Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Difference Exhaustion

I blocked out my morning next Tuesday to go with MrsDarwin to her 20-week ultrasound and get a first hand look at Septimus. The half day absence on my work calendar serves as a reminder that I haven't actually told my team at work yet that we're expecting another baby.

There's a limit to how much longer I should put that off, but I so far I've delayed because I'm not looking forward to it. I work with nice people, and I don't expect to be given any lectures on how I'm overpopulated the planet or neglecting my existing children. I don't expect anyone to be intentionally rude or even critical. People will be surprised, congratulate me, and the memorable thing about me will get just a little bit more memorable. "Oh yeah, you're the one with a million kids!" (Modern people are kind of like the rabbits in Watership Down when it comes to counting children. One, two, three, four, a million!)

It's hard to explain why being well known around the office for having a lot of kids annoys me. It's not something I'm ashamed of, nor do I have any desire to adhere to the two kids, two careers, two travel sports per kid model of family life which so many of my coworkers seem to follow.

Yet even though I don't have a desire to follow the majority family model, the subtext of the "Darwin has a million kids" jokes eventually starts to read as a constant refrain of: You're different. We're the same. But you're different.

I think this must be part of the frustration that members of minority groups (whether ethnic, religious, or sexual) sometimes talk about. Even well meaning references to minority status eventually start to sound like endlessly repeated reminders that, "You're not one of us." Even if you don't want to be "one of us", you eventually start to just want to say, "Shut up all ready. I get it."

In turn, it's what's comparatively relaxing about hanging out with other large families. Not only are there certain basic experiences in common, but you're also free for a little while from the constant wonder are your fecundity.


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I agree. That's also what's so restful for me about hanging out on Catholic blogs.

Donna said...

I get it, though on the other side of the equation.

Them: How many kids to you have?
Us: None
Them: Oh.

I'd much rather hang out with the large families than with the ones who decided "We're having just x and we're done."

bearing said...

Of course I am laughing because now I am going to contemplate answering "How many kids do you have?" with "Hrair."

Finicky Cat said...

Yes, indeed! That last paragraph, especially, is an accurate and well-phrased observation, Darwin.

Donna said...

Yes, that's what it's like being single in a world of married people! My singleness isn't a choice, per se, but I sure understand how you feel different in the crowd.