The encouragement received to date for a conference for women without children has been impressive So much so that the word I should truly use is ‘surprising’. Why I’m surprised is hard to ferret out. Certainly, I’d love to meet other women who ‘get me,’ and I know other NotMoms feel the same. Imagine the break-out sessions! Surely they’d offer information hard to find anywhere else.
Among the comments and emails are several agenda ideas for what I’ve dubbed “NotMom Con”. The one that stopped me cold suggested a panel discussion featuring mothers of women without children. My first thought was, WOW! Second thought: Would Moms be willing to speak publicly about relationships with their NotMom daughters?
The commenter with this brilliant idea ended her submission with a question:
“Does anyone else have a hard time relating to their Mom?”
Let’s start with the disclaimer that at some point, every adult woman has “a hard time relating to” her Mom. The no kids/no grandkids dimension is like whipped cream on an emotional sundae.
We come to NotMom Life from differing paths. Each woman who chose to be childfree has a unique story; childless women who once dreamed of motherhood are the same. In a similar way, if any of our mothers dreamed that we’d make them a Nana, their struggles with Acceptance are happening on a plane totally removed from our own. And yet, our Moms’ journeys intersect with ours all the time.
My mother bugged me about having children every single week, even though she didn’t really approve of my husband. It was all about the grandchild. Sometimes, I think that she hoped for a second chance at to improve her aptitude for mothering. Early in my first marriage, she asked me if she could name the child that I had yet to [and never would] conceive. I was shocked at her audacity; she was crushed at the energy behind my “NO!”
What might we learn from Moms of NotMoms? The mother whose child-free daughter is an only child will surely have different feedback than Moms with grandchildren from their other girls. I want a stronger take-away for the audience than “Oh good, I’m not the only one,” though that’s a goodie in itself. Perhaps a psychologist to moderate the discussion. Maybe both Moms and their NotMom daughters should be onstage.
Bottom line: This would be a panel like I’ve never seen before. And I’ll bet you can say the same.