Tuesday, September 10, 2013

‘Otherhood’ and Fifty Ways to Be Childless

Today’s post is a trio of goodies for you:

1. Jody Day at Gateway-Women.com has compiled a wonderful list called “50 Ways Not to Be a Mother—with Apologies to Paul Simon." It’s amazing how many different ways a person can wind up not having children, a lot of them through absolutely no fault or choice of their own. Me, I seem to fit numbers 9 and 39. Check out the list and see what number fits your situation.

2. Some of those 50 ways deal with not having a suitable partner, which leads me to my second link. Melanie Notkin, author of Savvy Auntie and the accompanying blog, has written a new book called Otherhood: The Unrequited Love Story of Modern Women, which talks about how many of us never find the right partner. As a result, we don’t become parents. It’s due out in February, but you can pre-order it now. Melanie has also written about this at her Huffington Post blog. Read "The Truth About the Childless Life" there.   

3. Marcia Drut-Davis, author of a new book titled Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream, has a blog called Childfree Reflections, which may offer some comfort to you. The site includes a free resource list, but I must warn you that you have to sign up for the newsletter to get it, and nearly all of the resources are for people who are childfree by choice.

Oh what the heck, I’ll plug my own site. I’ve got a ridiculously long resource list on my Childless by Marriage website, which you can access with no strings. If you’d like to buy my book, I’d be delighted, but the list is my gift to you.

Have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Are Your Pets Your Fur Babies?

Fur babies. A lot of childless women are tossing this term around these days. For some reason, it makes me cringe. God knows I love my dog, but is she my baby? I sure feel like it when I’m taking her to the vet or standing on the deck at dawn saying “Go potty. Come on, please go potty.” I am responsible for the care and feeding of this creature. But I’m not her mother. Her mother was a Staffordshire bull terrier. I’m quite aware that at 5 ½, Annie is a mature dog who will soon pass me in the life cycle, get old and ultimately die while I’m still hoping for many more years of life.

My dog is my dog, my companion, my responsibility, but not my child.

I see a lot of people treating their animals as their children. An article called “Fur Babies—An Alternative to Having Kids?” on The ‘How-To’ Dog Blog addresses this fur baby situation quite well. Writer Amanda Huggett Hofland admits that she and her husband might be using their two cats and dog as practice children while they decide whether or not they want to have human children. She talks about people who throw parties for their pets, dress them up in little clothes, tell them stories, and call themselves “mom and dad.” Although it seems crazy, she finds herself doing these things, too. But are pets a valid alternative to having children?

The blog post quotes experts who raise some interesting questions about the pet-human relationship as a substitute for having babies. Ultimately it’s not the same, they conclude, although there are many benefits to be had from owning pets.

I agree. I don’t know what I’d do without Annie. But I also know that I can shut the door and go about my life without her whenever I choose, something I couldn’t do with an actual baby. I also know that right now we’re both covered with flea bites, thanks to her thick fur. Dogs are great, but dogs are not kids.

Somehow in my mind, the folks who dress dogs and cats in baby clothes are doing exactly what we did as children; they're playing with dolls. Except these dolls are living breathing animals. What do you think? Do you treat your pets as substitute children? Is it crazy or a good way to fill the void?

BTW, the ‘How-To’ Dog Blog offers lots of good advice about dog care. Check it out.