Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Childfree “Dads” November 1, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

While counting down the days to my wedding, I thought it would be fun to revisit some favorite films with classic wedding scenes, including Sixteen Candles (“Love the teapot.”), When Harry Met Sally (“Who’s the dog, Harry?!”), and Sex and the City (“Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours.”). Which is how I happened to snuggle up with the 1991 remake of Father of the Bride.

Steve Martin and Diane Keaton as the parents*, Kimberly Williams as the bride, and who can forget Martin Short as the delightfully eccentric wedding coordinator, Franck. It’s funny and sweet, and even though I’m twice the age of the bride in this movie, it’s still relatable. I thought we’d have a “smallish” and “simple” affair too!

As I watched Steve Martin, childfree in real life, give his hilarious, touching, and convincing performance as a dad, I was reminded of an article we featured in a post earlier this year. We rose up in heated protest (on our comments page) in response to British actress Anne Reid’s insinuation that “Actresses Without Children Can’t Play Mothers.” What a load of bunk.

And this got me thinking about the wonderful men in our lives who happen to be childfree. The uncles, husbands, boyfriends, bosses, and friends. Today I’m celebrating Steve Martin, who gives the gifts of laughter and compassion through his “dad” (also in 1989’s Parenthood) and many other roles. I’m also thinking about the man who mentored me early on, who became a father-figure and then my friend. And two colleagues who are better able to nurture my career and our friendships because they aren’t occupied with being someone’s dad. They play important roles in my life. Isn’t it time they got some credit?

*I think it’s interesting that both Steve Martin and Diane Keaton were childfree when they made this movie (she later adopted two children).

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She regrets not hiring her own “Franck” to handle the minutiae of her wedding plans.