Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Friends in High Places, Low Places, Cold Places, and Warm Places February 12, 2011

The worst thing about moving 400 miles to the northern part of my state is leaving all my LA friends behind. Through my husband’s job, I know three people up here, plus one good friend who is an hour’s drive away, so I’m working on making new friends.

Jose was traveling last week, so I spent much of the time alone, and frankly I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Then, on Monday, I received a copy of Lori’s new book in the mail. I read a couple of chapters and it made me laugh. On Tuesday I spoke of the phone with Lily, who was snowed under in Indiana. I’ve never met her, but we’ve become phone friends over the months.  Later in the week, I chatted by email to Monica and Sonja, and made plans to have coffee with Kathleen. I also finalized lunch plans with Pamela, something we’ve been trying to accomplish for months now.

I share one thing in common with all these women, and that is that we are childless, but beyond that I’ve discovered we have so much more in common and that these women have become my friends.

I know that many of us feel, or have felt, isolated in our childlessness, and that the web has enabled us to find our tribe. But beyond that commonality are the possibilities for friendships, and I encourage you to find those opportunities.

On the main members page, I’ve recently added a chat feature; the forums are always buzzing; and you can send messages to other members or say hello on their walls.  There are plenty of ways to make connections and hopefully to make some new friends.

Report in on friends you’ve made through this or other sites.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Girls’ Night Out January 17, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Tonight, my fiancé’s coworkers are taking him out to a pub to watch a game. And I think, Cool! Girls’ Night Out! Except it’s a weeknight, and my friends here are all moms. Going out to watch a chick-flick or linger over wine at a cozy bistro takes a backseat to helping with homework, making sure everyone’s eaten their vegetables, supervising bath time, and coaxing every last little darling into bed. As it should be.

Even if they could talk husbands and partners into taking over the nightly duties, I’m not up for an evening spent discussing school fund-raisers, the nicest ballet teachers, soccer game schedules, or pregnancy issues. When all topics lead to mommydom, I have little to contribute. And when it’s not boring, it hurts. Tonight, I’m just not up to it.

But, dang, I’m lonely. I know part of the issue is I’m new to this city. I moved here two years ago, and I haven’t yet had the time to build my new tribe. In my old city, I could call up any number of childfree girlfriends and look forward to a night discussing politics, spirituality, the last great book we read, classic movies we all need to see, our bucket lists, the state of the economy, people we love, celebrity gossip, fashion, travel plans….

Maybe I’m more aware of this because of how much I’ve enjoyed being part of the conversation on LifeWithoutBaby. “Enjoyed” isn’t the right word. I feel like we speak the same language. Each member is a unique voice, but there seems to be a shared level of compassion and openness. You inspire, move, and challenge me. You impress me with your intelligence, insight, honesty, and wit. Several times a week, I meet up with you for a virtual Girls’ Night Out, and…it got me thinking: Can we meet up in person?

My city is San Francisco. I’m starting a group on the main site, and I hope you’ll join me. One day soon, we’ll a set date for our first get-together for a movie, a chat over coffee, or a glass of wine and a lively discussion about whatever comes to mind. If you live in the lower half of California, consider joining the “Southern California Members.” There’s also a group forming for “Austin,” or if your city is elsewhere, consider starting your own.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her most recent article celebrates the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

Friends with Kids July 15, 2010

Sometimes it’s hard to spend time with friends who have children, especially if that’s all they want to talk about, but here’s an interesting twist that I read in an article recently. The author says:

Right after you have a baby, you avoid childless friends like the plague…at least I did. I’m not sure why. Maybe I feared that I’d feel jealous of their freedom or maybe I was afraid they couldn’t relate.

Interesting. Sound familiar? How many friends with new babies have you taken a wide berth around? She goes on:

That was a mistake because once I started reconnecting with those friends I realized that they are the best cure for parenting overload. And no, it’s not because they can drink more wine. My parent friends are actually heavier drinkers than my kidless friends (wonder why that is?). It’s because they know how to talk about things outside of kids. They actually read the “New York Times” beyond the homepage, see movies in theaters, listen to the latest music, and have travel plans beyond going to Hawaii and Tahoe.

Aha!! Could it be that the very reason we avoid people with children is the exact same reason, they crave our company? Could it be that your friend would love to talk about anything but her kids, but just can’t remember how? Maybe all she needs is a little nudge from you to remember that she still has something to say about politics/photography/gardening/travel?

Next time a friend with kids calls and you think how much you really don’t want to see her because all she’ll do is talk about her kids, consider taking her up on the offer anyway. Maybe that’s exactly what she doesn’t want to talk about, which is why she’s calling you.

 

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
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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.