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do you get asked if all your children are from the same father, and please give me some good replies?

33 replies

Nighbynight · 30/11/2008 22:18

I have been asked several times recently if all my 4 children are from the same father.

now, in rural Bavaria where I am, this is a very loaded question, because if you divorce, and then remarry, and have another child with the 2nd husband, I have been reliably informed, you are 1 step from being a scarlet woman. So obviously if you have the children with different men, and not even the 2nd husband in sight, you would be prob. beyond the pale.

I find the question incredibly rude and personal even in england where I wouldnt expect to come acrose the same sort of prejudice, so please help me to think of a good answer, ideally a bit more sophisticated than F**k off, which is my instinctive reaction.

do people even ask this question in the uk? and for what possible reason apart from wanting to run you down?

OP posts:
Mung · 30/11/2008 22:20

I cannot imagine ever asking that question and I would find it really rude if someone were to ask me.

zazen · 30/11/2008 22:31

Why don't you tell them you don't know cos you're out of your mind on smack all the time! Or maybe not - they might believe you!

Wow, is Bavaria really conservative - that's the catholic part of germany isn't it? I don't know why they would try and run you down - after all Mary wasn't married to Joseph when she had Jesus was she, and she went on to have more kids right?

Hope you have more less upsetting conversations soon

Nighbynight · 30/11/2008 22:38

not sure I could pass ds1 off as jesus though

thanks mung - I am not sure if this question is common or if it is just a bavarian thing.

OP posts:
Katisha · 30/11/2008 22:44

What's your usual response?
Would "why do you ask" suffice?

Tortington · 30/11/2008 22:49

i get asked this - becuase i have a 19 yo son and have been married for so long - it must be unususual, and on occasion the assumption has been made that my eldest isn't my dhs

every single time , i look dumbfounded and am lost for words with a ed face say "ofcourse" and thinking about it, i think thats probably the best response i could give.

random · 30/11/2008 22:52

I get asked because my eldest dd is 29 and my youngest ds is 16 if a couple couldn't stay together that long I usually just say yes

lovelydear · 30/11/2008 22:56

i don't know. i can't help being curious when people have an unusual set up. isn't it all right to chat about how things came about? if it seems appropriate?

poisondwarf · 30/11/2008 23:13

I'm with lovely - I don't know if I would ask the question as I would imagine it would be perceived as rude, but if I were to feel comfortable enough to ask it would be out of simple curiosity/interest rather than prejudice or to do the person down - I'm not saying that that is what is happening in Bavaria (not familiar with the culture there) but I don't think you could make that assumption in the UK.

Now you've made me curious as to why people ask the question of you! I say that because my mum had 5 kids & I don't recall her mentioning anyone asking if they were all my dad's (they weren't), but then again there were no big age gaps like custardo & random are talking about.

Debra1981 · 01/12/2008 01:03

Sorry, you can shoot me cos I don't get asked this cos I've only got one. But, I'm with the last 2. I don't ask because I understand it could be taken as a put-down, but really, when I see another lone parent who has 3 or 4 kids, particularly if there is a bit of an age gap, I do wonder if that may be the case. I'd like to know out of curiosity, and the same sort of interest you have to know about other aspects of your friends' lives, so you can share their experiences more and be closer to them. Whatever the answer, there would be no lack of respect, we're all doing the best we can at a hard job, and I certainly don't think many of us 'chose' to be in the situation we are now as lone parents, whatever the particular circumstances. But I agree I would also be horrified (hypothetically) if a virual stranger asked that of me.

NCRedBreastedBirdy · 01/12/2008 01:40

Yes you can get asked that here and yes it is often loaded with "are you a slapper" undertones.

Could you try "postmans, milkmans, window cleaners and a miracle" whilst looking at the person with a straight face and full eye contact. Not quite a F**k off but close enough that they should back off fast.

I have found that a persons curiosity, whilst having no ill-intention, is still very very rude when you are on the receiving end of it. Most often people do not stop to really think about how they would feel if the question came thier way.

sunhappy · 01/12/2008 02:30

I got asked about 30 minutes after I was on the materntiy ward by a man who was on his 3rd child with 3 different women!
He congratulaed me, then asked if it was my first, I said no second and he said "different fathers like?" I was so shcoked I just said no same father

glitterfairy · 01/12/2008 08:15

The first time I went out after separating form the tosser I was asked if all three of my children were from the same father! I was very taken aback (only because of the personal nature of the call so what if they were) as I had just been introduced to the woman who asked.

I was discussing it with a friend the other day who had hosted the party I went to and she said that the woman who asked me had four kids by different dads and probably thought I did too! Still think it is an intrusive question though. Sunhappy perhaps that explains why this dad asked you.

littlemisschatalot · 01/12/2008 08:31

my 2 kids look completly different, and have been asked 3 or 4 times by different mums at playgroup if they have the same dad. they do. one just looks like me, the other, the spit of his dad. i cant believe some people have the cheek to ask though!

Anna8888 · 01/12/2008 08:46

We get lots of odd looks in our family as DSS2 and DD, who of course have different ^mothers, look startlingly similar yet I speak French to one and English to the other. And DSS1 doesn't look remotely like either DSS2 or DD (unless he is in a swimming costume, where bodily similarities are apparent), so where does he come from?

I do get asked quite a lot of questions, and I am very upfront about answering the strict and absolute truth. TBH it doesn't bother me hugely though.

fondant4000 · 01/12/2008 08:56

I sometimes wish people would ask - as I get 'looks'.

DD1 is white blonde, bright blue eyes (neither me or dh are), dd2 is dark brown hair, deep brown eyes. They look completely different from each other (which I love). They are both dh's

Just occasionally I see people looking at them and then me and dh in a curious way....

Doesn't answer your question I'm afraid...

fondant4000 · 01/12/2008 09:01

Actually a friend of mine said she was envious as her 2 dds look EXACTLY alike, so she felt like she was just going back in time and raising the same child!

Maybe you could say: "They each look different don't they? It must be soooo dull to have children that all look the same...." and smile nicely

TheNewsMongersGeansaiNollag · 01/12/2008 12:11

oh I'm so glad I found this thread!! I don't know what the answer is!

How about "ha ha SO much for that charming English reserve we peddle to the Americans ey?"

I'm a single mum and my children have the same dad but quite a big gap I suppose.

THe woman at the corner shop was such a nosey ol' biddy, saying,

"oooooh look at your dc1 with big brown eyes and curly blonde hair, and your son with his blue eyes adn straight hair............"
I could hear the cogs of her brain rattling round.

And then there was this loaded pregnant pause of about 3 well-timed seconds, and I knew it was coming,

"what's the age gap between them?"

I just said "3 and a half years" but I knew that she decoded that as

'oh, long enough for her to have met somebody else, they definitely DO have different Dads then!".

BIDDY. Teh same woman asked my Dad if his pension was safe!

She also tried to extract from my Dad whether or not my children were mixed race or not! (they are, but she needs to know for certain it seems!). My Dad said to her, yeah I'm black. He's 100% tipp-ex white. I laughed and cringed when I heard that!
She's SO nosey. But it made me realise that she's probably just blunt enough to say aloud what other people might wonder.

TheNewsMongersGeansaiNollag · 01/12/2008 12:17

ps lovelydear, I'm a very open person and my friends and even friends of friends know everything about me! but , people who clearly don't give a shit about you but just want to satisfy their own curiosity, that is a bit insensitive.

Suppose a woman's children did have different Dads, they mightn't want to allow near strangers (friends know much more about them, so that's different) the chance to judge them, when they don't know anything else about them. Because if that was the first thing they discovered about a woman 20 seconds after meeting her, I bet that would colour their judgement.

lulabellarama · 01/12/2008 12:21

Why do you all think it's an offensive question? That rather implies that you think it's undesirable to have different fathers for your children?

georgiemum · 01/12/2008 12:23

'Don't know, I stole them'

TigerFeet · 01/12/2008 12:30

lulabellarama - it shouldn't matter and to most people it doesn't, but there is a significant minority that would judge you for it.

I come at it from a sibling's pov - my sister is a lot younger than my brothers and I, we are 34, 32 ,30 and 17. My Mum was constantly asked if we all have the same father - she was even asked on the maternity ward when my sister was born. We do, fwiw, not that it would have mattered one jot if we didn't.

Don't get me started on people automatically thinking that dsis was my dd...

frogs · 01/12/2008 12:31

I have big age gaps between mine, and I can see people wondering sometimes. But since mine all have that look of having rolled off the same production line, it doesn't generally get any further.

People are so rude. Lulu, it's an offensive question because my dc's parentage is none of anyone's damn business unless I choose to tell them about it. And mine do all have the same father (met at university, love's young dream, yadda yadda), so there isn't even anything to tell.

It's like people with twins getting asked if they were conceived by IVF, or people with obvious scars (eg. me) getting asked by random strangers what happened to them. Er, if I feel it'll contribute to the convesration I'm happy to discuss my medical history. But since I don't know you from adam, I can't see what business it is of yours.

LoveMyGirls · 01/12/2008 12:31

I'd say..............

In an ideal world we'd meet the ideal life partner then have children however in reality sometimes we get pregnant young to men who are total 's, I don't feel abortion is right for me, I also didn't feel staying with a total was the right option either so I left him and found someone who deserved me and my daughter then we had another daughter and are going to get married, personally I prefer that to staying with someone that mis treats me and then on to have more children with him just for the sake of being able to say my children have the same dad (biologically) of course in my mind my family is complete and my children have 1 dad and he is my life long partner he is the oly dad my eldest child has had so technically my children do have the same dad.

By then they would probably be bored and never ask anyone ever again

TheNewsMongersGeansaiNollag · 01/12/2008 12:34

Because it's like "what do you do?", but MUCH MUCH more loaded than that!

It's like 'come 'ere and lemme judge yooooooo'

I think the sort of people who ASK get a little frisson of smugness from speaking to somebody whose children have different fathers.

I wouldn't htink any the less of somebody who had children by different fathers. I have defended ulrika jonsson on mumsnet. As I think the vitriol against her is appalling sometimes. She has had four children by four men but that is over the space of about 20 yrs at this point. they all live with her and she pays for them all, and they're all happy etc... She was married to all but one of the men fwiw, and the father of one of them let HER down.

THat's life. Only some people live the text book life story imo.

ANTagony · 01/12/2008 13:33

I'd say 'they are all brothers and sisters.'

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