Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Vacation May 1, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

 

I’m going on vacation.

 

Let me rephrase that: I am going on vacation for three whole weeks!

 

The last time I took off more than 10 days in a row was in 2006 (and it was because I had Chicken Pox, so it doesn’t really count). I took a two-week vacation in junior high school, then throughout high school and college I worked every spring, summer, and winter break because it was more important to earn a few bucks than take a well-earned breather. As a new-to-the-workforce young adult, I stretched my vacation days over long weekends and family holiday gatherings. As a new freelancer, I couldn’t imagine being able to take time off, let alone taking time away from the business that I loved and the clientele I’d worked so hard to create. (And I am well aware that our non-U.S. LWB readers are shaking their heads in disbelief at our crazy American work ethic.)

 

Can I just say this feels reeeeeeealllllly good? And can I also say that I recognize how lucky I am that I am free to check out for so long because, unlike most of my friends my age, I don’t have to worry about the kids.

 

This is no small thing. If I had kids, I’d be planning a trip to Disneyland or a family-friendly cruise or a stay in a resort that features pools with slides. I’d still be in mommy-mode, and it really wouldn’t be the break I need. Instead, I can turn off my cell phone, ignore e-mail, set aside my usual responsibilities, and pay attention to my own head and heart for a change.

 

Yes, I’ll be touring, experiencing, tasting, and exploring, but on vacation pace. My pace. Some people might accuse me of being selfish (and as a childfree woman, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d heard that). I think I’m being smart. I think I’ve worked hard and have earned my vacation. I plan on enjoying every quiet moment.

 

 

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s already making a list of destination options for her next vacation.

 

It’s All About Attitude October 3, 2011

Thanks to Iris for forwarding this article about living happily without children.

I love this author’s attitude to the hand she’s been dealt. At first read, she seems almost flippant about her inability to have children, but she’s packed a whole life story into one article, and reading between the lines, it’s clear to see the pain she felt, the struggles she and her partner went through in coming-to-terms with being childfree, and the attitudes she still has to endure from others. But her whole outlook was encapsulated in this paragraph:

“We didn’t get to have something. We had 2 choices as a result of that – let it control, dictate and sadden the rest of our lives or find something else to do instead. Either way, we still wouldn’t get to have kids. So which is the best choice?”

Are you still struggling to come to terms with your own situation and feeling that childlessness is “controlling, dictating, and saddening” your life? If so, can you see what your “find something else to do instead” could be? And could you do it?

I don’t this author is trivializing the blow she was dealt – far from it – but I love that she’s found a way to turn her situation to her advantage. What do you think?

 

Whiny Wednesday January 5, 2011

I love the Internet for the breadth and depth of information it provides, and for the opportunity to read so many varying opinions on one subject. But sometimes I just have to walk away.

Case in point, I was doing research for a post and came across the following comment on an article:

“I take care of my parents. My children will take care of me. You want to force my children to take care of you too, meanwhile you arrogantly and selfishly live a much richer life style. Frankly, every GINK I’ve met was an arrogant, self-righteous, elitist. You should apologize for not adding to the future of our race.”

So after I ranted to myself about not expecting anyone else’s kids to take care of me, how our race of almost 7 billion people doesn’t need much adding to, and how narrow-minded this woman was to tar us all with the same “arrogant, self-righteous, elitist” brush, I stomped off and took a long, hot shower.

This woman was clearly on a mission (she posted about half a dozen comments to the same article) and I can’t believe I let her anger get under my skin.

It’s Whiny Wednesday. What’s under your skin today?

 

The Childfree and Selfish Discussion July 17, 2010

This article, Is Being Childfree By Choice Selfish? first appeared in REDBOOK and was reposted on MSN. Obviously, we’re not going to have the “selfish” discussion here. We all have our reasons for not having children, and most of have at least one good comeback in our arsenal in case someone actually plays the “selfish” card with us. But there were some interesting points in this article.

One woman who has never wanted kids said this:

“When someone asks me if I have kids, I often feel almost apologetic when I say no, like I have to provide a ‘good enough’ reason or they’ll take pity on me and assume I can’t have children,” said Rebecca. “But I just don’t have the gene for wanting a child, and I don’t think having a child would improve our relationship. I usually tell people that we’ve chosen to go the dog-and-cat route and leave it at that.”

Apologetic? She’s clearly a woman who has thought through this and made an intelligent decision, but now she feels she must apologize for that? Haven’t we all done that to some degree?

The article goes on to quote Laura Carroll, author Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples without Children by Choice, who says:

 “I have been watching the childfree for over 10 years now, and I can say that they are not a homogeneous group. They come from all socioeconomical backgrounds and life experiences. They are no more selfish than parents who have kids for their own reasons. They so often contribute to the lives of kids (e.g., have occupations that revolve around children), to their communities, and our world. We need to realize and fully accept as a society that having children is an option, not a given. We also need to realize and accept that not everyone has the call to have parenthood be the central focus of their lives. There are many ways to lead fulfilling lives that make a difference, and raising children is one way, not the way, as many, many people out there will attest!”

Yes!! Finally!  I was happily thinking that the conversation about being childfree  is being brought into the mainstream. But this is how the article ends:

What do you think of the decision not to have children? Is it selfish? Or are couples who choose to be kid-free just self-aware enough to know that, for whatever reason, they’re not parent material? Are you childfree by choice?

So, in the end this article–originally printed in REDBOOK, the magazine for everywoman– isn’t addressing everywoman after all; it’s asking people with children for their opinions on the childless. Until a mainstream magazine publishes an article called, “Are parents selfish?” we aren’t really having a dialogue about this subject.