I was in the grocery line with my kids and I noticed the women in front of me. She kept looking back at my kids and myself and looked as if she wanted to start up a conversation. I’m not a line talker so I pretended not to notice. But she kept looking back and making eye contact, no matter how desperately I tried to avoid it. So, I threw her a bone and said hi. Which ultimately released the flood gate.
“This might sound rude and I don’t mean to offend you” she started I took a second to mentally prepare myself for what she was about to say. I’m a black woman in a Wal-mart in Florida, so I assumed it was going to err on the side of racist. I looked at her and her two kids and decided that she looked pleasant enough. So I smiled, as to say, go ahead, I won’t snap. And she asked a question I had never been asked before.
She asked, “Do you regret having three kids?” She went on to explain the she and her husband had been debating having a third and she was torn. I explained as best I could my feelings on having my third. I was open and honest because I knew if she was willing to ask a stranger such an “offensive” question, then she really wanted to know the answer.
I love having open and honest conversations, but it’s hard when we live in a world where people are so easily offended. So I put together a list of questions that I won’t be offended if you ask me and why I don’t think you should take offense either.
1) Do you want a girl/boy?
I see articles about this everywhere. “Don’t ask a mom of all boys if she wants to try for a girl” Apparently this is super offensive. People seem to look at this as if the person asking is implying that one gender is superior over the other. But they’re not. They’re simply asking if you wanted a girl. Raising a little girl is a different experience than raising a little boy. They’re asking if you wanted to try that experience. It’s a chicken or fish kind of question.
2) Do you wish you’d waited to have kids?
I personally don’t like this question because I find it difficult to answer. It would’ve been nice to have traveled more with my husband before having kids but because we had them young we will be able to travel in our 40’s when the kids are older. We decided that having kids younger was the better decision for us. But from time to time, we do think about what our lives would be like if we had waited. I find that question thought provoking, not offensive.
3) What are you?
When phrased like that, I do tend to want to answer sarcastically. But I understand the question. You want to know my ethnicity. Some people feel as though, it shouldn’t matter and no one should care. They feel like that question is invasive and inappropriate. Ummm…. Okay. We all come from somewhere else. It’s interesting to find out people’s heritage. No one is implying that you’re not American, just asking what else is mixed up in that beautiful face.
4) Is your (fill in the blank) real?
If someone is asking if your hair is real, it’s probably because they like it. It’s a compliment disguised as a question. They want details and a few helpful tips. If your boobs are real and they’re still looking ever so perky after breastfeeding kids, I want details. Is it the bra? Do you do special exercises? Help a saggy boobed sister out.
5) How old are you?
We all age. It’s part of life. Someone is literally asking how many years you’ve been alive. You wouldn’t be offended if I asked how many years you’ve lived in your house. So why be offended if I ask how many years you’ve lived on this planet?
6) Were your kids planned?
I’ll half give you this one. It really isn’t anyone’s business if you planned to have your kids or if they were a happy surprise. If it’s a touchy subject, then I understand. But for anyone who is just offended for the sake of being offended, I don’t get it. If you’re not embarrassed by the answer, then why are you offended by the question?
7) What do you do all day?
Stay at moms seem to really dislike this question. I once read an article where a woman said that question made her feel inadequate and like her job wasn’t important. I call BS. If you ask me what I did all day and I hesitate, it’s because I stayed in my pajamas and let the kids watch PBS Kids all day. Otherwise, I’ll gladly and proudly tell you all about how I raised tiny humans and probably throw in a “You’re welcome, world.”
8) Are they yours?
When I get mistaken for the Nanny, I take it as a compliment. I actually get asked most days if all three kids are mine. I never once even thought to be offended by this question. But I know some people are. And to those people I say, get a hobby.
9) Do you work here?
I think those who are offended usually think that the person is asking them if they work there because of their ethnicity. It registers as an innocent yet slightly racist question. I get it. I’ve been mistaken for the help in places where the help wear uniforms and name tags. But I honestly think it has less to do with race and more to with the fact that you genuinely look like you might work there. If you have on a black shirt literally anywhere, someone is going to wonder if you work there. Just say no or even better say no, but ask what they need and see if you can assist them anyways.
10) Any question that you honestly want to know the answer to and are not trying to be offensive.
Do you want to know if black people tan? Ask away. Do I have a favorite child? Easy answer.
Let’s stop being so easily offended and learn to love and educate one another. Also, be sure to check out our new Youtube series Politically Incorrect!