Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Cell Phones November 7, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

A local yoga teacher got fired for asking a student to turn off her cell phone in class. (Read the full article here.) The class was held at Facebook offices, so the argument was made that constantly checking her phone was part of the student’s job responsibilities, but others jumped into the fray and pointed out that she wasn’t saving the world. President Obama may need to be on call 24/7, but the rest of us can tune out for 50 minutes without serious repercussions. Seriously. Or, if it is that important, step outside and take the call where it won’t disrupt others.

Everyone I know who practices yoga does it for the physical benefits and for the calming effects, and they have the right to expect both. I go to the gym to exercise, clear my head, take care of myself, and I’ve been subjected to other gym-goers’ loud one-sided conversations about inappropriate topics including toe-nail fungus, a daughter’s STD, a string of cuss words that would make Howard Stern blush (still not sure what the actual topic was for that one). I’m so over selfish people who feel they have the right to subject everyone else to their boorish behavior. My whine this week: Turn off the damn phone!

What’s yours?

 

Whiny Wednesday: Thanks a Lot, Facebook October 24, 2012

In the interests of fuelling my Whiny Wednesday fire, Kathleen was kind enough to send me news of Facebook’s new “Little One” pregnancy tracker app. (Here’s a link, but please click through with caution as it’s a baby fest.)

Not only does the app provide video of baby’s development, users can also “Keep friends and family involved throughout your pregnancy with weekly updates, comments, gift registry, and polls.” The idea is to make it easier for moms-to-be to share photos and news.

I am currently “involved” in a family member’s pregnancy via Facebook. And let me tell you, this woman needs no help from an app in broadcasting her daily updates. In fact, it’s starting to become fascinating to see which unrelated topic she can twist around to the subject of her pregnancy next.  I know she’s excited, and I am happy for her, but mix it up a bit, lady, ok?

Glad that’s off my chest. What’s on yours today?

P.S. On their open salon this week, Pamela has a wonderful analogy about what it feels like to watch a friend (or family member) go to the other side and lose empathy for those left behind. On her blog, Keiko talks about having to announce her pregnancy and feeling guilty for “not failing.” Check out the conversations.

 

 

Facebook’s Skewed Perspective August 20, 2012

This post was originally published on April 1, 2011.

In the news this week was a warning from doctors about teen depression and Facebook. Listed among the “unique aspects of Facebook that make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate” were the “in-your-face status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times,” leaving some kids to “feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.”

If you’re childless-not-by-choice and spend any time at all on Facebook, these painful feelings might sound all too familiar. There’s nothing quite like a pregnancy announcement or cute kid pictures to remind you of what you don’t have.

But take heart!

The report is very quick to point out that Facebook “provides a skewed perspective of what’s really going on.” I think that’s true. While there are some people who clearly don’t give a second (or even a first) thought to what they post on Facebook, I know that I am very aware of how many people can read my posts and the different levels of “friendship” I have out there. Because of this, I’m always careful to manage my public persona.

If I’m having a crappy day and life is just the pits, I stay off Facebook; I don’t post my misery to the world. On the other hand, the pictures I do post are usually of my best days, out in the sunshine, with my husband, in some exciting locale, living a dream life!

I think that the majority of people post this way – we put our best Facebook faces forward – so it’s easy to look at a small sliver, a snapshot of someone else’s life and see it as perfect. In other words, it’s easy to look at a portrait of a happy family or read a jubilant pregnancy announcement and perceive that someone else has EVERYTHING we want.

But life just isn’t as simple as that.

If you’re at the stage in your journey where seeing some else’s children or baby news tips you over the edge, I strongly recommend giving Facebook the elbow for a while. But that’s just my opinion. There’s been a really great discussion on the forums about how to deal with Facebook. Take a look to see how other readers dealing with it.

 

Lovin’ Bloglovin’ July 6, 2012

I’ve just been introduced to Bloglovin’ and I’m converted. I realize this is probably ancient technology for some of you, but I’m just catching up…or catching on.

For those of you who might also be a bit technologically challenged, Bloglovin’ is basically a blog reader, but with a prettier format than most of the other feeds and readers out there. It looks like a blog, and feeds in posts from all your favorite blogs, so you can see new posts in one place. Here’s the official explanation, which is probably a bit clearer than mine.

So, in honor of my new love for Bloglovin’, I decided to do a roundup of what’s been happening around the blogospohere this week.

Mali had some good suggestions for dodging the onslaught of baby and ultrasound photos on Facebook in this post on No Kidding NZ.

On Living Life As a Family of Two, Kellie also practiced some Facebook self-preservation with the arrival of a co-workers new baby.

Klara at The Next 15,000 Days bemoaned the trend in older celebrity mothers who give the impression “there’s plenty of time” to have a baby.

In Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind on Baptism by Fire, Wolfers asked the difficult question, “How do you know when you’re ready to be around babies again?”

And over on Maybe Baby, Maybe Not, Maybe Lady Liz weighs the pros and cons of childfree communities.

If you have a blog that LWB readers might enjoy, please add a link in the comments so I can include it on my blogroll AND on my new Bloglovin’ list.

 

One Understanding Person June 18, 2012

How many times, when someone’s asked how you’re doing, have you said, “Oh, fine,” when inside, you know you’re really not? Plenty, I’m guessing.

We’re culturally pre-programmed to respond this way, because the truth is, when people say, “Hey, how are you doing?” what they mean is something like, “Hey, I see you, I’m acknowledging your existence and letting you know that I want you to think that I’m a friendly person, but don’t get too close, and definitely don’t answer my question honestly, because I really don’t want to know, unless everything’s rosy in your world.”

Cynical? Perhaps? But imagine answering that question honestly and picture the look you’d expect to see on most people’s faces.

Which is why we protect ourselves by telling everyone we’re fine.

Recently, Wendy added a comment to a post I wrote, and shared something she had once posted on her Facebook page. She wrote:

“Sometimes when I say, “I’m okay,” I want someone to look me in the eyes, hug me tight and say, ‘I know you’re not.’”

Wendy said she got a lot of hugs after that post.

It’s incredible what a difference one understanding person can make. I’ve met several surprise ones over the years—a friend of my mother’s who caught me off guard with an understanding word; a stranger at a cocktail reception, who told me she and her husband didn’t have children either, and who became my BFF for the evening.

So, today I’m sending out a thank you to all the understanding people out there to let them know how much their simple word or hug made a difference to me.

Who’s been your surprise understanding person?

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Facebook Sickness April 17, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I’m convinced I’ve picked up a new form of morning sickness. The primary symptom of “Facebook Sickness” is feeling nauseated every time a “friend” posts yet another comment or photo updating her (or his wife’s) pregnancy. It’s an epidemic:

“Here’s a picture of me at week 5!” (Looking no different than you looked at week 4.5.)
“Here’s the latest ultrasound image!” (Still looks like a blob of nothing to me.)

“Today my pregnant wife is craving ice cream!” (I crave ice cream every day. Big whoop.)

“I’m kicking my mommy today. Love, Baby Girl Smith” (“I crapped on the hallway carpet today. Love, Scout the dog”)

I can’t comment with what I’m really thinking because that would be rude…and, well, I actually am happy for these people. But I am SO OVER the daily belly photos that I am tempted to post one of my own:

“Here’s a picture of my belly. Still fat.”

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. A bowl of chocolate chip ice cream would go a long way to adjusting her attitude today.

 

Pregnant Lady Compliments March 29, 2012

By Maybe Lady Liz

At my thirty-first birthday party a couple weeks ago, one of my pregnant friends, Megan, did something truly shocking post-dinner: she actually joined us for the after-party at the bar. My surprise wasn’t due to her tossing back white Zins like Franzia was going out of business (she wasn’t, for the record). It was the fact that she made such an effort to maintain some semblance of her previously childless life when so many of my other friends have dropped off the face of the earth after becoming pregnant.

In some ways, I don’t blame them. Once you turn thirty, it becomes embarrassingly exhausting to pretend you want to rage at the bars till they turn the lights on. But trying to do it with morning-turned-all-day-sickness, back pain and swollen ankles…while SOBER?! No thanks. Needless to say, I was impressed as Megan hung in there through a mortgage payment’s worth of Bud Light for the rest of us and a few overly-emotional shufflepuck games.

Little did I know I’d come to regret including a photo of her in my Facebook album the next day. Mere moments after posting it, I was getting pinged left and right with messages that people I’d never met were commenting like mad on my album. I began to wonder if I’d unwittingly captured a wardrobe malfunction and it’d gone viral.

But no. I’d stumbled into one of my biggest pet peeves: the absolute AVALANCHE of compliments bestowed upon pregnant women when their photo appears on Facebook. Every woman Megan had ever met began leaving comments on the one photo she appears in. You know the ones I’m talking about. Your run-of-the-mill “you look beautiful!”, “you’re glowing!” and my favorite, “Look at you, pregnant lady!” Yup, she’s pregnant. You nailed it. And by the way, if you have to continually comment on how lovely she is now, what did she look like before? A cow?

And at the risk of sounding like a petulant child…it was MY birthday! Why was it hijacked by a belly? Why is the fact that someone was pregnant the most fascinating, comment-worthy part of that night? Are the rest of us that uninteresting and unphotogenic?

Well alright, I realize that I DO sound like ridiculous child. Likely because it has activated within me some simmering junior high-esque sentiment that if I don’t have a baby, no one will ever lavish that kind of attention on me. (Boy, I didn’t have to dive deep into the subconscious to retrieve that one.) I know this is just one of a million ways that society exalts pregnancy and the child-bearing process, so I’m not sure why this one’s got me so fired up. Maybe I’m just a grumpy thirty-one year-old now.

Am I the only one who’s being driven insane by this?

Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at www.MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.

 

Guest Blogger: Identity Theft February 2, 2012

By Maybe Lady Liz

There’s a distressing identity theft trend going on in the world of young parents on Facebook. Their accounts are being hacked into and entirely taken over by their babies! People who once used to post about interesting things going on in the world (or, at the very least, some gritty details of last night’s rendezvous) have been reduced to status updates on teething, defecation patterns and (drumroll please…) the miracle of rolling over! I think my friend Jen said it best while scrolling through her list of Friends and seeing mostly toothless, drooling smiles – “When did I become friends with so many babies?”

So, to my dear Facebook friends:

I get that the baby is the joy of your life. As it should be! But you had a life before that kid, and it was full of friends – like me – who still want to know what you’re up to, who you’ve become, whether you think it’s Tebow-time. Facebook is about sharing your life with friends and family. And of course, most of that is going to be centered around your baby now. But don’t ever forget that you were a person before you were a parent, and there are people out there who miss that person. So even if it’s something as lame as your feelings on the latest Kardashian divorce, I want to hear it. We all do. (Well, sort of).

And just a word of warning: If your posts start to become a photo of the baby accompanied by first-person narration from the baby’s point of view (e.g., “I am SO excited Aunt Cassie is taking me to the park today!”), we reserve the right to un-Friend you. It’s for your own good.

Maybe Lady Liz is blogging her way through the decision of whether to create her own Cheerio-encrusted ankle-biters, or remain Childfree. You can follow her through the ups and downs at http://www.MaybeBabyMaybeNot.com.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Inappropriate Invitations May 30, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

Yesterday afternoon, I received an online invitation to a networking event for entrepreneur moms. I did a little bit of research before replying, and quickly figured out that the invitation came from a “friend” on Facebook, an old friend from elementary school, who had invited every person on her friends list. So I can’t take in personally, and I didn’t include a comment with my RSVP explaining why I wouldn’t be attending. But, boy, just for kicks, I’d love to invite her to an infertility awareness seminar.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with her decision to be childfree.

 

Facebook’s Skewed Perspective April 1, 2011

As much fun as I had profiling some of great Cheroes, it’s time to get back to regular programming, and as usual, there’s no shortage of material.

 

In the news this week was a warning from doctors about teen depression and Facebook. Listed among the “unique aspects of Facebook that make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate” were the “in-your-face status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times,” leaving some kids to “feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.”

 

If you’re childless-not-by-choice and spend any time at all on Facebook, these painful feelings might sound all too familiar. There’s nothing quite like a pregnancy announcement or cute kid pictures to remind you of what you don’t have.

 

But take heart!

 

The report is very quick to point out that Facebook “provides a skewed perspective of what’s really going on.” I think that’s true. While there are some people who clearly don’t give a second (or even a first) thought to what they post on Facebook, I know that I am very aware of how many people can read my posts and the different levels of “friendship” I have out there. Because of this, I’m always careful to manage my public persona.

 

If I’m having a crappy day and life is just the pits, I stay off Facebook; I don’t post my misery to the world. On the other hand, the pictures I do post are usually of my best days, out in the sunshine, with my husband, in some exciting locale, living a dream life!

 

I think that the majority of people post this way – we put our best Facebook faces forward – so it’s easy to look at a small sliver, a snapshot of someone else’s life and see it as perfect. In other words, it’s easy to look at a portrait of a happy family or read a jubilant pregnancy announcement and perceive that someone else has EVERYTHING we want.

 

But life just isn’t as simple as that.

 

If you’re at the stage in your journey where seeing some else’s children or baby news tips you over the edge, I strongly recommend giving Facebook the elbow for a while. But that’s just my opinion. There’s been a really great discussion on the forums about how to deal with Facebook. Take a look to see how other readers dealing with it.