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.

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang expected to soar at auction May 14, 2011

Filed under: Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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It’s been quite an emotional week this week, between Mother’s Day, post-show adrenaline drop, and the raging sinus infection that will not go away. I’m feeling like I need an Eat, Pray, Love kind of escape.

After my “I don’t want to talk about this” post on Wednesday, Sue (check) suggested that blogging about something other than being childfree and infertile might do me a world of good. After fainting at the thought of getting a whole new blog up and running (and fed with posts) I decided that what this blog needs is a little silly every now and then.

And so, for something completely different…

Big news this week! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is going up on the auction block this Sunday. I asked my friends if any of them would lend me a couple of million bucks so I could put in a bid, but alas, they all declined.

I think I may rent this movie this weekend, just for old times’ sake. I bet even as you read this, you’re singing:

Oh (Chitty) you (Chitty), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you.

And (Chitty) in (Chitty) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s what we’ll do!

In case you aren’t, here’s a little something to help you.

Which icons of your childhood would you be willing to drop a couple of million on (if money were no object?) Or what’s your favorite guilty pleasure movie?

 

Top Ten kid-friendly activities to do even if you don’t have kids April 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 12:01 am
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Here’s my Top 10 list of kid-friendly activities I still love to do even though I don’t have kids. What’s yours?

10. Play miniature golf and insist on playing by the rules

9. Go out for ice cream

8. Ride the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland

7. Play whack-a-mole

6. Build a sand castle and defend it against the sea

5. Watch Bugs Bunny cartoons

4. Do spins on a swing

3. Draw on the paper tablecloths in restaurants

2. Celebrate my birthday with cake and presents

1. Go to the midnight showing of a Harry Potter movie

 

No Fooling: It’s Another Baby Movie, And Another April 1, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 12:01 am
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Coming soon to a theater near you: Two new baby movies. Oh joy.

The first is The Back-up Plan, starring Jennifer Lopez as a woman who decides to have a baby alone using artificial insemination, conceives twins, and then meets Mr. Wonderful (on the day she conceives, of course.) She then drags the poor guy through the usual array of baby-related gags—throwing up on their romantic date, passing out while watching another woman give birth—and ultimately, as the movie is slated as a romantic comedy, lives happily ever happy. It’s Baby Mama meets Knocked Up, as far as I can tell, and does the world really need to see this again?

Also coming soon is Bébé(s) (Babies), a French documentary about the first year in the lives of four babies from around the world. When I first saw this, I thought how refreshing it would be to see the difference in childbirth and childrearing in various cultures. I thought what a great opportunity it would be to highlight the difference in medical care between a country that schedules births for convenience and one where no medical help is available; to show the contrast between countries where a woman might remortgage her house to have a baby of her own, and one where a woman has no access to birth control and has no choice but to keep having babies she cannot afford to feed. This is a movie that could have a lot to say. But watching the trailer, it seems that this is a movie about how cute babies are, and how siblings squabble whether they’re sitting in designer onesies or naked in the African dirt.

Ah well, I guess life would be dull if every movie was made purely to convey a message. On the other hand, do they all have to be pure sap? And how about a positive movie about a woman who decides not to have children and has a happy and fulfilling life regardless? Perhaps Hollywood thinks that too fantastic a concept.

 

Whiny Wednesday March 31, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes,Uncategorized,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 12:01 am
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Why do some people think it’s perfectly acceptable to bring a toddler or baby into an adult-rated movie only to have them cry all the way through? Take that kid outside, please, if for no other reason than to avoid them being traumatized for life!

It’s Whiny Wednesday; time to get it all off your chest. What’s your gripe?

 

Poll: What’s the worst movie to see when you don’t have children? March 29, 2010

Filed under: Polls — Life Without Baby @ 12:11 am
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Blindsided March 28, 2010

Filed under: The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes — Life Without Baby @ 12:01 am
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Not long after we decided that we wouldn’t have children together, my husband and I needed a nice relaxing evening out and headed for the movies. We decided to see Up.

For those of you who missed it, Up is a light, funny Disney/Pixar movie about an old man and a boy scout who tie balloons to a house and float away to find paradise—at least according to the trailers. So, there’s no reason that two grown people should ball like a couple of babies through the entire thing, but that’s what my husband and I did. For those of you who have seen the movie, I’m sure you understand. Turns out this “kid’s” movie is much deeper than that. It’s all about lost opportunities, misunderstandings, and what constitutes a life of adventure.

It’s also about a couple who were never able to have children together. We were blindsided. At that time we were far more vulnerable than we realized having just been through five years of infertility and we just weren’t ready to have our lives paraded in front of us in the form of animated characters.

Sometimes, movies turn a mirror on our lives; sometimes they make us face our demons; and sometimes they show us a life we’re glad we passed up. That year, we chose to see Knocked Up and left feeling resentful. We opted not to see Juno or the ludicrous Baby Mama. Reading books like Jodi Picoult’s 19 Minutes  makes me realize what a dicey game raising children can be and reconfirmed that I made a good decision. But Up caught me off guard and for a while it made me think that I could have had a different life and maybe it would have been good.

Which movies or books have made you question or reaffirm your decision to not have children? Leave a comment or hop onto a forum and let us know.