Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Off Topic: Insect Bites and Lemon Juice June 30, 2010

Filed under: Health — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

I don’t usually blog off-topic, but this is seasonally useful, so I thought I’d share.

I just discovered today that rubbing lemon juice on insect bites helps relieve the itching and apparently the swelling too. I managed to get about a dozen bites this weekend and was looking for a natural remedy. I’ve been rubbing lemon juice on them every couple of hours and the itch has gone away. Amazing!

I found the tip here, along with 45 other suggestions. I chose lemon juice because it was the only thing I had handy, and was much more convenient than a suggestion I found on another site, which was to eat rattlesnake meat for a week. Don’t you love the internet?

And now back to our scheduled program….


Childless or Childfree? June 29, 2010

This is a debate that rages in my head often and I know it’s going on out there in the world, too. Are you childless or childfree?

I used to refer to myself as childfree as my way of stating that I made a conscious decision about my life. The problem is that “childfree” always had the suggestion of a narrow escape, or that I’d been cleansed of something unpleasant, like being germ-free, or living rent-free. Occasionally I come across parents or children that make me feel like I had a lucky escape by not having kids, but usually that’s not how I feel. So, recently I’ve switched to using “childless” instead, but that has the opposite connotation, that I am missing something that makes me less than whole. Again, aside from those odd times when the hormones fare up or one of my triggers is flipped, I consider myself to be a whole and fulfilled woman.

So what do I call myself? I’m looking for a term that suggests no affiliation to any faction, including parenthood.  Something that suggests my independence and my wholeness. Any suggestions? How do you refer to yourself?


Meeting Other Childless People June 28, 2010

Last week Sarah posted this comment:

“Do you have any tips on how to find people without kids? I went to a RESOLVE meeting once and made friends with a fellow infertile… who got pregnant the next month.”

I suspect we’ve all had that feeling of being cheated on by someone we hoped would be an ally, at the same time being glad the person got what she really wanted. So how do you find other childless people to spend time with?

Here are a few of the ways I’ve found kindred spirits:

Activities at non-kid-friendly times

I go to an early morning exercise boot camp three days a week. It starts at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m. which is a tough time for anyone, but especially for people with very young or school-age kids. Most of the people in the group don’t have children and I’ve been going for long enough that I’ve made a small circle of childless friends. What’s great is that our primary connection is exercise, not childlessness.

Stealing or borrowing other friends’ childless friends

Quite a few of my friendships have come about through mutual friends. I’ve been invited to a dinner or barbecue, made my way around the room, making polite conversation, until I’ve met someone I’ve clicked with and discovered they don’t have children either. I have several childless friends who were introduced to me by mutual friends with children. In some cases the original friend has drifted away and the new friend and I have grown closer.

Groups and clubs

Just getting out and meeting people in general is a really good way to ultimately meet other childless people. Joining a group or club relating to your interests or hobbies means you automatically have something in common. I’ve been in book clubs, running clubs, and various classes. Over time, I’ve attached to certain members of the group, and just because of schedules alone, the childless members have ultimately gravitated to one another.

Childless and child-free groups

I haven’t actually tried this yet, but I’ve considered it. No Kidding! is an international social network for people without children. They have chapters all over the country and arrange social events regularly. If there’s one near you, this seems like a great way to meet people.

Another idea is using You can sign up and state your interest in meeting other childfree people in your area.

We also have a Groups page on this site. Try starting a group for your local area and see if other people join. Hopefully you’ll find at least one other person who lives close enough to meet in person, and our membership is growing daily.

If anyone else has ideas on how to meet other childless singles or couples, please post them. I know that there are several other members who would love to find people they can connect with in person as well as just here online.


Where do you turn for support? June 26, 2010

Filed under: Polls,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 5:17 pm
Tags: ,

We all need someone to talk to now and then. Who do you most often turn to when you need support?


Are you okay? June 25, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 10:09 am
Tags: ,

I’m a little worried about you.

In Tuesday’s post I admitted that I had lost my sense of humor and was looking to find it again. I asked for your best jokes and even offered a fabulous prize! But only one person posted a joke; granted, it made me giggle, but now I’m worried.

Are you okay?

Seriously now, are you okay? Because sometimes we tell everyone that we are okay, and sometimes we even tell ourselves the same thing. Sometimes we mean it, but sometimes it’s a flat out lie. It’s seldom that anyone actually asks us if we are okay (and I don’t mean just the standard “Hi. How are you?”), but when they do it gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves, “Are we really okay?” My good friend asks me this frequently and I’m just as grateful to tell her truthfully that I am as when I need tell her about why I’m not.

So, I’m asking you now, “Are you okay? Are you happy/comfortable/at peace with not having children?”

If your answer to yourself is “no” then ask yourself what you need. Do you need to talk someone or throw something or make a change in your life? Do you need to go to bed and feel sorry for yourself for a day (this is allowed if you promise to get up and do one of the other things as well.)

If your answer is “yes, I’m okay,” what helped you get to that place?

And if you haven’t completely lost your sense of humor in this process, please share a good joke. After all, there really is nothing like a good belly laugh to turn things around.


Adapting to a Childless Life June 24, 2010

I recently read Cheaper By The Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth. If you’ve never read it, I recommend it. Don’t be put off by the awful Steve Martin movie version; the book is a classic. In one of the stories, the family with twelve children goes through a string of household help (not surprisingly) because, quote: “People can’t move from a quiet home to a large family.”

I can imagine the shock of moving from a small quiet family into a household of 14, but what about the other way around?

I’m from a family of three children, but my brothers are 11 and 13 years my senior, so in many ways I’m an only child. I have memories of quiet afternoons at home with my mum, or of just making my own entertainment if there were no neighborhood friends to play with. Even now, I enjoy my peaceful life and like nothing better than a quiet evening at home with a good book. If there’s no one to talk to, I talk to myself. I’m seldom bored or lonely.

But I wonder, if I’d grown up in house with a big family, would I feel the lack of children in my house more deeply? Would I crave the noise and chaos, or would the quiet life I have be a welcome rest?

Do you come from a big family? Do you crave that company or have you adapted quite easily to a quieter life?


Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together? June 23, 2010

Filed under: Family and Friends,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

This evening I am having dinner with a group of women. None of us has children. On this particular occasion, it was planned that way, but the dinner came about because we’d all recently attended a barbeque hosted by a mutual friend and realized that being childless was the one single thing that all the women present had in common.

If you asked me, I’d tell you that “most of my friends have children,” because that’s how it feels to me, but when I take a closer look, I see that’s not exactly true. While I have many friends who have children, the people I see most often don’t. Of the group of five women I run with several times a week, only one has children. The same ratio applies to my closest neighbors and my writing group. I have two friends from high school who I’ve stayed in touch with over the years. Neither of them has children either. And if I decided to throw a dinner party for ten people, most of the people at the top of my guest list would have either no children or grown children.

“Yes,” I’d argue, “but most of my oldest and very best friends have children.”

That’s true, but these days my oldest and very best friends are the ones I see the least. Maybe it’s because my friends with children don’t get to go to dinner or out to see a play on a whim. Or maybe that now I won’t be a parent I find that I’m gravitating towards birds of a similar feather.


Childlessness is such a serious matter June 22, 2010

“That’s not funny.”

I don’t know about you, but I find myself thinking this, if not always saying it out loud, a lot more than I used to. I know I used to have a great sense of humor, I can remember being funny at one point in my life. (I’m sure that was me.) But these days, everything is just so serious.

Some days, when I’m writing my blog posts, I find myself thinking, “Why does this childless thing always have to be so serious?” But if I do write something fun and silly, like yesterday’s post, I’m always wondering if it’s going to sound flippant. I have my own set of trigger subjects that I just don’t find funny, and I know they’re not the same triggers as for others, but I don’t want to risk upsetting someone with an off-hand remark, when what we’re doing here is trying to pull one another through, and be supportive.

But all this seriousness is giving me wrinkles, and there’s no better exercise than a good belly laugh. And I could use one right now.

So, I have a challenge for this week. I need some new jokes to tell and my repertoire is pretty old. So, please share your favorite joke with me. I’m ready to laugh and I would love to have some new jokes to tell amongst the group of 12 people I barely know, that I’m having dinner with on Saturday (so, please, keep them on the clean side.)

I have one last copy of Carrie Friedman’s excellent (and very funny) book, Pregnant Pause to give away to the teller of the funniest joke, (as judged by me), so let’s hear ‘em!


The Cost of Children June 21, 2010

Filed under: Children,Current Affairs,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 9:51 am

According to an article in this morning’s LA Times, the cost of raising a child has increased by 22% since 1960. The grand total for raising one child from birth to age 17 is now $222, 360.

For one child.

Before college.

So, the question is, what are you going to do with your spare quarter-million dollars?

Unfortunately, mine isn’t sitting around waiting to be spent, but if it were, I’d be writing tomorrow’s post from the coast of Madagascar, next week’s from the top of a camel in the Sahara, and the following week’s from the Great Wall of China. A quick word or two posted from the base camp of Everest, and then I’d probably have to come home for a while, if only to do laundry. I could use a new car to be honest, and I probably ought to save part of it for a down-payment on a house, but as I’d once anticipated having four children, I have the best part of a million dollars to spend all on myself.

Yes, this is a silly fantasy, but just for a moment, play along with me. How would you spend the $222,360 you saved by not having children?


Father’s Day June 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

I think it’s fair to say that Mother’s Day ranks right up there on the list of worst days to be childless. But what about Father’s Day?

When my husband and I were first married I would always send him a Father’s Day card from the cat. I’d write left-handed in baby writing and sign it with a paw print. As it became increasingly apparent that we weren’t going to have children together, I stopped sending the cards. I considered resuming the tradition this year, but have yet to take the step of actually purchasing a card. Even though my husband has children of his own to celebrate with, I know he still feels sad that I wasn’t able to have children. I don’t want to reopen those wounds when I know they still haven’t fully healed, so the cat most likely won’t be sending a card.

What about you? Is Father’s Day a touchy day for you? How about for the men in your life? How do you deal with these days that sometimes seem designed to remind us of our childless status? Or is it no big deal to you? I’d like to know.