Dear Carolyn: I’ve been married a little over a year. My husband and I are 28 and 29. My father-in-law keeps making jabs about us having kids. I will be the first to admit, I’m not a child person. I’m awkward around them, and I believe our lifestyle is far too selfish to think about bringing a child into it. We love sleeping in and being able to pack up with our dog and go do things on the spur of the moment.
The jabs are getting worse. At a recent family gathering, he was very intoxicated, and shoved my youngest cousin (barely a year old) in my arms and said, “HOLD THE BABY!” It was obvious I was uncomfortable with the child and unsure of what to do. How do I politely tell him to stay out of my reproductive system’s business?
There are plenty of ways to deal with such an intrusive relative — the full range, from ignoring to confronting — but more important than your phrasing is whether you have a unified front with a partner. If your husband supports you, then ask him to talk to his dad.
Either way, I suggest you say to the dad yourself, gently: “Please stop pressuring us about having children.” Then start changing the subject.
Re: Pushy father-in-law: There’s no real reason to cite your lifestyle as selfish; there are plenty of people who like traveling and spontaneity and still plan on kids. You don’t like or want kids. Your father-in-law’s opinions aside, it’s perfectly OK to not like or want kids, even if you stay home and bake cookies and make beds for fun every day.