Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Fabulous Friday: Summer Fever June 29, 2012

It’s Fabulous Friday and I have Summer Fever.

Although I haven’t quite faced putting my long sleeves and my greys and browns away, and I’m not entirely ready to impose my pasty legs on the world, a summer breeze keeps blowing in my office window and I’m itching to be outdoors in it.

I want to eat lunch al fresco, put my feet in the ocean, and wander the farmer’s market sniffing out the ripest, juiciest peaches.  And I’m ready to travel.

(I’ll take a short second here to acknowledge that I won’t be spending my summer shuttling kids from one camp to another, nor will I be wrestling crabby toddlers and luggage for 14 through the airport. For this, I can find gratitude and even sympathy.)

My Mum celebrates her 80th birthday this summer, so Mr. Fab and I are planning a trip. And let me tell you, if it’s not pouring with rain, England in the summertime is glorious! I can hardly wait to be there, because there my pasty legs won’t stand out form the crowd, the ice cream is delicious, and with luck the barbecue in my brother’s backyard won’t get rained out this year. Ah, such bliss.

So, what about you? Do you have summer fever? Are you making plans? Are you itching to get out and frolic in the sunshine, too?

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Perks June 19, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I’m working in my fuzzy gray slippers today. I can do this because I’m a freelancer, I work in an office in my home, and the only creatures likely to see me in less-than-professional attire are my dogs. On most days, I choose to get dressed to the shoes because it is part of my routine, my discipline. But on a day like today, I am relishing the little perks of my status.

Which got me thinking about some of the little perks of being childfree. We’ve talked about the big perks, like having extra money for luxury purchases, being able to sleep in on the weekends, and the flexibility to travel on a whim during the off-season. I’m starting to also appreciate some of the little everyday things, too. Like being able to turn on the TV or computer without first having to shut off parental controls, or being able to curse a blue stream when I stub my toe (i.e., not worrying that my child will later repeat those words in church). I like that the laundry is manageable in my household and that I really only have to go to the market once a week. I like that right now it’s quiet here and I can hear myself think.

I think a big part of this journey for me is moving from acceptance to appreciation. For so long, I could only see the woe-is-me side of life, the loss of the family I couldn’t have, the experiences I knew I’d miss. As I shift my perspective a bit, I’m starting to see all that I have, all that I’ve been given, all that I didn’t lose.

I wish for you today a sense of peace as you look at some of the perks in your life.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her memoir about her journey to childfreeness is in the works.

 

Freedom April 27, 2012

A few years ago I decided to make the leap from the corporate world to a career as a freelance writer. It was definitely a leap of faith and I’d be lying if I told you the transition wasn’t rocky. But leap I did and I haven’t looked back more than a few hundred times since. (I say this with my tongue firmly in my cheek, as there have definitely been days I’ve considered chucking in this crazy dream and going back to the safety and dependability of corporate life.)

When I made the decision to follow my heart, there was also an idea in the back of my mind that working from home would fit so much better with my other plans of raising children. I even bought a book called Writer Mama in preparation for my dual role. It turned out be a great resource for a writer, as long as I skipped over the “mama” bits of information.

Fast forward a couple of years and not only do I realize how naïve I was to think I could easily mix babies and books, but it turns out I also spend much of my time writing about not having children. Who knew? But the thing is, my life is pretty good regardless. In fact, most days it’s better than pretty good.

In the past, I’ve written somewhat flippantly about the benefits of not having kids, but the reality is that I have the freedom to be more creative, to experiment in my writing, and try new things, while still having time to do the not-so-creative work that actually pays the bills. And I really value that freedom.

I didn’t get the life I wanted and planned for myself, but I may well be getting the life I needed and I think, when all is said and done, it’s going to turn out be a pretty good life after all.

 

Happy New Year January 2, 2012

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. So how was it?

I had a very quiet Christmas with Mr. Fab and my mum. We went for a walk, cooked dinner, opened gifts, and played some games. Oh, and ate entirely too much chocolate.

Mr. Fab has read one too many Dickens novels and has been requesting a Christmas goose for the past decade, so this year I did it, and it was delicious.

I spent Christmas Eve preparing side dishes, sauces, and dessert. It was a beautiful sunny day, my mum was out in the garden reading, Mr. Fab was running last-minute errands, and I had a couple of hours alone with my thoughts (and my goose) in the kitchen.

I was thinking about how much I enjoy my quiet Christmas, even though it’s vastly different from the noisy family celebration I had once envisioned for us. But I have to admit that I enjoy the freedom of the holidays without children.

But I was also struck with a bout of melancholy for the things I’ll never get to do. It’s a shame I’ll never get to enjoy smuggling a new bicycle into the house after dark, wrapping gifts in the wee hours after the recipients have gone to bed, and carrying on the myth of Santa when the kids are old enough to doubt, but not quite prepared to risk being wrong.

It was a short bout of melancholy that passed as I sprawled in front of my fireplace, stuffed with roast goose and good wine, and tried to decide whether to read for a while, or just give myself over to the goose and take a nap.

Everything in life is a compromise, and even as you lose something, you gain something else in its place. For me, the gain is freedom and flexibility, and the bliss of a quiet, lazy Christmas afternoon.

 

Harry Potter and the Spontaneous Adventures of the Childfree Couple – Part I November 18, 2010

Tonight, Jose and I are going to the midnight screening of the new Harry Potter movie. Why? Because it’s become tradition for us, because Harry was there with us when our relationship began, because we love the story, and because going to a midnight show is silly, exciting, fun, and (because it’s a work night) a little bit rebellious. But the main reason we’re going is because WE CAN!!

We have no kids who have to be up for school in the morning, who would want to come with us, who really shouldn’t come with us, who probably wouldn’t stay awake until 3 a.m. anyway, and who would probably be cranky for the entire rest of the weekend.

Granted, Jose and I might be all those things too, as 10 pm is our normal bedtime, but the great thing is, we are adults and we can choose to go or not.

One of the very best things about not have children is the freedom of spontaneity. We might take a train trip to New Mexico for Thanksgiving next week…or we might just stay home and pretend we’ve left town. We might throw a New Year’s Eve party this year…or we might just go somewhere fun, just the two of us. We might go the midnight showing of Harry Potter tonight…or….

Well there is no “or” on this occasion, but if an “or” comes our way, we have the freedom to choose it…or not. 

As the French would say, “Vive la liberté!”