I was at the local barbecue place (Joe’s Barbecue – OMG so good!) picking up dinner on Friday. The place is one big grill and everything’s cooked to order, so if you don’t order ahead, you’re standing around for a good 20-30 minutes waiting on your take-out. My 5 year old was with me. The woman and man behind the counter were chatting and then finally asked how old my boy was. As it always happens when I say “He’s 5,” they go into the ‘disbelief discussion’ and remark at how big he is.
And he is. He’s 4’4″. He’s a head and shoulders above all of the other kids in his kindergarten class.
But the fact is, he was maybe half a foot shorter than the woman behind the counter.
And she said so.
And we laughed and started chatting about our kids. She told me she was 20 and her kid was 3. We were comparing notes on our kids, when she remarked how people are always trying to tell her how to raise her kid.
It was funny to compare notes. Whether you’re a 20 year old mom or a 40 year old mom, the questions are the same, the meaning is different:
Are you having another:
At 20: Are you still with the dad?
At 40: Are you going to try? Can you still have one?
Was the baby planned:
At 20: Did you learn your lesson or do I need to explain birth control?
At 40: IVF? Fertility treatment?
Is that your baby:
At 20: Is that your sister?
At 40: Is that your grandchild?
While I’d like to think there are benefits and drawbacks to having a baby at any age, it sounds like when you’re younger, people don’t feel you’re as capable, and when you’re older, you’re way more neurotic in your ways. She and I had a laugh about the rude things people ask. It’s funny what people want to know – and feel entitled to ask.
So what’s the right age to have kids – where they’re *obviously* your baby, where you’re *obviously* with the dad, where it’s *obviously* part of your master plan and not some ridiculous stereotypical symptom of your age?