Thoughts on Action
"Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live." ~ Nicolas de Chamfort

You Look Good Holding that Baby…And Other Sh*t People Say When They Want You to Have a Baby

People really, really want you to have a baby. Your mother-in-law, your friends with kids, your bowling instructor. Let’s be honest, it’s basically open to anyone who finds out you don’t already have a baby.

To convince you that you were destined to procreate, like, now, they’ll say all manner of outlandish things. Don’t be insulted. It’s probably because you’re pretty and smarter than a robot, and they can’t bear the thought of your genes not continuing, immediately. Nonetheless, these comments can become a nuisance if swift action isn’t taken.

When you first tell people there’s no kids yet (or possibly ever), certain replies will start to sound eerily familiar. You may be able to brush them off as déjà vu, but as you get deeper into your thirties and forties, you’ll be finishing people’s sentences for them. You will have amassed a pile of advice, commentary, and judgment that will be continually recycled until you give them the baby they’re so desperately longing for you to have. Or until you reach menopause.

Pending one of those two events, I recommend you review  the Maybe Lady’s suggested responses to the most popular comments received by the Childfree in the newest series to hit the site: Sh*t People Say When They Want You to Have a Baby. To kick things off, let’s start with one of the classics I heard yet again this weekend…

1. You Look Good Holding That Baby!

If you’re at any kind of gathering that involves babies – be it a family barbeque, the blackjack table at Circus Circus, or just a casual dinner with friends – be on guard! That baby is coming your way. Usually at the precise moment where you realize you’ve had so many Stellas you can no longer, with any degree of confidence, recite your mailing address or hold an infant without dropping it.

Mothers are instilled with protective instincts that allow them to perform superhuman feats of strength like lifting cars or picking baby boogers. But this instinct is no match – I repeat, no match – for the overwhelming need to convince you that you too must have one. So if you think they’ll notice the drunken glimmer in your eye and begin slowly backing away (fearing the safety of their child), think again. That baby is going in your lap.

At this point, many things will happen. Someone will jab you in the ribs and say, “See? See? I told you it’s not that hard!” This will come after you have successfully not dropped the baby for all of twenty seconds. An inordinate amount of winking and nudging and shouts of “Look who’s next!” will take place. You’ll be called an “old pro,” a “natural,” and possibly a Baby Whisperer if it ceases crying for longer than five seconds.

But perhaps the most absurd thing you’ll hear is, “You look good holding that baby!” Who knew babies were this season’s hottest new accessories? Don’t be fooled by Suri Cruise trotting around in a pair of heels – they are not! But with one in your lap, you’ve suddenly become a little more attractive in everyone’s eyes because you’re finally completing the mental image they have of the ideal you: Mama You.

Do not let this ringing accolade go to your head. Do not schedule a photo shoot. Do not try to order one in every color to match any outfit. Keep your cool, and select from these…

Recommended Responses to “You Look Good Holding That Baby!”:

  • Hey, you’re right! I’m just gonna keep this one.
  • I know I look good. Probably because I’m standing next to all you people with baby vomit on your sweaters and under-eye circles rivaling Count Chocula’s.
  • I also look pretty svelt in a magician’s cape. Doesn’t mean I’m gonna rock it.

Oh yes, this happened. Please note the martini/baby combo:

Babies & Martinis

Coming soon: more sh*t people say when they want you to have a baby…

23 Responses to You Look Good Holding that Baby…And Other Sh*t People Say When They Want You to Have a Baby

  • Lauren says:

    Please, dear god, please do the “oh, you’re still young/you still have time/you’ll change your mind post. Because that is the response that most makes me want to rip my own ovaries out and slap people with them.

  • Ruth says:

    I love how ‘You’ look good holding a baby in one hand and a martini in the other. If you were the actually mother of that child people would be ‘tut tut’ how trashy. Its an interesting double standard, maybe you can see what else you can get away with while holding baby ;)

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      So true, but I wonder if that will change soon since it seems to becoming more trendy to strap your baby onto your stomach and head to the bar. At least in LA.

  • Kate says:

    Ooh, I think you should do one on “doesn’t it make you want one of your own?”.

    Half the time, people say this sincerely, when the kid is just sitting there doing nothing. But half the time, it’s said with sarcasm when the kid is doing something awful, like having a meltdown. Which confuses me on some level. Am i supposed to want one, or not really?

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      That goes pretty well with “Isn’t this just the best form of birth control for you?” when you have to bear witness to a meltdown or other horrific scene. Don’t worry, it’s on the list. :)

  • Alex says:

    These people seem to set the bar pretty low on what constitutes being a good parent. Apparently, the ability to hold a baby without dropping it or punting it (or drop-punting it) qualifies you as “parent material.” Funny, they never seem to include a *desire to parent* on their list of “good parent” qualities. Won’t someone please think of the children?

    At my last college reunion, an old friend of my roommate’s asked me if I was planning to have kids. When I said no, that I’m not very maternal, she got all shocked and said “really? You seem very maternal to me!” To this day, I still have no idea exactly what that meant, seeing as how the girl barely knew me even when we were at school and hadn’t seen me for the subsequent five years. She didn’t know a thing about me (or she would have known how not-maternal I am). All I can conclude is that she was using “maternal” as a stand-in for “you seem like a nice person.” Because, you know, all it takes to be a good parent–making all those sacrifices in your finances, personal time, career, marriage, body etc. for the next 20+ years, and being wholly responsible for another human being–yeah, all that’s needed there is “being a nice person.” “Niceness” will TOTALLY cash that check and make it all worth it.

    Apparently, the only people out there who aren’t “parent material” are axe murderers and child molesters. Everyone else is just so “nice” that OF COURSE they’ll be good parents!

    Also, that picture is worth a thousand words. I’d need several martinis if I had to be around babies for more than a few minutes.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Well, people like to fill in the blanks when they don’t know someone very well. If you’re a helpful, caring person, sometimes that gets translated into maternal, which might be the furthest thing from how you want to use your helping/caring skills.

  • Jenn says:

    What I just can’t understand is WHY people want others to have a baby. What good does it do them? Misery loves company? Honestly, I find it really disturbing that someone would essentially say “Hey! Why haven’t you had lots of unprotected sex yet?” It’s just really personal and I find it kind of intrusive. It’s really not anyone’s business but mine. Also, why the snickering and nudging with the “Look who’s next” thing? Like it’s something that’s contagious and it will be Oh So Funny when you catch it. I just don’t understand why anyone, even someone close to you, thinks that something so personal should be ANYTHING they can comment on. Ick.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I especially love it when people say there’s “something in the water here” when a rash of women get pregnant at work at the same time. It truly does make it sound like an unfortunate disease!

      • Happy says:

        That’s funny because that’s what’s going on where I work right now. I think five or six women are pregnant. Oh and it’s not the water – it’s almost a like a sick and twisted competition within this particular “clique” of women. I wish I had thought of those clever responses when the “She looks good holding that baby” was directed at my husband recently . I was holding my friend’s baby and she fell asleep in my arms and my friend’s mother made the comment. I wanted to pass off the baby like a football and run screaming out of the house! Another one I just love – “You’re next”. Um, no I’m not!!!

        • Maybe Lady
          Maybe Lady says:

          Oh wow, you’re even getting it secondhand through another person! That’s taking it to new levels!

      • Scott says:

        Hmm…cholera as a metaphor for parenthood…that’s a little extreme even for me.

        Given the poor state of sex education in America, they could be quite sincere about the water thing. It’s at the very least a joking way to dodge any sense of individual responsibility. I feel like asking them, “you do know how conception happens, right?”

  • Jess says:

    Oh man, deja vu for sure. I’m hearing these comments A LOT lately; mister and I are 33 & 32 and just married last year after 10 years of NOT procreating. I joke (not really) that if I had known just how much the baby pressure would rev up to deafening levels after he put a ring on it, I would have reconsidered the whole wedding thing. 85% of the time it’s coming from the in-laws and his family, and the worst part is that it’s usually directed at me when he is out of earshot. I don’t know how to handle it, aside from being stunned into silence, then half-grinning awkwardly. So, hopefully these new posts will help! Your blog in general has already helped bring lightness and humor and community to the situation, so thanks for that. :D

    Also, I would love to read a post on how to “come out” as a child-free person, especially to family. Maybe that would quell the weird comments and the raised eyebrows every time we book a vacation to Mexico when we REALLY should be saving for that crib and a college fund.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      I love that concept of needing to “come out” – I’ll definitely add it to the list of future topics! Glad to hear the blog has helped…

  • Scott says:

    “You look good holding that baby.”

    Some responses:
    “I look even better holding that drink you’re carrying. Wanna trade?”

    “Oh crap! I thought it was a doll. They’re so realistic nowadays!”

    “Thank goodness. I thought I was hallucinating again. Time to alter my meds again.”

    “Yes, I’ll miss him when I find a buyer.”

    If those aren’t creepy enough, there’s the classic ‘that guy’ response: “I’d look even better with you on my lap.” [said with a double-click of the tongue, sixgun hand and a wink.]

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Wow, can I borrow those if I’m ever actually able to sell a book on this topic and this is a chapter? :)

      • Scott says:

        Sure. Take my advice, because I have no use for it. (Paraphrasing Oscar Wilde. Or was it Mark Twain?)

  • Allie says:

    After ingesting some moonshine from Tennessee on my birthday, I felt I finally had the courage to hold my friend’s 6 week old baby. She place him in my arms and broke out the camera, and me being me (and slightly intoxicated) I proceeded to open my mouth and pretend to take a huge bite out of his skull. The pic came out even better than we hoped since the flash caused my green eyes to glow red. I looked like a demon devouring a baby. This pic went up on Facebook, and within minutes the first comment was from a friend (who is oddly obsessed with my refusal to have children) who said, “He looks great in your arms!” I replied with, “He was even better on my taste buds.”

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Hahahaha! I canNOT believe that was the first comment you received with such a photo! Wait…yes, I can.

  • Emily says:

    I have the perfect come back for the these comments – I actually dropped my friends baby! Not on pupose of course but it wouldn’t stop wriggling and I didn’t anticipate very well…oops! (Before anyone reacts in horror, kid was fine just a bit shocked)

    Anytime anyone mentions anything along the lines of me looking good with a child, being maternal etc my equally childfree husband takes great glee in telling the story :P

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