Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Happy Independence Day! July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

If you’re tuning in from outside the U.S. you may be scratching your head and wondering what the heck happened to Whiny Wednesday. Well, it’s still here, fear not. But today is also Independence Day and just about the biggest holiday of the year here.

I am claiming my independence from whining today. I’m heading to the beach and then I’m off to the Hollywood Bowl for what may prove to be the highlight of my summer…Barry Manilow, LIVE!

Hey! You can say what you want about me, but I will not stand for any besmirching of my Barry, thank you very much.

If you need a whine (and your mouth isn’t too full of hot dogs,) go ahead. I’ll be back with my old attitude next week.

courtesy: Hollywood Bowl


Awareness February 13, 2012

I’m not sure if it’s the same where you live, but if you happen to be in the U.S., you’ll already be into several weeks of red and pink window displays and newspaper ads for romantic dinners, and great prices on jewelry and red roses. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and like so many holidays, it’s become a huge commercial venture here.

Despite my somewhat curmudgeonly attitude towards Hallmark holidays, I would ordinarily be taking the opportunity to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

But my resistance comes from somewhere deeper than a distaste for over-commercialism. Now that I am not going to be a mother, I have a more highly tuned awareness of the minefield of global holiday greetings. I know how hurtful it can be for a stranger to glibly wish me a happy Mother’s Day, not realizing what a painful thing that is for me to hear.

Because of this, I now appreciate that by wishing “Happy Valentine’s Day” to everyone I meet, I could inadvertently be reminding that person of what they don’t have. And I know how that feels. Shouldn’t Valentine’s Day, like Mother’s Day, be a personal exchange between the two involved parties?

So, I won’t be broadcasting a Happy Valentine’s Day message here. But instead, I wish you love and I wish you someone good to share your life with, whatever that means to you. If you have that love, cherish it. And if you don’t have it, I hope you find it soon.

Wishing you love today, in whatever form it comes.


It Got Me Thinking…About Puzzles January 24, 2012

 By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I took a week off over the recent holiday season, something I haven’t done in many years, and I planned all sorts of fun things for myself…of which I did, well, two. At the top of my list was to pull out the old card table and complete a jigsaw puzzle. It brought back memories of cozy holidays by the fireplace and lazy vacations in a remote cabin. I could hardly wait to get to the museum store and select a puzzle (I chose a painting depicting San Francisco landmarks), and I looked forward to indulging in some quiet while the picture was revealed before me.

What was I thinking?! That darn thing—1,000 pieces of a blurry friggin’ watercolor—was hard! It took me three-plus days to put the frame together and a couple of weeks post-holiday of a piece here, a piece there. There were times when I just wanted to sweep all the pieces into the box and move on with my life, but when the last piece slipped into place (Ta-da!), I did experience a gratifying sense of accomplishment.

Overall, I enjoyed my puzzling experience, and it was interesting to look back and realize I’d learned a life lesson in the process. You see, there were nights when I would stare at it and not see a single hook-up. Then, the next morning, I’d glance at it and instantly see where a huge chunk, when tilted slightly to the left, fit perfectly into a section that previously looked unrelated.

This got me thinking about how I can better face challenges in life. Instead of obsessing over it, stressing over it, banging my head against the wall, trying to cram pieces into sections that don’t fit, I need to walk away for a bit. If I take a step back and look at it from a new angle, if I allow myself a rest and return to it refreshed, I’ll be better able to see that all the pieces will come together perfectly—different than what I’d originally envisioned, but indeed perfectly.

It’s like the whole childfree thing. Years spent wanting, waiting, praying, trying to make my life fit the picture in my head. Then one day, a friend said, “Let’s start a blog,” and a whole new world opened up. I became part of a community of women who inspired, challenged, amazed, and comforted me. I found a place to share my stories and learn from others. And I look back at the pieces of my life and see how they’ve come together to reveal a beautiful new picture, one that might never have happened if I’d stayed frustrated, if I’d given up and thrown all the pieces back into the box.

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


Whiny Wednesday December 21, 2011

Filed under: Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Ho, ho ho!

Are you having festive fun or are you in holiday H-E-double-hockey-sticks? Hopefully you’re tossing another log on the fire, spiking your eggnog, and settling in for a cozy holiday. If not, now’s your last chance of the year to get it all off your chest.

Happy Whiny Wednesday, one and all!


Whiny Wednesday: Another Exorbitant Airline Fee December 8, 2010

Filed under: Family and Friends,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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Last weekend my husband and I finally settled on our Christmas plans. We are going to take a simple, inexpensive trip to an undisclosed location and just relax, spend time together, and catch up with ourselves. As it’s going to be a home-away-from-home trip, I decided I’d like to take our cat with us. It’s a short flight, we’d be door-to-door in three hours, and it’s better than leaving her alone at home, even with the very best cat-sitter (which my neighbor is.)

I can take my very small cat in the cabin as my one piece of carry-on luggage. Perfect. But this privilege will cost me $200! That’s more than the cost of my own seat, and the cat will be on the floor for most of the flight. In addition, I will also have to pay to check my bag as my cat will be my hand luggage!

I realize this policy is in place to discourage people from traveling with their entire menageries, but right now I am not happy and the only place I can come to whine about this is here to you.

It is Whiny Wednesday. What’s got your goat (or cat or ferret or turtle?)


It Got Me Thinking About…A Holiday of Our Own December 6, 2010

Well, hallelujah! About jumped out of my chair when I read Donna Brazile’s column in the December issue of Oprah’s O magazine (the donna files, page 60, or here). In “The Overlooked Holidays,” Donna suggests we introduce some new gift-giving occasions. She writes: “I’ve spent thousands on showers, weddings, babies—and for the record, I’m happy to do it—but sometimes it feels as if the world is built for couples” (and mothers, fathers, and grandparents). Wouldn’t it be nice to give “a small token for those of us who never married or had children?” YES!!! Yes, it would be nice. Very nice indeed. Thank you, Donna, for speaking up.

Now we just need to figure out what to call our fabulous new holiday. Suggestions?

Kathleen Guthrie is a San Francisco–based freelance writer. She is learning how to embrace being childfree.


27 More Days ‘Til Halloween October 4, 2010

Is it really October already? My goodness this year has flown. Back in May, during our discussions about that holiday, someone mentioned Halloween as being their second least favorite holiday as a non-mom. I must say I vacillate between loathing and loving Halloween. In years past I have gone out of town, or at least out of the house, to avoid all the impish cherubs begging for candy on my doorstep. Sometimes the cute factor is just too much to bear. Other years I’ve stocked up on candy and joyously given handfuls to every sized kid in the neighborhood. Hey, I never claimed to be logical or rational about my childlessness.

This year, the jury is still out. Maybe I’ll pull out my skull lights and Marcus the Carcass, my glow in the dark lawn ornament, and show some enthusiasm…or maybe I’ll turn out all the lights and pretend I’m not home. As I don’t have kids, the prerogative is mine.

What about you? Do you love or hate Halloween? Is it a holiday for kids or is it a better holiday without kids in tow?