. 

 

 

Quote:
 

2. The timing was rude.  You don't usually ask personal questions right after meeting someone.  You wait to see what the person divulges. 

 

(Sideline - Actually this depends on your cultural background, but let's assume North American because most of the posters on this site seem to be.) 

 

Do we know what the timing was?  All I got was that it was in the first conversation - maybe I missed some detail upthread.  If it were something like "Hi, I'm Jane Doe - by the way, are you partnered?" then yeah that is a bit unexpected.  However if it were related to something else that came up in a more extended conversation (as it very easily might be), I maintain that there are many circumstances (as I illustrated in my last post) when it is better to ask than to assume. 

 

Quote:
 

3. You don't even ask if people have other kids.  That's rude, too, when you've just met someone!

 

Really!  This I actually am surprised at.  It would never have occurred to me that this would be considered a rude question.  So what are you supposed to talk about with another mom you've just met if you can't talk about your kids?
 

Quote:
 Good manners dictate that we allow some sort of personal connection to take place before we start asking personal questions.

 

How is it possible to form a personal connection without sharing any information?  Getting-to-know-you conversations typically involve people sharing some level of personal information about themselves, don't they?

post #78 of 97

I have something to add to this question of rudeness, for you married ladies, or those who are single mamas by choice and/or have adjusted to their singledom.

 

Put yourself in the position of a pregnant woman, who is alone, and not by her own choice. She is likely going through a very difficult time and in the process of accepting that she will be going through this alone without support from a partner who she thought would be there and has ditched her for whatever reason.. then add to that the societal shame of being a single pregnant woman (whether or not it should be there, it IS), a single motherhood looming in her future, frightened, alone, likely ashamed, but possibly conflicted for feeling that way when everyone tells her she should be feeling joy, but who also give her pitied looks and gestures of charity, which she may or may not need but probably feels hesitant to accept in order to take responsibility for her own part in getting her to this place... struggling to maintain a positive attitude, but dealing with hormones she has never dealt with before, constantly questioning herself as to whether or not she's taking things too personally, and terrified to offend anyone, but trying to grow into the strength of her own maternity.

 

THEN... ask yourself if that question from a relative stranger might push a button or two.

 

 

I know first-hand how this question feels to a woman in this position, because I am one of those women.  Whether or not it is right, single mothers, especially single pregnant mothers, no matter their age or ability, are discriminated against in attitude and reception by the general public, in some geographical areas more than others. If I am out in public with my pregnant belly, many eyes head straight from my pregnant belly to my left ring finger. Some days I wear a ring there, some days I don't... and the difference in reactions is significant. Even if this question is asked of a married woman (as I believe it was to the OP), it elicits a certain degree of defensiveness in those who are aware of this societal prejudice. It is NOT a neutral question. A neutral question might be to ask if you know the sex of the baby... but perhaps in China that would not be neutral either, given their society's wide-spread gender preferences.

 

Let's face it ladies, our society at large has not evolved the way some of you here have.

 

I would guess that the questioner had no ill intent, but you might try see how this could hurt, nonetheless... or at least add to someone's stress, if only inadvertently. The question may not have been rude, all by itself, but it is a classic example of how people speak first and think later. If you have not been in the position of a single pregnant woman, you cannot BEGIN to pass judgment on whether or not she should or should not see the question as hurtful or rude. 

 

 

post #79 of 97

Interesting conversation.  Lots to think about. 

 

 

Quote:

I've also gotten asked more than once if I was DD's nanny.  Yes, I'm "young" (I had DD when I was 26 so I'm not THAT young but we live in a nicer neighborhood where almost all the moms work outside of the home so I think most of the moms are quite a bit older than me) but it's still not very polite...

 

 

Seriously, that's amazing.  Maybe because I was 26 y.o. when I had my first. No one questioned my age. But it's kind of funny because on the one hand I was much older than my own mom, my oldest sister, my MIL or all of my husband's sisters.  They all had their first children in the 17 to 22 years old range.  Mother-in-law worried we'd never have children.  On the other hand it turns out I'm the youngest mom of my daughter's friends' moms. So dd thinks I'm a 'young' mom. 

 

 

post #80 of 97

I don't know if it has to do with you being young or not.  I think people are just rude regardless.  My mom has been asked several times if all four of her kids have the same father - and this was when she was in her 40's (after she divorced my dad).  So rudeness at any age. (and yes we do)

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