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Because it's a choice.

The Childfree Guide to Enjoying the Winter Holidays

Most people argue that summer is the best season of all because of sunshine, beaches and maybe even girls in short shorts (can’t argue there!). Despite how delightful summer can be, winter is my favourite season of all–and for good reason, I promise. Not only is it highly fashionable–from all the heavenly fur and down that describes the Nobis parka; to Mulberry shearling wedge booties–winter is the time to bring out your fiercest styles. And winter isn’t just for snuggling under the covers and watching re-runs of Gossip Girl. Although, you can do that too. Here’s 10 things that will make your child-free holidays enjoyable!

1. The DecorationsBring your camera along for this one. If you think the winter holidays is all gloom and doom, check out the best lights display in your city. Here in Toronto, you can expect to be bedazzled by mega wattage, festive decorations and a 40 ft lit tree in the Distillery District. The Distillery District  has mulled wine markets, a reindeer zoo and a very small-town appeal. And of course, the gorgeous ice sculptures and high-end Christmas decorations in Yorkville is worth a walk. I promise you’ll go home feeling very sparkly and giddy. Christmas Trees Around The World 1

2. Chestnuts–yes, the same ones in the song that we are supposed to roast on an open fire. Roasted chestnuts are simply divine and very delicious. The slightly sweet, nutty flavour and the creamy yet meaty texture of these warm, unique nuts are unlike anything you’ll experience this winter. Roasted chestnuts are best paired with a light white wine and eaten warm. If you get tired of just eating them like that, try a roasted chestnut soup or a nice vegan recipe–apple and chestnut stuffed acorn squash. I seriously go through a 2lb bag of chestnuts a week. And so you don’t feel guilty–it’s a high in fibre, low in fat snack that will make your house smell cozy and inviting!  Roasted colorful chestnuts in street cafe

3. Discounted Shopping – After everyone buys their Christmas presents, EVERYTHING goes on sale the next day for the famous Boxing Day sales (think Black Friday in the States). Yes, people line up outside malls and shops for the amazing discounts but since we don’t have little ones to buy plastic train set and Nintendo Wii’s for; there is no harm in browsing and treating yourself! If standing in long lines at a mall is not your thing, online stores often celebrate Boxing Day too with generous discounts. ‘TisBeautiful woman shopping online for Christmas. the season to be merry–and frugal!

4. Hot Chocolate and Tea

It seems every year cafes like Starbucks and Lettieri come out with creamy, creative hot lattes and chocolate drinks for the season. From the eggnog or the gingerbread latte, to the white hot chocolate–it makes going to cafes extra fun before a skating session or a trip to the book store. The pumpkin spice latte is my favourite–and it definitely makes the cold days feel a bit warmer. Hot_chocolate

Places like David’s Tea is packed during the cold months, and there is nothing better than a cup of hot tea with a touch of honey. The holidays is a time to take tea seriously. Try a new flavour or use tea to improve your health as well. I finished 2 boxes of fennel tea, stinging nettle tea and oolong tea last winter. If you visit a health food store or a tea house, you will find a wide array of delicious teas to tantalize you and keep you relaxed on snowy nights.

5. Snowboarding -Winter sports are highly underrated. You won’t even feel like you got a workout while you are skiing down the slopes, but winter sports burn serious calories and are so much fun. Put on your favourite scarf and your snowpants to toboggan at your local park or pack up your board to hit the hills in Aspen (or Blue Mountain, Ontario). I usually toboggan at night, when the snow is an untouched blanket on the ground and I don’t have to share the hills with tweens in UGGs. Winter sports vary in price, so save up for a weekend getaway and get out there. You won’t regret it! kicking_horse

6. Kiss under the Mistletoe..and then Some–My mother told me that I was conceived during the winter because there wasn’t much else to do on snowed in days. Despite the fact that I wanted to erase those words from my memory, she has a point. Even though you’ll be likely sterilized or using protection, the holidays is a great time to get freaky. Try a new position or lather up some body oil you got on sale from Boxing Day and give winter blue’s a run for it’s money. If you’re single and looking to mingle, winter is a good time to date! There is so many New Years bashes at this time that if you go out, you will indeed find hordes of happy people ringing in the New Year. A lot of people from out of town are visiting family–so chat up someone cute and find out where they are from. Chances are, next time they’ll be coming back to visit you. couple-winter-300x300

7. Island Getaway-When the snow turns to slush and the icy winds get to be a little too much, it is time for that Caribbean vacation. If you have paid vacation time at work, try to accrue it so you can take off a week (0r two) and enjoy some R&R and a good mojito in Cuba or St. Kitts. A week of sunshine will give you all the Vitamin D you need to get through the rest of the winter. Working on your tan in a straw wide-brimmed hat while your peers are shoveling snow and driving their tykes to hockey practice is priceless..well actually, it’s around $600 a ticket on sale. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

8. Be Silly – Winter is the only time you’ll get to make snow angels and snowmen with carrot noses. You don’t need kids to enjoy the silliness and fun of snow and winter. Dressing up your cats or dogs in winter sweaters in bright green and red, or antlers is well worth the laugh you’ll get when you view the pictures in the spring-time. The smell of a real pine tree in your living room is refreshing and even you know you secretly love listening to White Christmas twice. Have a spontaneous snowball fight (maybe even with a cute stranger walking by!) and taste the snowflakes. Actually, with all the pollution…disregard that last one.cat-christmas-cute-red-Favim.com-249638

9. Wrapped Presents-The only time to expect wrapped presents is your birthday and Christmas! It is almost as much fun wrapping up presents as it is receiving them. Even though I mostly give bottles of wine at this time of year, my closest friends and family get gift-wrapped presents. With big bows and mini Santa Claus icons, it is nice to exchange gifts. Even if it is just a box of chocolates, buy some gift wrap and wrap something up for someone!

10. Giving Back – As child-free individuals, we earn money that is not spent on young dependents. We have free time not allotted to caring for children, and this is the number one time of the year to give back to the needy. Donate presents to your local charity or the Salvation Army, pack up all your old summer clothes you don’t wear and give them to Goodwill or Value Village; and donate money to those charities standing on the corner on the street. You know you see them! We have enough and part of enjoying the holidays is knowing other people are having the opportunity to enjoy them too. Another way to donate is to buy some canned goods and take it to your local grocery store. Most of them have a food bank program that ensures the needy and vulnerable aren’t without this holiday season.
*Photos are compiled from Google. 

In The End

I am only 23 years old, naive and cheery. I don’t usually spend much time pondering death, other than when I’m hungover and clinging onto the side of the toilet. I have a grandmother who lives near me. When I visit her, she always makes sure I fill up on her delicious home-cooked West Indian food and take home cakes and macaroni pie with me. My grandmother was the woman who raised me since infancy while my mother was out working to support three children by herself. She fondly recalls my first wobbly steps, my love of spaghetti as a six year old and my kind nature. In my eyes, my grandmother has always looked the same throughout the years. Even now, she hasn’t seem to have aged much since I was six. But I know, as it takes her just a little longer to walk down the stairs or get out of the car, that she won’t be alive forever.

My sister and I are both child-free. I boldly asked her on her recent 27th birthday if she is going to have a baby with her partner and she said, incredulously “No, are you insane?!”. While my childfreedom allows me to work and enjoy time with my friends; my sister has a better job that allows her to travel, buy nice toys like her motorcycle and white car and that snazzy loft. She hosts amazing parties with hip DJs and all her Facebook photos have long lines of comments because she’s known for her lavish lifestyle, expensive style and her great parties. She’s pretty much where I want to be in 5 years (or now…).

My grandmother never expected me to have children. She said she spent her whole life taking care of children, well into her retirement, and that she would’ve liked to have seen the world. I know my grandmother loves being surrounding by loved ones. I love my grandmother deeply. She is patient, kind, funny, witty and wise. Sometimes I feel guilty I didn’t endow her with grandchildren for her to dote on in her last dying years. But it wouldn’t make sense to do something so permanent just for the short-term enjoyment of someone else. So now, when I visit my grandmother, instead of her teaching me how to change a diaper or warm infant formula, we sit on the couch and sip whiskey–reminiscing about the “old days”. I hear stories of what it is like growing up on our small island, with no electricity and no airport. I listen to what it is like to come to a cold, foreign country for the first time. I enjoy these moments with my grandmother. There won’t be any more little feet for her to take care of, but she will always have my love.

Those Other Children

Right now, as you are reading this, you are probably wearing comfortable sweatpants and sitting in your leather office chair with a nice cup of coffee in your warm home. Like me, you are mainly sheltered from the horrors of daily life in third world countries unless you immigrated there, do missionary work or have family there. We hear some general things on the news–maybe a segment on CNN about the poverty epidemic occasionally. Whenever disaster hits, like the 2010 Haiti earthquake or the 1993 genocide in Rwanda; the public heartstrings are tugged at visual images of poor children and families living in unimaginable conditions and going through unspeakable calamities.

       According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death             – GLOBALISSUES.ORG

It seems almost shameful to be producing children in our comfortable, first world countries with our large homes, nice cars and abundant food while thousands of children die every day. Of course, we have to reproduce ourselves to keep the planet running and continue civilization but it is very disturbing to have whole countries of wealthy families with well-nourished, well-educated children while third world children are begging on the streets, orphaned, in jail, addicted to drugs or abused by the social system of their respective country. We see World Vision commercials on television asking us in solemn voices to spare some money for these kids who are living in extreme deprivation. But throwing money at the problem won’t make it better. The decaying social system of these countries need a complete overhaul. These people are living in constant fear and with deep insecurities. In many of these third world countries, political instability and extreme inequality needs to end. These children need basic public services such as food, clothing, education and health services as well as drug rehab and psychiatric help for the traumatizing events that likely occurred in their lives: the witnessing or involvement in bombings, shootings, murder, prostitution, drug overdosing and loss of family members.

I’m not a saint. I don’t think many of us are. We just wake up, go to work and try to make a living. But sometimes, we need to do more as first world citizens who have been fortunate to have been born into the family we have. Yes, American and Canadian children are so lucky. We have to let these governments know we are appalled and disgusted with regards to the quality of life for children in their countries. We have to write to our own governments and raise awareness for these issues. If Dancing With The Stars takes precedence over children who feel they have no hope, then really…there is no hope. I think before we have more first world babies, we need to make sure that these thousands of children who are without hope each day have something to look forward to tomorrow. Because then what kind of world are we bringing our next generation into?

 

We are People Too

Television shows, movies and the popular media want to portray the child-free as cold, career-driven, sophisticated and sexy selfish egomaniacs. We are often unmarried and having affairs, partying and shopping 24/7 and could care less about anything other than our salary. When people read articles pertaining to the childfree lifestyle, they think “Oh, these are the inhuman creatures who don’t wanna be parents”.

 

It’s really quite erroneous.  As much as I am inexorably damant in not wanting to spend the next 18-20 years of my life being a Mommy,  it does not mean I’m a stone-cold, callous woman. There are times when I get the baby blues too! I think to myself, “Maybe baby…” but this is often fleeting and I return back to my regular life in relief. Sometimes, when I’m at the grocery store or driving down the street I’ll catch a glimpse of a family walking hand-in-hand with their stroller and my heart may flutter a little. It is difficult at times to go on Facebook and be faced with a barrage of infant photographs of my adorable baby cousins and my friends’ children. Wherever I go, I’m bombarded with strollers and babies and pregnant bellies. Sometimes I’m nonchalant and go on my way, and sometimes it affects me.

I don’t regret being childfree and I’m not “on the fence”. I don’t want kids, period. I don’t hate kids, either. But we’re not inhuman creatures who eat baby’s guts and vodka for supper every night. Heck, as enticing as partying and wearing swanky outfits sound:  I hate coming home around 3 o’clock in the morning, tipsy and feeling like shit the next day! My home is a quiet oasis, my life is stable and I have the freedom and independence that makes me content. I have one or two choice children in my life I like to spend time with, and yes I do care about them very much. I’m glad they exist! If anything ever happened to them—god forbid—I would welcome them into my home lickety-split!!

When I go on childfree forums and read blogs, I see people who are often misunderstood and typecasted because they chose not to reproduce. We are all very different and diverse, some of us don’t like kids at all…and others surround themselves with children and even have step-kids living in their home. Some of us prefer partying, and others prefer quiet retreats at the cottage up North. This is the same with any classified group. At the end of the day, we are all human. We all cry, laugh, love, get angry and make mistakes. So let’s just stop harshly judging one another and make our own lives the happiest we can.

IMAGE FROM GOOGLE

“Having It All”

This catchphrase has interested me of late;  the conviction a woman must mourn over the decision to balance worklife and domestic duties like childbearing/rearing and all the things inbetween that make us sane and hygienic like bathing, socializing with friends and remembering to call our grandmothers . It seems to me, as a 22 year old beginning to navigate the murky waters of adult life, that people want me to believe I must have a desire to have both a worklife and a sparkling home full of curly haired, cherubic tots–the white gold ring on my finger included, of course. I read about “having it all” but it doesn’t register in my brain as something I need to strive after, something I must aspire to. Instead, it sounds like a recipe for disaster, exhaustion and an eterntity of mess.

It’s so simple already. Why have it all when you can have enough? For so many other Generation Y women, we are connected by technology more than anything else and right now the media is spewing out so much idealistic drivel about domestic bliss and how vital it is for a modern woman to balance her home life and work life–and what are we doing? We are listening. We are believing that this is something all of us have to mull over because if we don’t, we may be making some colossal mistake. The media is not telling us we can be content by following our dreams, becoming leaders, and earn respect in the board room as women. They are telling us “Yes, you should work…but don’t forget changing nappies at home is more important” which is a confusing message. What does this message say about our self-worth and our reliance on men and government assistance favouring mothers?

I urge women, who are thinking that they need to have it all, to ask themselves if they even want it all. Everyone says they’d love to be a famous movie star or singer but heavy is the head that wears the crown. So many famous stars were troubled and many died so young; for instance: Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols), Jim Morrison…the list goes on, unfortunately and heart-breakingly. If being rich and famous was so amazing then why did world-class boxer Joe Louis die poor–and why is Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise divorcing?

I would equate this with the concept of “having it all”. It’s probably not going to be as great as it sounds. I’m sure a long day at the office, picking up the kids from school, driving them to soccer and making a healthy dinner is the last thing on my To Do list when I get older (or even now)! Having it all to me means having everything I ever dreamt of. The loft, friends who stop by unnannounced, sunrises with good tea and dogs by my side, trips abroad and learning how to paint properly. The idea women only want a well-off husband  or same-sex partner so they can stay at home needs to burn! It’s not what we want. It’s just what the media is telling everyone, drowning out the voices of women who veer off the path of domestic bliss mixed with a tiny dose of professional work life. We are strong. We are able. We are more than competent to handle the workforce, to succeed, to lead. When women realize this, they can truly have all they really need.

Cultural Traditions and Procreation

I’m not the first one to discover that the love of pregnancies and children is near boundless in the workplace. Women can look forward to leisurely pregnancies and early childcare due to generous maternity leave benefits, while men are also allowed time off work during this time period. Having one or two new births in the workplace is normal, as people who work full-time are able to support their family so choose it as a time to add a new addition.

I’m all gung-ho when someone announces a pregnancy or birth. If it makes the person happy, well so be it. A card of congratulations, a pat on the back and I’m back to my regular work. But at work in the last 2 weeks, two colleagues I’m close with announced a birth, and a pregnancy respectively and got me thinking. These are fun-loving, crazily hilarious, freedom-loving guys who are both 30. One is from India (Manny*) and the other from China (Lee). With the arrival of Manny’s son, he cut his awesome long black hair and his goatee and came to work looking completely different. Then, he left work and went to a new second job to support his new family. I have not said more than “Hi” or “Bye” to him in two weeks, though I’m curious to how he’s holding up.

I wonder if the pressure to marry and have kids at age 30 is something Lee and Manny really wanted for themselves or if it was forced upon them by familial and cultural traditions that is deeply rooted in their identities and spans back thousands of years. When asking Lee how he felt about having kids, his anwers lack enthusiasm. It sounds like he doesn’t have much choice. And it got me to thinking about how much culture and family traditions affect a person’s choice to procreate. Manny loved his job as sous chef, and I suspect he’s none too happy about driving across town to a second job until 10:00pm at night.

I found in an article online that read “Marriage in Hinduism is not just a mutual contract between two individuals or a relationship of convenience but a social contract and moral expediency, in which the couple agree to live together and share their lives, doing their respective duties to keep the divine order and the institution of family intact. In traditional Hinduism, some common obligations include 1) participate in the creation of progeny 2) work for the welfare of the family 3)Respect the Hindu dharma and family traditions by performing the obligatory duties, various samskars and rituals.”

While we enjoy the freedom to make the choice of being childfree without family alienation and extreme cultural stigma, people from other cultures do not and it helps to be sensitive to the fact. While we are starting our own traditions different from our foremothers; others are choosing to honour older ones. And as there is countless reasons not to reproduce, there are also many reasons that compel others  to do so. Whether for religious or cultural duties, some people may honour this above personal opinion and choice.

Father’s Day

 Every man in the world knows that Father’s Day is complete bullshit. That’s why none of us bat an eye when it comes around. Men don’t like to waste their time getting bent out of shape because of a bunch of nonsense.

We men also know that if you want to do something nice for a man, you just do it. You don’t make a big fucking deal out of it. You don’t act like you deserve a prize for stopping off at Best Buy on the way home from getting your hair done and spending more of that very same man’s money on a gift certificate.

I may be a cynic when it comes to Fathers’ Day because it seems like such a snobby holiday. It seems like such a dumbass thing to celebrate when one third of children live without their fathers in the United States. How do kids that have suffered from turbulent divorces and child support wars feel about this holiday? Or men who have been duped into fatherhood by women who cheated on their birth control? Lots of shotgun weddings there, I’m sure. I think Father’s Day sucks.

There are proud fathers out there. Good men who enjoy fatherhood and are good to their children. And then there are those douches who beat their wives, come home drunk and still get the meritous medal of being called a father. It seems the title “Father” is a blanket that wrongs all sins. Being a father means you are stable, you take care of your woman and your young; basically you’re an all-around good guy. Well, let’s raise a glass to the dads in the world who deserve the credit. And a Molotov cocktail for those men who don’t.

Childfree Men: Misunderstood and often Maligned by: Ellen Walker

Childfree Men: Misunderstood and Often Maligned!

Childfree men are viewed as immature playboys!
Published on March 8, 2012 by Ellen Walker, Ph.D. in Complete Without Kids

Childfree men fly under the radar screen more often than their female counterparts. In our culture, the role of father is not deemed essential in the life of a man. For women, on the other hand, many consider being a mother to be a chief purpose in life. Some people go so far as to propose that this is a woman’s main reason for existing. But men who do not become dads are still viewed with suspicion, and they often get a bad rap! They are often thought to be immature little boys who never grew up and whose primary goal in life is to play.

This stereotype of the little boy in a man’s body is even placed onto Hollywood actors. Take George Clooney, for example; he’s labeled as a playboy and perceived by many as immature and self-focused. The reality about George is that he is extremely hardworking and accomplished in his field, and he has ongoing involvements in philanthropic pursuits around the world. Just one is the ONE Campaign, dedicated to fighting poverty in Africa. Hugh Grant is similarly perceived and is also quite outspoken and involved in activities that help others. Neither of these men have had the distractions of a family to interfere with their career or civic goals. 

Men in Hollywood who are dads are portrayed as somehow stronger and more mature. Take Brad Pitt, for example. In the recent Academy Awards, there was talk of his role as a father of six. Funny how few other celebrities’ private lives were brought up that evening?

False perceptions persist!

Employers often prefer men who are dads, as they are viewed as more reliable and responsible employees than are guys who have no one to consider but themselves. This is especially true for bachelors. If a man is married and has no children, the boss may anticipate that a little one is on the way. If a baby does not enter the scene, it must be because of infertility, because once a man marries and settles down, isn’t the next step to start a family? It’s hard for many people to imagine that a couple simply would prefer to be on their own, unencumbered by children and the responsibilities that come with parenting.

So, who are childfree men anyway?

The reality is that men who don’t have kids are as varied as their female counterparts. Some have simply never met the right partner with whom to create a family, and their ambivalence about this is such that they’re not going to go out to actively seek it. They are the classic childfree by happenstance. Others are truly childfree by choice. They have made a conscious decision to not have kids, either due to lifestyle or to life values. If they are in a relationship, it’s with someone who shares their view and also has chosen a life without kids. And then there are the childfree by circumstance guys. They would have loved to have become fathers, but they simply couldn’t make it happen. Perhaps their partners were infertile, or perhaps they never married due to shyness or other barrier to meeting a mate. They look at their peers who are fathers with envy, wishing that they could have too had this role in life. These men likely feel a grief similar to that experienced by women who were unable to become mothers despite their yearning to do so.

What’s the future for childfree living?

I see a rapid change in our society that will hopefully spread across the world in time. Many of the young people I speak to today are seriously contemplating whether or not they want to have kids and they truly view this as an option. Being childfree has become a more acceptable option. With the potential advent of no-cost contraception available to everyone, there will be fewer unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. More and more folks entering the grandparenting years are finding themselves without grandkids and yet, because they aren’t alone, it’s not so bad.

Who knows, maybe in twenty years, no one will bat an eye if a man doesn’t have kids. He won’t be viewed as an immature playboy who never grew up. He may even be perceived as someone who is more able to fully focus on goals and aspirations, because he is not distracted by the responsibilities of parenting. 

 

Navigating a Child-free Life in a Family Geared World

The other day I took a subway ride down to my sister’s trendy loft in an area that is undergoing gentrification. It was as if I stepped into a totally different universe than the one I was accustomed to, living uptown. Instead of new mothers in Lululemon pushing pricy strollers in momterages; there were sharply dressed gay couples, handsome bachelors getting off work and loads of young, ambitious and talkative men and women coming and going to their various destinations. Wait, people like me. Some had dogs, some had Chinese takeout, others carried guitars. Some wore Toms, a few  wore Christian Louboutin. It was as if a different energy had begun to generate and everyone emulated a very sense of freedom and independence with their lives. It was as if you could strike up a conversation with any random individual, and hear something very interesting.

For those of us who live in a very family oriented area, it is wonderful to be in areas where kids’ birthday parties aren’t the most exciting event. So how do we navigate where to go and what to do without finding scores of places designed for families? I kinda put something together!

-Go to events not geared towards kids. For instance, dog lovers can enjoy two days of great fun with Woof Stock ; beer lovers can sip and cruise the street with Toronto Festival of Beer; there is the Green Living Show for environmentalists; various local and alternative bands and music gatherings as well as specific child-free events in major cities.

Additionally , Toronto has a social club for childfree people called “No Kidding”. http://www.nokidding.net/

-Go to areas frequented by young professionals and couples. When looking for a road trip last summer, I by-passed family-friendly Sandbanks Provincial Park beaches for a more adult beach a few hours away. I delighted in smaller doses of children there while luxuriating in some R&R.

Certain neighbourhoods like Liberty Village, King Street and St Lawrence Market are less family oriented than Leslieville, the Danforth and Forest Hill in Toronto. Being aware of what neighbourhood caters to which demographic in your city can help you spend more time in a vibrant, young area. 

-Get involved in adult activities. No, I don’t mean THOSE adult activities. Naughty, naughty. Sign up for a summer soccer team, or go to a park that offers adult beach volleyball (Ashbridge’s Bay).

You can try learning the tango on Sundays or volunteering with organizations that need people who are 18+ like at the Cavalcade of Lights event or Nuite Blanche (an all night art festival).

You get to socialize with other adults whose life focuses are on things other than kids, which is always refreshing! It is also a good idea for parents who are trying to get some individual time.

-Participate in at least one hobby at week. This means if you are learning surfing, you will be around people who are passionate about beaches, water and sports. If your hobby is photography, you can talk equipment and travel and all sorts of random stuff with fellow photographers at some cool destinations in and around your city like the CN Tower or the Scarborough Bluffs.

Make it a part of your routine to stop by your favourite bookstore and browse the sale section, or to call up a friend or relative and do something different like the Zombie Walk or even a protest for a pressing issue in your city.

The Mommy Club

As I peruse my Facebook in my pajamas at home, I notice my cousin “Emma” in England with that cute-as-a-button baby she just had post pictures of herself with friends. My local other cousin, “Lorraine” has ‘liked’ her photos and posted comments regarding motherhood and how it’s nice mothers got out once in a while. I raise a cynical eyebrow and my mind goes to all the pictures I’ve posted…none have garnered so much as one word from Lorraine.

Before she had her second baby and moved to the suburbs from Toronto, she commented often on my FaceBook page and sent frequent text messages–interested in how my family is doing and how life was going. Going over to her place and having wine, I remember conversations about traveling, our grandaunt that passed away and college/university. Her now-husband had been a funny, charming guy and I was so happy for them and their plans to marry. Once Lorraine swapped her BMW for a minivan, her job for full-time SAHM and her stunning townhouse for suburban detached home…she changed. Her life is 100% completely about her children and family-life, and her Facebook dominated with Twitter posts and photos pertaining to motherhood and kids. Even though I occasionally leave comments on her wall, they are never responded too.

I can only assume it would be different if I had a child. The ostracizing that I am receiving, even if she may not even be consciously aware, is because I am a non-mother. Yes, I occasionally post things about being Child-Free on Facebook, but I make sure it is witty and innocent. I leave the very opinionated stuff for private groups. It seems ridiculous to eschew your own cousins just because they haven’t reproduced. I know we share so many things in common–we went to the same school, we love traveling, we love cooking; heck… we’re first cousins, we’re blood. I even actually like her kids. They’re cute as hell. Her son looks like my brother when he was a kid.

I know it’s one of those “you have to be a mom to understand” kinda things but unless you’re begrudging at non-mothered women or want our lifestyle, than there is no reason to avoid people you used to be close to. I could never imagine myself ignoring friends and family who were living their lives without kids, if I was a mother. But I’m not. I could always discuss other things…because there ARE other things to discuss. But if becoming a modern day mama means that I can’t relate to other people…I’m certainly having no regrets.

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