berries

Wellness for One (or Two): Four Unexpected Ways to Enjoy Summer Fruit

By Samantha Pollack

Fresh fruit doesn’t need a recipe, especially in peak season. I know this, you know this, our grandmothers knew it, and our kids would know it too…if we had kids.

But.

I LIVE for recipes!

Keep in mind, I am a fruit snob. I don’t eat strawberries in October or apples in March. I only eat nectarines and apricots for about a month out of the year. My preference is to eat fruit plain, on an empty stomach, and I could happily survive for a week or more eating only fruit.

Which means – any fruit-based recipes have to blow the raspberry seeds out of my teeth. Here are four of my superstar favorites: Carrot Fruit Soup, Apricot Blueberry Salad, Blackberry Crumble and Strawberry Watermelon Salad!

fireworks women

An Independence Day Hook-Up for Childless & Childfree Women

By Karen Malone Wright

It’s July 2015, three months until The NotMom Summit, the first-ever major American conference for women without children by choice or by chance. As event administrators, planners and dreamers, Laura LaVoie and I meet women every single day who fill us with gratitude, encouragement and excitement. 

It’s not that there aren’t scary days searching for brands who believe in our audience, or overwhelming to-do lists that grow and grow, but it’s amazing, unexpected breadcrumbs we’ll never forget that guide the way:

  • The chance to present keynote speakers we dreamed of, including Los Angeles Times columnist and author Meghan Daum (Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Children), and Melanie Notkin, founder of SavvyAuntie and author of Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness.
  • New friendships that make me anxious to get to Vancouver, London and New Zealand and see the women I’ve been chatting with for months.

Bottom Line? Whether you once dreamed of motherhood or never, ever did, The NotMom Summit is the conference for you. At last.

And now, it’s on sale!

Saturday, July 4 through Sunday, July 12, 2015 (11:59 pm)

The NotMom Summit Independence Sale rolls ticket prices back to $225!

The NotMom Summit – Friday/Saturday October 9-10, 2015 (Columbus Day weekend)

Downtown Marriott Hotel, Cleveland, OH 

You know you want to be there, and we can’t wait to meet you!

cat gifts

5 Steps to Hosting the Perfect Shower For Your New Pet

By Laura LaVoie

Fourteen years ago in August, Matt and I brought home our squirmy, nekkid bundle of joy. As it turns out, she’s a Sphynx cat, not a baby. After she was settled in, we hosted a small get-together at our house.

My parents, my sister’s family of four (including two nephews who were very young at the time), my brother, and Matt’s mom all came over for an afternoon to meet our new kitten. We had a sundae bar, which was a lot of fun, and they brought treats and toys for Piglet, even though we had said, “No presents.”

My mom and sister, who had been kind of freaked out by the thought of a hairless cat, immediately fell in love when they experienced Piglet’s personality.

Recently, I’ve been involved in a few conversations with other childfree-by-choice women who have adopted new furbabies. They say, half joking, that they should have a shower for their new pet. And I say that shouldn’t be a tongue-in-cheek suggestion!

Here’s how to throw a pet shower in 5 easy steps.

hands globe

Child-Free Friendships: Digital, Inter-Continental & Real

By Karen Malone Wright

Right now, I’m immersed in All the Light We Cannot See, the can’t-put-it-down story of a German boy and a French girl coming of age during Nazi occupation and World War II. I’m only a third of the way through, but I can already see why it earned author Anthony Doerr the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.

An underlying message about how technology — at that time, radio — extends a group’s reach and influence, for evil intent, or good is emphasized again and again. There’s a quote in the foreword by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda:

“It is no exaggeration to say that the German revolution, at least in the form it took, would have been impossible without the airplane and the radio.”

In 2015, it’s the Internet that shrinks the globe as never before. Worldwide, con artists, deviants and ISIS (on the Evil side), and all the rest of us (on the Good side) appreciate the capacity to make person-to-person connections with people we’ve never met face-to-face.

There was a time when the cost of a long-distance telephone call freaked people out and letters to faraway pen pals were actually handwritten with a pen. Sounds prehistoric now. 

In recent weeks I’ve been living large on the Internet’s Good side, hooking up with new friends of The NotMom on three continents: North America, Africa and Europe. And in the spirit of living socially, I’m introducing them to you, too.

childfree poster

International Childfree Day: Nominate Your Pick for Woman & Man of 2015

By Karen Malone Wright

I gotta tell you: I am honored to be invited to join the Winner Selection Panel for International Childfree Day 2015.

It’s no secret that I stand closer to the ‘childless by chance’ end of the NotMom spectrum, yet I’m committed to every woman without children, regardless of how she reached that place. There’s no need for a wall between me and my ‘by choice’ sisters.

In that frame of mind, I encourage you to name your candidate for the Childfree Woman and Man of the Year.  International Childfree Day, by the way, is celebrated on August 1st.

Who’s worthy? That’s entirely up to you.

S Pollack wedding

Wellness for One: How I Got Fit For My Wedding Without Losing an Inch or a Pound

By Samantha Pollack

Dear Reader: My wedding was on May 30, 2015. It was beautiful! My man and I were smart enough to take an entire week off after the wedding. We didn’t go anywhere; just slept a lot and made out and called some fiends and family. I highly recommend this to anyone in the midst of wedding planning.

Getting back to work has been a challenge, and I’ve definitely gone through a little letdown. I actually love being married though; it feels different somehow. In a good way.

I originally published this post at my website. It’s blown me away by being my most heavily trafficked post EVER, on any platform. I hope you enjoy it.

A couple months before my wedding at the end of May 2015, I sat across the table from my man and said, “I think I’d like to shape up a little bit before the wedding. Nothing major, you know? Just a bit of slimming.”

Full Disclosure: I was just starting to crawl back into the light after a crippling bout of depression. I’d recently been to the doctor’s office, where I weighed about 4 pounds more than I usually do. And I had just tried on a bunch of ill-fitting bathing suits. I’m a genius.

He stopped what he was doing and looked at me as if he were about to cry. Then he said, “That makes me want to cry.”

With all the stress we had going on – the planning, the financial fallout of all that missed work, the crippling bout of depression – why would I put this pressure on myself? We were working so hard already. Couldn’t we have a little compassion? Couldn’t we just love ourselves as is?

Point taken.

L Bennett

The Not Mom Interview: Laura Bennett, Founder of Embrace Pet Insurance

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, and we define ourselves without the label of ‘Mom’. And if you’re not a Mom, who are you?  TheNotMom writer and childfree blogger Laura LaVoie interviews women without children with public voices to learn their answers. 

Right now, we’re focused on preparations for The NotMom Summit on October 9-10, 2015. By introducing our presenters and speakers here, you’ll get an idea of who the women at the podiums really are, and their levels of expertise. 

Meet Laura Bennett, founder of Embrace Pet Insurance. Her life’s work is to help pet lovers keep their furry family members safe and healthy. She will join veterinary behaviorist Amanda Eick for the Summit session, How to Really Spoil Your Pets. We count Laura among our favorite Momfriends and allies. 

Tell us about yourself and your business.

I am one of two co-founders of Embrace Pet Insurance, a company that resulted from a business plan we co-wrote that won the Wharton Business Plan Competition. Embrace improves the lives of pets and their people by taking away the financial pressures a pet can bring to the family finances.  

We’re also very proud to be a leading entrepreneurial company in northeast Ohio and we love to share our story so others can succeed, too. 

I am a Mom to two daughters, Ellie and Erin, and three cats, Lily, Rocket and Rosie.

Jurassic

Jurassic World: Way to Reinforce Gender Stereotypes, Hollywood

By Laura LaVoie

Let me start by saying that in general, I enjoyed Jurassic World. It was exactly the movie that I expected it to be, with action, adventure, and dinosaurs.

The story picked up in real time after the events of the first film in the series, Jurassic Park (and thankfully ignored the sequels). It also had a ton of fun callbacks to its movie ancestor.

But my praise for Jurassic World ends there. I have some major criticism, and I really hope someone in Hollywood takes notice.

Claire, the main female lead played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a career-minded woman working on the corporate side of Jurassic World’s business. In this storyline, she is tasked with looking after her two nephews who were sent on an island vacation by their divorcing parents.

At first, I related to Howard’s character. She didn’t know how to relate to the kids trusted their care to her assistant. But after she has a phone conversation with the kids’ Mom, the fiber of her character changes, and for me, she immediately transformed from a strong female lead to a women defined by motherhood.

Sister: “You’ll understand when you have kids”

Claire: “IF”

Sister: “WHEN!”

unattended

It Takes a Village, But Don’t Touch My Kid: Confusing Rules of Non-Parenthood

By Laura LaVoie

This really happened to me.

A couple of years ago I was at a camping festival with some friends. Two of us are child-free by choice and the other is one of the coolest Moms I know. Her son has successfully grown into adulthood. Even so, none of us are particularly maternal. In fact, I would argue that we’re not maternal at all.

One hot afternoon we decided to sit in the swimming pond at the campground to keep cool. We perched at the edge of the water and chatted. Next thing we knew, a Mom arrived with her very young child.

They walked to the water’s edge and sat just a few feet from us. I’m bad at judging babies’ ages, but the child was old enough to hold its head up, but not so good at sitting upright for prolonged periods of time.

Then, without a word, the mother walked away.

The three of us were perplexed. Were we supposed to watch the kid? If so, I don’t think it occurred to the Mom that this was a supremely bad idea.