Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About “Cheroes” February 7, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

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.

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11 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About “Cheroes””

  1. Cheroes – a brilliant turn of phrase, Kathleen. Looking forward to meeting you sometime soon to talk about this very topic in more detail. Lisa and I have kicked around the idea of an online publication that celebrates women who live fulfilling lives in roles other than mother…perhaps 2011 is the time to get serious about it. What do you think my friends?

  2. Kate B Says:

    I lke that – Cheroes! We need more of them.

  3. Julie Says:

    I’m a big fan of “probably it’s okay” as well. That pretty much sums up my attitude toward not having children now.

  4. Lynn Says:

    Loved this post today. Needed it.

  5. HR Hughes Says:

    Love this post. And want to kick any one who says “But, what will you do if you don’t have kids?”That’s just too stupid

  6. Mali Says:

    I love this. I have a number of Cheroes, who will never make history but who are cheroes nonetheless, working in their community with at-risk-youth, or supporting women who have had ectopic pregnancies, to those who blog and help other women without children feel less alone.

  7. Stephanie Says:

    LOVE this post! Thanks.

  8. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    We’re doing a whole series of profiles about “cheroes” for March, National Women’s History Month. Check out the posts and add your nominations.


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