By Laura LaVoie
The last couple of weeks, I have been posting personal stories from my life. I talked about being an “early adopter”, and it generated a lot of discussion. I talked about the awkward pause in conversations with parents and how to fill the silence. This also generated a lot of discussion. I remember that Karen’s post about being an only child — ‘the last of the line’ — hit a chord, too.
I love that we are creating dialogue about what it means, and feels like, to be a NotMom. Whether you’ve arrived at this place by choice or by chance, you’ll likely run into situations where your status as a NotMom is called out or is glaringly obvious.
Whether you like children or hate them is not the issue. Whether you decided at age 9 or had the decision made for you by age 45 is not the issue. Baby and parent culture is dominant in our society and other people have expectations that influence and affect the way we communicate and interact. Those of us not in that culture are building one of our own, but first we must learn how to thrive within that larger Mom culture. How do we do that?
For example, a NotMom friend shared my most recent post with her husband. He was surprised to learn that this was a conversation that women without children were having. You see, he never gets asked about being a NotDad. People don’t ask him how many children he has or even if he has kids. They ask him what he does. Period.
If people asked me what I do, I would have all kinds of things to answer with, but our society doesn’t seem to function that way. It’s often not the first question that I’m asked. Even in 2014, women are, for some reason, still judged by their capacity to be a Mom, while men are rated first by their careers.
So, we create safe spaces like this one. We celebrate NotMoms from around the web and around the world. We discuss the issues that impact us. We share gift ideas and kidfree vacation destinations. All of these are important for building community; a community where we can bond with each other over a common circumstance. A community where quiet voices combine to make some noise.
We want to know what you want to know about! What are your questions about being a NotMom? Do you want to know what to say or do with your friends’ kids? Do you need to address issues and concerns in the workplace? Do you need to have a once-and-for-all conversation with your own mom and dad?
This is your community, and it grows as we share with each other. In the comments, let us know the subjects and situations that you want to talk about, and we will take them on.