Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Typical September 5, 2012

I’ve taken almost a month largely away from work. I’ve rested, I’ve exercised, I’ve slept like it was going out of fashion. In other words, I’ve taken really good care of my mental and physical health.

Yesterday was my first official day back at work. I’m excited to get things rolling again, to start some new projects and face some long-running old ones with renewed vigor.

And, of course, I woke up with a cold.

It’s Whiny Wednesday and I’ve missed it these past few weeks. How about you? What’s making you shake your head and wonder why me?


Welcome Back September 3, 2012

Mum’s 80th birthday bash

I’m back. In some ways it feels as if I’ve been away months, and yet the time has flown by, too. It took quite a bit of coaxing to get me back to my desk, and writing this post is my first “back to normal” activity.

I had a great month away and am glad I forced myself to really stop working (for the most part) and spend a little time alone with my own thoughts. I feel refreshed, with my priorities in order, and (just about) ready to throw myself back into life, work, and, of course, blogging.

My trip to the U.K. was wonderful and my mum’s 80th birthday was a huge success. As an added bonus, I got to enjoy watching the Olympics on home turf (although not actually in London) and to cheer one of my hometown athletes, Jessica Ennis, to a heptathlon gold medal. It was inspiring to be caught up in the Olympic spirit.

I also got to enjoy time with my family and caught up with a couple of dear friends. It’s always a little odd to be around my extended family as I feel my childlessness more keenly when I’m surrounded by talk of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I’m more aware of being the odd one out and of bringing a different dynamic to the family because I don’t have children to talk about. The family tree my mum has hung on her wall reminds me again of the grander scheme of my family history and the significance of my own nubby branch, that stops two generations before those of some of my older cousins.

The antidote for my melancholy comes from my two long-time friends, who are also childfree. The topic of family and children almost always comes up in our conversations, even if just in passing, and it’s good to talk face-to-face with someone who gets me.  Our conversations don’t linger on this topic and we’re soon talking about everything from hiking to books and politics to our aging parents. And we laugh…the best medicine of all.

So, now I’m back, I’m ready to shake things up a bit around here. I have some new topics to share with you, some new ideas for the blog, and hopefully a facelift (for the blog, not me.) I’ll look forward to having these conversations with you soon.

Jessica Ennis’ gold post box

English summer hike, part I

English summer hike, part II

English summer hike, part III


A Creative Sabbatical and Reruns July 27, 2012

Summer is in full swing and I am heading off for a vacation. Hurray! Mr. Fab and I will be in England next month, celebrating my mum’s 80th birthday. I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the birthday lady.

I’m also checking myself out on a month-long sabbatical. In my mind, this means unplugging from technology and work responsibilities, and taking the entire month of August to do nothing but creative writing, including working on the novel I’ve been chipping away at for years.

In reality, I’m not going to be able to completely go underground, but in the spirit of trying, I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks.

So as not to leave completely dead air, I’ll be posting reruns of some of the favorite posts from the past two years. For those of you who are new to the site, it will be a chance to snoop into the archives, and for those of you who’ve been with me for the duration, it might be a chance to reminisce and see how far we’ve all come.

So for now, it’s adieu, and I’ll look forward to being back in September, refreshed, revived, and ready for a new season.


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?


Whiny Wednesday: Family Obligations June 20, 2012

My whine today is for my friend who was planning to attend a three-day conference for her personal passion this summer, but now has to go on vacation with her extended family of in-laws.

To make matters worse, she and her husband had no input into the destination decision, and so my friend, who does not have children of her own, will be spending her vacation time on a “family-friendly” cruise.

Needless to say, she is not thrilled.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, your chance to gripe about matters big or small.


It Got Me Thinking…About Tantrum-Free Vacations May 29, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Bonjour! I am back from a bon voyage to the City of Light and I am here to report that it was lovely. I walked, cycled, toured, explored, drank wine, ate pastries, and people-watched till I almost missed my over-extended “real” life.

Among the people I watched were the children. Earlier this year a woman released a book about her observations that French children are better behaved than British (and American, I assume) children. French Children Don’t Throw Food claims the author. Oh, really? Now I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know what she observed, but based on my own completely unscientific research I can report: They most definitely do.

During our brief visit to Paris and a few surrounding cities, I witnessed red-faced, shoe-tossing, hair-pulling, sibling-hitting, throwing-themselves-on-the-ground-while screaming hissy fits in several languages. I watched German mothers, Chinese fathers, and French grandparents try to calm their foaming little monsters into submission, all while my husband and I blissfully enjoyed our childfree vacation.

And the best news is, once we returned stateside, we continued to enjoy the relative calm of our normal life because we are childfree. The only food throwing in this house happens when we’re making pizza dough from scratch.

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


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.


Whiny Wednesday April 18, 2012

I’ve been back from my vacation for two days and already my head feels as if it’s about to explode.


Why do I keep saying “yes” when I really mean “no”? Why do I create a weekly task list and put enough tasks on it to last a month? And why, why, why am I not working on my new book project, when I know that’s what will really make me happy?


If you have answers to any or all of these questions, feel free to post below. If not, feel free to vent your own frustrations. It is Whiny Wednesday, after all.


P.S. My vacation was wonderful, blissful, and peaceful. I miss it already.


Whiny Wednesday April 11, 2012

Filed under: Fun Stuff,The Childfree Life: Issues and Attitudes,Whiny Wednesdays — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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As I’m on vacation this week, I’m also taking a break from whining (plus, I’m on vacation, so, really, what is there whine about?) But don’t let me get in the way of you airing your grievances. It is Whiny Wednesday, after all. So, please, whine away!


My Glamorous Childfree Life April 9, 2012

Last week, loribeth left a comment that struck a chord with me. She said:

“Sometimes I feel like my life should be more “exciting” than it is. It’s like if you’re childless, people think you should be constantly travelling to exotic places — or feeding starving children in Africa — or giving up your job to run away & live on a beach in the South Pacific — because you don’t have kids to think about or send to college. When really, I am, for the most part, perfectly happy spending a quiet Saturday night at home with dh and a good book or my laptop.”

When I first realized I wasn’t going to have children, I did a lot of soul-searching about what I was going to do with my life now I wasn’t going to be a mother. Eventually, the answer came to me: I’d be doing pretty much the same as I was before. The upside now is that I still have the time to pursue things I love and I’ll most likely still enjoy that freedom ten years from now when my children would have been hitting their teen years and I would have been seriously considering running away to live on a beach in the South Pacific.

Mr. Fab and I are heading off on vacation this week—for a whole week! We’re going to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington, where we plan to spend the week doing not very much. We’ll take our backgammon and dominoes, some good books, and our hiking boots for some long walks. I’ll pack my binoculars for whale watching and bird spotting, my waterproof jacket in case I decide to brave the water in a kayak, and my Pajama Jeans (and, by the way, believe the hype. I wear mine every day) for lounging around and relaxing.

In other words, we won’t be perpetuating the stereotype of the jet-setting childfree couple, galloping around to the most exotic corners of the world, but we will be doing something important; we’ll be making the most of what’s turning out to be a very pleasant, if not especially glamorous, life.