NotMom Blogger Profiles
Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different. We are not mothers, but we are much, much more. Childfree blogger Laura LaVoie interviews women bloggers without children who answer the question, “If you’re not a mom, then what are you?”
Emily Timbol of ‘Emily Timbol’s Blog’
My faith plays a big part of my life. I’m someone who wants my faith to shine through in who I am and what I do. Not in a preachy, “Let me tell you about Jesus” way, more of a, “Let me show you that not all Christians are what they seem to be in the news” kind of way…
I’m not disobeying God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply,” because that wasn’t a commandment at all. It was a blessing given to both man and the birds of the air and fish of the sea. Children are a blessing for many Christian couples, but not all, and I think that He blesses childfree women in different ways. More
Why did you start blogging?
I’ve got something to say about good eating! It doesn’t have to be this huge, joyless chore where there’s never any pizza or chocolate cake. Good health has gotten a bad rap: it’s unattainable, you have to take 10,000 supplements and pay for fancy water….or ELSE. It’s all very serious and fun-hating. I say, why can’t it be fun, and funny even? Let’s all just lighten up a little bit. Have some cake already. Calm down. More
Do you feel you are treated differently as a woman without children and if so, how?
What bothers me is not that I am different from everyone else (I’ve always felt different), or that I am treated differently. What bothers me is this expectation that one day I will change who I am and give up what I want for myself to have children and conform to this social expectation. It’s the look of pity and impatience that people give me, followed almost immediately by, “Well, you just don’t understand yet. When you have children, you’ll see how great it is.” More
On your site you make a strong distinction between Childfree and Childless, can you explain this a little more?
We think the term ‘childfree’ is a little better in that it specifically speaks to the idea of choice. That does not mean that everyone agrees on what ‘childfree’ means either, but we’ve solved this handily. We use the term as defined by Amy in her research: “People who have made the intentional and explicit choice not to have children”…
This does beg the question of what people in these other categories are; categories that have no names. What do you call someone who wants kids but doesn’t have them yet? What about people on the fence? We don’t have good descriptive names for these categories. Some people may think that the terms don’t really matter. They probably shouldn’t on a day-to-day basis. More
You’ve written about the two sides of childfree lifestyles. How do you feel various circumstances affect individual women’s decisions?
I also noticed a glaring difference in the way that involuntarily child-free women were viewed, as being very different from voluntarily childfree women. As I mentioned in the op-ed,at The Feminist Wire, I believe that child-free women who are unable to have children differ not in decisions that they make, but in the way that society sees them. A woman that is unable to have children is often pitied. The difference with voluntarily childfree women is that rather than being pitied, they are vilified by society as not holding up her part of an unwritten social contract that they are compelled to fulfill because of their gender. More
What about fictional NotMoms in fantasy?
What those 3 [NotMom] characters have in common holds true with the ones that have kids: I find inspiration from independent heroines who save the day. As it turns out, a lot more characters have kids than I thought. I guess it means I need to keep writing the kinds of characters that don’t have children and hope they can be an inspiration to others someday. More
Liz of Maybe Baby, Maybe Not
Tell us about yourself and your blog.
I’m an early-30s lady living in Los Angeles with my husband and (child-free cliché warning!) two cats. My blog chronicles our ever-wavering decision of whether to remain childfree-by-choice or prepare ourselves for a home permanently coated in a fine layer of Cheerio dust. The topics I cover range from philosophical questions like what Puppy Lust can teach us about Baby Rabies, to childfree celebrity spotlights, to how cooking for two sucks, and everything in between. More
Loribeth of The Road Less Travelled
How do you feel you are treated as a woman without children?
Once I got into my mid-40s, the questions and pressure (subtle and otherwise) to have children (“it’s still not too late…”) gradually (thankfully) petered out. But I still find there’s that awkward pause when people ask how many children I have, or how old my children are,and I say I don’t have any. (I tend not to talk about my daughter in casual conversation… then it REALLY comes to a screeching halt…!)
I scrapbook for a hobby, and I have had people question why I do it, when I don’t have children! (Ummm, Hello, I have a life and memories that I might want to preserve, too.) More
Why did you start blogging?
I first dealt with the confusion and weirdness of infertility in isolation. This was a time not so long ago (before the proliferation of Internet communities) when information on this topic was available only via the library or bookstore. No one discussed it. That made it doubly hard to reconcile. It was intense and, at times, absurd confronting infertility in an era of Mom’s Clubs and helicopter parents. I was made to feel like an outcast, bombarded with messages implying my life would be devalued, unfulfilled if I didn’t succeed with motherhood.
It was only after my husband and I decided we were done being human lab experiments that I began to realize that overcoming infertility is about much more than making a baby. It’s about coming to terms, when nature and science find their limits, with a meaningful life different than the one so often taken for granted. More
What message do you want to send to advertisers and readers about being a childfree woman today?
To advertisers, I would say to not make the mistake of ignoring or discounting childfree women and couples these days, because we’re on the rise.
And to readers, I think I’d say there’s no shame in not wanting kids, so don’t be afraid to question the roles society wants to put you in. Children should never be a foregone conclusion; they should be a deliberate choice. And to readers who are already parents, please remember that not everyone wants the same things you do, so don’t assume a child-free couple is any less fulfilled or happy or selfless than you are. We all have different goals and strengths in this life, and for some of us, parenting just isn’t it! More
What made you start STFU, Parents?
I started the site in 2009 after I noticed a considerable uptick of “kidformation” in my newsfeed on Facebook. I’ve never been a big Facebook user, but I do enjoy scrolling through my feed, and suddenly I was seeing a LOT of status updates about baby fevers and nap times and diapers. Meanwhile, an old work friend (a Mom of 2) sent me a few screenshots of her friends’ obnoxious status updates, complaining that these friends always posted about their “perfect” children. That made me think that other people probably felt the same way we did, so I started the blog thinking it might attract some readers. I’ve received submissions every single day since then! More
How do you feel you are treated as a childfree woman?
I get a lot of “oh you don’t have children”? Or “how many kids do you have” and when I tell them I don’t have any… it tends to be an awkward silence. I am 34, so I know my own biological limitations at this time in my life, but I also understand how hard it is for people to try not to judge me while involuntarily judging me. It’s hard to relate to someone whose life is not anywhere near what you thought it would be.
What bothers me the most is when working at my other jobs in the past, it was expected that I fill the gaps, take less vacation, stay late, because “You don’t have a family”. The idea that my time and life is less valued because I am neither married nor have children is beyond disheartening.
Then there are my friends that tell me they wished they were me. They are married with kids, and they tell me they would love my freedom to do whatever they think I want to do. I like that idea, but I still have bills to pay, and obligations to meet, of my own. More
What is your story? Where are you in your life?
I’m firmly in the middle of my story: middle-aged, mid-career, and on my second generation of pets since I moved out on my own. I’m settled into certain social groups, certain volunteer organizations and certain habits, but I have a feeling that some changes may be coming in the next few years. I have a strong tendency to over-schedule my free time despite the fact that I love spending time at home reading and basically lazing about, so I’m always seeking that balance.
My husband is 10 years older than I am, and neither of us felt particularly driven to become parents. When I was about to turn 35, I had the “Here’s one last chance, what do you think?” conversation with him and we decided we liked our lifestyle the way it was. I am certainly not a kid-hater. I have a wonderful niece and nephew and some honorary nieces and nephews among my friends’ children.
People without kids do seem to find each other. I have dozens of friends in that category. More
Why did you start blogging?
On New Year’s Eve 2011, I decided I wanted to start drawing again. I had barred myself from it due to depression and trauma associated with my inability to have children. I decided that, since I couldn’t create life, I shouldn’t allow myself to create anything of consequence. I put away my paints, brushes, pencils and other tools and stopped myself from doing anything artistic or original that wasn’t directly linked to work.
When I started the blog, I gave myself a year to draw every day, hoping it would re-start my imagination and help me regain my skills. More