I’ve long been seeking a role model (a hero), a female mentor who can advise me in life and business (a shero), an experienced guide who can help me make the most of my childfree existence in our mommy-centric society (a “chero,” if you will). I have not yet found someone with whom I can meet for weekly pep talks over tea and scones, but in the world at large, I am finding more and more cheroes who inspire me.
Julie Taymor is one such woman. Most people know her as the creative genius behind the Broadway spectacular The Lion King. This year, a new generation will get to know her as the producer, cowriter, and director of the new musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, with music by U2’s Bono and the Edge. In a career that has spanned 25 years, she’s picked up Tony Awards, an Emmy, an Oscar nomination, and legions of accolades and critical acclaim for her work in theater, film, and opera.
And this was possible because she wasn’t busy picking up toys, picking up kids from school, or picking clumps of stewed peas out of her hair. In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, she states it quite simply:
Julie: We didn’t have children…We sort of tried…It didn’t happen, and probably it’s okay.
Oprah: Yes. Because you wouldn’t be able to do all this with the intensity that you’re doing it with.
Julie: No. I wouldn’t.
“Probably it’s okay.” I love that. I can live with that right now. While I’m not yet firmly “okay” with my childfree status, I’m starting to imagine the possibilities. And the next time some well-meaning stay-at-home mom asks, “But, what will you do if you don’t have kids?” I think I’ll tell her about my chero.
Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.