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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am sure you all get them: "Where is your kids' daddy?" questions, in all forms and shapes. These questions seem to pop up more and more as my kids get older (I have two, the oldest will be four soon). Now that my kids can both follow conversations, how to answer this question is more difficult.<br><br>
I am a single mom by choice, and I used a known donor. My kids do not have a dad, just a donor. That's a choice people in the country we are living in (very conservative, patriarchal) don't understand. Anyways, I am sure that none of us likes to answer questions from virtual strangers about "where your kids' dad is" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">. What do you say when you get this question? I am not talking about genuinely interested people, but about those annoying, nosey, gossipy people that clearly just want something to talk about, or total strangers. Do you have a pat answer?<br><br>
This thread was prompted by a neigbor's child, who is about 10 years old. She asked: "Where is their dad?" when we met her at the local playground. I replied "Oh, there's just the three of us!" in a cheerful tone. She prompted further "Your kids don't have a dad, right?" and asked why not, in a judgy tone. I am sure her parents talked to her about my family, and I felt a bit uncomfortable.<br><br>
I am looking for an answer that<br><br>
1) Don't offend people. ("None of your business" would be great, but I don't want to tell my neighbors that!)<br>
2) Doesn't give them too much information, because well, it <i>is</i> non of their business.<br>
3) Doesn't make my kids feel bad.
 

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While I am no longer a single parent, I was until my older one was 6. Whenever kids would ask (which actually wasn't often) I just said that he wasn't around. If I needed to explain any more, I just explained that some kids live with just mom and some kids live with just dad and some kids live with grandma and grandpa, and that every family is different.
 

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I would do the different families bit with kids. Adults perhaps just a "that's how things worked out and we're very happy" would shut down the nosiness without being too rude.
 

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A good response is: Why do you want to know?<br><br>
It turns their question onto them and puts them on the spot instead of you. It's also a subtle way of telling them that they are being nosy about something that is none of their business.<br><br>
Don't worry about offending them, they aren't worried about offending you. If they were, they wouldn't ask.<br><br>
The above answer would be for adults. I liked some of the other responses for kids.
 

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My kind of rule of thumb with questions like that is to assume that they're asked in good faith, unless I have clear evidence otherwise. My situation is a little simpler than yours, just a case of me and my son's dad splitting up. My stock response is just to say something like, "We split up last year, we're on good terms and he's really involved with the baby." Which is basically true.<br>
For your situation, you could just say their father isn't involved or isn't around. Also, I think it's pretty normal for a child to be curious about situations that are different than their own family.
 

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I think in your shoes I'd go with something that's likely true but doesn't divulge anything, like "He's out of town" or "Idaho" (if he is) or something. Amazing how rude people can be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your replies. When kids ask, I do start off with saying that our family is just me and the kids, and that families are different. That often doesn't satisfy them because they have been taught that the only normal family is mom, dad and kids. One parent families are not accepted here yet, and when kids ask, I would really like to take the opportunity to educate them a bit <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br><br>
With adults, I don't care too much about being rude for the sake of the person asking, but I <i>am</i> concerned about modeling behavior to my kids, and I am also aware that they will process whatever I choose to say in their own heads. Even if I never see the person in question again, I think the answer to such questions is important because of the little ears listening. I don't want to lie, I don't want to make our situation seem abnormal, weird or shameful, and I don't want to divulge my whole life story. I don't like it when people make assumptions, but I know that is human nature <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br><br>
Another example from our local supermarket's check our woman a few months back to illustrate the rudeness of some people. She asked me, you're always in here by yourself, where is your husband? So I answered, "Nope, I don't have one of those!" To which she replied, "Oh, you're divorced?" and I answered, no. She then went on to ask me "Oh, really? So, how do you get money then? What do you live on, how can you pay the bills?" At that point, I could only say, "Not that it's any of your business, but I work, and we do great, thank you!"<br><br>
What also happens is, people ask questions directly to the kids. As in "You look nothing like your mommy, does your dad have blonde hair?" Or "What car does your daddy drive?" and similar. Last time my daughter replied, "NO I don't have a daddy like Ana does (one of her little friends) I have a donor, and a mommy and a brother!" That pretty much solved the mystery <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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I too assume that questions are asked in good faith. My ex moved out 2 years ago, and I've yet to be offended, but perhaps I just don't offend easily. I just answer the question honestly, without getting into a whole song and dance.<br><br>
Sometimes people are surprised & curious. Sure, some people are rude, but, eh - they're rude about lots of things.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MittensKittens</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15389335"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Another example from our local supermarket's check our woman a few months back to illustrate the rudeness of some people. She asked me, you're always in here by yourself, where is your husband? So I answered, "Nope, I don't have one of those!" To which she replied, "Oh, you're divorced?" and I answered, no. She then went on to ask me "Oh, really? So, how do you get money then? What do you live on, how can you pay the bills?" At that point, I could only say, "Not that it's any of your business, but I work, and we do great, thank you!"<br></div>
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Wow, that is pretty intense. What country did you say you live in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*MamaJen*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15389859"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Wow, that is pretty intense. What country did you say you live in?</div>
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Serbia. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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How do you pay the bills? lol. I can imagine a million hilarious answers to a question like that...<br><br>
Anyhow, I am also single by choice for this pregnancy and by circumstances and choice for my 6yo. In most cases where the person is not being overly offensive or whatnot, I simply reply that I used a donor.<br><br>
In other cases, I might use the same language I use when speaking to kids (the whole "families come in different formats" thing) if kids are around (mine or others). The adult might find it condescending but I think it still models decent behaviour in front of children.<br><br>
I avoid any elusive "he is not around" and such because I think it inspires pity in most people and perpetuates the idea that single mother are all sad people who were abandonned by a horrible man.<br><br>
When people ask me where my husband is or other such questions, I usually laugh and ask them why I would need such a thing. It works especially well with married women and often ends up in them complaining about their husbands (You're right. It's more work to take care of him than the kids...).<br><br>
I guess the key is to appear confident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>soso-lynn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15392329"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I avoid any elusive "he is not around" and such because I think it inspires pity in most people and perpetuates the idea that single mother are all sad people who were abandonned by a horrible man.<br><br>
When people ask me where my husband is or other such questions, I usually laugh and ask them why I would need such a thing. It works especially well with married women and often ends up in them complaining about their husbands (You're right. It's more work to take care of him than the kids...).<br><br>
I guess the key is to appear confident.</div>
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Exactly, and it would not be technically true either. My kids do not have a "father who is not around"; they have a donor. I am not a pitiful woman with no money, just because I don't have a husband. Hey, who needs men, anyway? But the realities of people here are often different, and "sad people abandoned by horrible men" is a stereotype that happens fairly often. Sadly, "how do you pay the bills" becomes quite relevant in those cases, because this country has a lack of social security, and single mothers are often barely surviving. It's also a country with a 40 percent unemployment rate, so single parents often have no job. I can see where they are coming from, and I would like to show everyone that single parents can also have a good life, and be very happy.<br><br>
You know, I am extremely confident and very happy with my life <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">. If I were living in another country, I would feel and reply differently. But sometimes, you can smell the judgement from a mile away.. judgement and pity. That is a story for another day and another soapbox though.
 

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hey... i had a similar thread going in the queer parenting thread just recently, might give you some more ideas <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1216184" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1216184</a>
 
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