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. Some people say it is strange to define ourselves by things that we are not, so let’s determine what we are instead.
Childfree blogger Laura LaVoie interviews women bloggers without children who answer the question, “If you’re not a mom, then what are you?” This is the fourth of a series. Laura says:
“Here at TheNot Mom.com, we were super excited at the response to our previous interviews with NotMom bloggers. The Jen Yates (Cakewrecks & EPBOT) interview generated quite a bit of interest, and through that post we became connected to more NotMom bloggers. One of the women who reached out to us was Celeste Lindell of Average Jane™. At her blog, she shares about her life in general and shows us that NotMoms are busy, socially aware people with quite a bit to say.”
Tell me about yourself and your blog.
Average Jane is pretty much a journal of my daily life, although I don’t write as frequently as I did when I started it in 2004. I work in the advertising business as a digital content manager, which is a fancy way of saying I write, edit, and post web content. I have been married for 18 years and live in a suburban household with 4 cats and a small dog. I tend to avoid work as a blog subject, so my posts run the gamut from recipes to descriptions of social event, to volunteer projects and hobbies to travel to mundane retellings of the housework I accomplished over a long weekend.
What makes you want to write?
I’ve had a drive to write since I was a child, and I think it’s tied to being an avid reader since childhood. Language is my medium and it feels natural to me to tell stories about things that happen. I don’t have a lot of drive toward creative writing anymore, so I’ve settled on the blog post as my essay format. Now that I’ve been blogging as long as I have, I feel a closeness with the community of readers I’ve developed over the years and it helps keep me motivated to continue sharing in that medium despite the fact that Twitter and Facebook have a tendency to leech away stories that would formerly have been blog posts.
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, though. I have dozens of friends in that category.
What defines you?
I’m easygoing, no-nonsense, and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about things. I strive to make the world better in any way I can: volunteering for an animal rescue group and for a community service organization dedicated to women and girls, and on a committee for a professional organization that’s building a new website for a local homeless shelter. I recycle everything – even stuff that they won’t pick up at the curb – and I drive a hybrid car. I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m not concerned with what other people think of me and I dress accordingly.
Do you feel it is important for NotMoms to have a place on the internet?
I absolutely do. I attended the first 7 BlogHer conferences and watched it get very Mom-oriented once the majority of the sponsors decided that Moms were their big target. Those of us without children eventually found ourselves feeling a little lost as the Mom-oriented sessions spilled out of the Parenting track into nearly every topic area. I have a good group of non-Mom online friends, but I’m always eager to meet more.
What do you want advertisers and readers to know about women without children?
Advertisers need to realize that women without children still buy almost all of the same stuff that women without children buy (and we probably have more discretionary income). I mop my floors, I go to the grocery store and cook dinner, I buy a car every decade or so. Unless a product marketed to women is specifically for mothers or children, it would be nice if advertisers approached their marketing from a standpoint that didn’t always assume that “woman” equals “mother.”
I’d like readers to come away realizing that there’s no such thing as a stereotypical childfree woman. The way I look at it, I could have been a teacher but I chose to pursue another career path; I could have been a mother, but I decided against it. In my mind, those are equivalent life decisions and neither of them carries any implication of negative character traits such as “selfishness,” etc.
Big thanks to Celeste for her openness with the NotMom community. Are you a child-free female blogger? I would love to talk with you and share your story. If you’re interested, please contact us. -Laura