February 28, 2007

Many Changes Ahead

As you know I consider myself a “fence sitter” although at this point in my life having children of my own is a definite no. In fact, if you’d asked me 5 years ago I would have said not only did I not want children but that I had no interest in dating a man with children.

Skip to 5 years later and I’ve met the man of my dreams but he comes with a daughter. Over the years we build a life together, buy a house and just recently get engaged. A week after getting engaged it dawns on me “even if I never have a relationship with his daughter I will be a stepmother” and I find it a little strange how hard this hits me.

Given I’ve been with him for 4 years and been along for the many court dates involving his daughter you’d think I was very aware that this would be a part of my future. It’s amazing how something so obvious doesn’t quite become reality until that reality is in plain view.

I have to accept the fact that his daughter may become a part of our lives and in many ways I will be a mother. If she’s out with us I will have to have her best interest at heart and if she’s at our house I will have to make decisions. I find it very strange I could be in the position of a parent while still being childfree.

While the concept scares me a little it is something I’ve put a lot of thought into over the years and my fiancé and I have discussed at length. It’s all about dealing with the challenges that face you and doing the best you can in that moment. I think if you are with the right person you can get through anything and I believe we will.

[Photo originally uploaded to Flickr on September 29, 2004 by slimejack.]

February 27, 2007

Choosing Purple

Blogger aka JeSais in San Diego, California asks "Did I Choose Purple or Did Purple Choose Me?"

Purple WomenTM can you relate? Our Proud to be Purple holiday is this Sunday, March 4th. If you have a blog or participate in one, please reflect on this question and put up a post with a link back to this blog on March 4th.

Tell a childfree friend about us!

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A Story

Paranoia is not becoming of anyone, regardless of age, race, or parental status. It is not a trait I usually exhibit.

All of last week, I was on vacation with my husband and apparently, I needed the break even from this blog. We had not touched our golf clubs since we left Canada in the fall, so we decided to worm our way down California's lovely coast, through Carmel and on to play our first round of the year at the Avila Beach Golf Resort. I just love being close enough to the ocean to smell it and hear it. The weather had cleared up just enough for us to use the golf package we had signed up for.

Now, being the polite Purple Woman that I am, I invited the couple of obvious Asian descent to play up with us. It seemed the 'warm-friendly" American thing to do. We were following two foursomes anyway, and one of the things I like about golf is that you get to jaw-jack with perfect strangers. Only on a rare occasion do I wish they had remained so -- so I waved them forward to join us for the round.

We exchanged names, Kio and Nameko (I think. I always write the names of the persons playing with us on our card, but my beloved has tossed it already!) Heavy accents. Their names were not familiar to me so I purposefully did not ask where they were from or try to guess their nationality. I am half-Asian myself and know better. No one has ever been able to guess what I am by looking at me, and I know for a fact that I do not know a Korean from a Japanese and have made the embarrassing mistake of thinking that I did. Never again, I promised myself.

I guess this is not typical American behavior. I fancy myself as rather atypical on more than one account. I'm a married, childfree adult after all. By the fifth hole, the husband had warmed up to me enough to volunteer that they were from Osaka, Japan.

"Wow!" I exclaimed. "That's very far."

He seemed pleased that I was duly impressed by this revelation. Then he got bolder, and on the next hole he asked "Are you a mader?"

I thought he asked if I was a mother. I was incredulous and in the flash of a split second, I was just ticked enough to say, "No. Is that okay?" My tone was perhaps slightly sarcastic -- and goodness knows what expression I had on my face.

He was immediately disturbed by my reaction. I had misunderstood him. He blamed his bad accent and said he noticed how tall I was and how I moved...He thought I was a model. I should have known that Japanese have a little trouble when if comes to the "l" sound in the English language. Laurel is perhaps the most difficult word for my Japanese friend to pronounce. The "l"s come out sounding just like the "r"s. Teri comes out "Teli" half the time.

I confessed to him that I was neither, and the miscommunication ended in a laugh, but I felt like a heel because the poor guy was just trying to pay me a compliment and I thought he was examining my non-parental status!

Once we got past that, his wife asked me how long I had been playing golf, which was even worse, because the answer is twelve years, and you cannot tell by observing my game.

[Photo Originally uploaded to Flickr on February 4, 2007 by kmevans.]

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February 21, 2007

A Woman's Worth

I was reviewing some of my research for the Childless by Choice book when I came across an article posted on the BBC News site in 2004 that asked: Is a woman worth more than the children she bears?

It’s fascinating reading and, as the link is still active, I decided to share this with the Purple Women & Friends™ readers.

This is an excerpt of the story BBC News readers and viewers were invited to comment on:

In Somalia, a hospital in the capital Mogadishu was forced to shut for five weeks following threats to a doctor who removed a woman's womb. Dr Bashir Sheikh said the operation had saved Mrs Fatuma Abdulle's life because she was carrying a dead foetus. Fatuma's family sent gunmen to the SOS hospital, saying she was as good as dead, without a womb.
Never mind that it was her husband who had urged the doctor to do what he could to save her life. And the doctor did save her life. However, this woman’s family cared not. They wanted compensation—50 camels, in fact, the traditional compensation for "a dead woman."

Not surprisingly, this story generated plenty of comments. In my opinion the most eloquent comment came from Tvtandia Cameroon from South Korea:
It's essentially an offensive and dehumanising thought to measure the worth of a woman by the children she bears. Let's also ask if children are worth more than the mother who bears them or better still, if they are more human. Anyone who tries to judge a woman's worth only from her child bearing clearly ridicules and challenges the whole purpose of human life.
Thank you, Tvtandia Cameroon, I couldn’t have expressed it better.

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Reproduction Choice and How to Defend It

Do we, the childfree, represent a movement or do we merely exist in growing numbers that are getting harder to ignore?
Thus far, I would say we fall short on both descriptions, but that may be about to change. The proof will be in our collective actions and the issues we rally around. The launch of the ezine Unscripted: A Childfree Life and childfree blogs such as the Childfree Issues are recent developments that may bring us together.

Reproductive rights are core issues for people who are childfree by choice. Men and women are affected equally. It is not a women’s health issue, it is a public health issue and it affects us all, your daughter, your niece, your aunt, your sister, your girlfriend, and your wife – and yes, you.

What’s at stake?

• Access to birth control for all who want it

• Right to abort an unwanted pregnancy

These are important topics to discuss in the childfree realm because, let’s face it, there would not be so many of us if not for the miracles of birth control and yes, control over our pregnancies. To learn more about these issues you can visit the website of The Center for Reproductive Rights, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization defending these rights on all fronts at home and abroad.

Title X was created by Congress in 1970 to provided safe, confidential access to contraception, non-biased reproductive education and care. It provides this care to 4.5 millions low-income individuals annually. The Bush Administration has not ensured enough funding for Title X to maintain current levels of reproductive care for millions who are below the poverty level.

A roll back on reproductive choice is happening in the United States. Evidence is the recent presidential appointment of Eric Keroack, a known proponent of natural contraception, now in charge of the Family Planning Division of the Dept. of Health and Human Services. We see further evidence of in measures being placed on state ballots.

What Can You Do?

Exercise your power as a member of the childfree community and vote when given the opportunity. In California, Proposition 85, which would have amended the state constitution to require women under 18 to notify their parents before they could access abortion services appeared on the November 2006 ballot and was narrowly defeated. This was the second time Californians have protected the privacy of minor women, but no doubt a similar proposal will appear again in the future.

Childfree men and women should identify themselves as a member of the childfree community when writing letters to their leaders. In the New Year, let’s stand up and be counted. We need to protect the right to have control over our reproduction and the right to safe, healthy contraception options and not least importantly, safe, legal abortions. The latter two go hand in hand. Access to proper contraceptive methods reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

The access to contraception and reproductive choice is being challenged at all levels of government and in many arenas, including high schools and college campuses. In the U.S. it varies from state to state as we follow the tenet of self-determination. It should also be applied to individuals, regardless of their age.

What messages are your leaders sending you? Could the message be:
All women should be pregnant, and all women and their partners should be happy about it.
This is just not reality folks. I hope they don’t expect us to be barefoot, too.

[Blog Administrator's Note: This opinion piece was first published in the ezine Unscripted: A Childfree Life, January 2007 issue under a different title: Reproductive Choice or No Choice.]

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February 19, 2007

The Magic of Purple

Guest Contributor,
Kate Smith

Color Expert featured on CBS Morning

Sensational Color
Color: Meaning, Symbolism & Psychology

Color is magical and each color speaks with its own voice. In the same way you have your own personality, each color has its own traits that over time have come to be almost universally recognized. Whether or not you consciously recognize these time-tested characteristics of purple, these qualities make it a good choice to represent women that have chosen a childfree lifestyle.

Since ancient times, purple has been set apart from the other colors of the rainbow. Long available only to kings and aristocrats, this expensive and rare color was coveted and held an allure and mystery that has remained with the hue long after it became available to the masses.

Purple is the color of power and passion; it is a color that evokes valor, self-assurance, imagination and spiritualism. It is the color of people that march to the beat of their own drummer. Is that you Purple WomenTM?

Are you an imaginative, intuitive free spirit who enjoys dreaming of all that is possible in life? Do mundane tasks and keeping schedules bore you? Do you feel bogged down if the humdrum details of life take up too much time? Then you are truly a Purple Woman. Is it any wonder that you didn't find joy in the prospect of juggling career, friends, day care, and neighborhood carpools?

Are you a keen observer of life who can grasp the intangible? If so, then you truly are a purple person who doesn't necessarily have to "see it to believe it." So while you have chosen a life without children, this special quality allows you to respect the decision of others and appreciate the bond between mother and child without having to experience it.

Just as the color purple is the balance of red and blue, you are at your best when you find a balance between your desire for excitement and your need for tranquility in life. When you don't achieve that balance, you may feel especially sensitive or moody. Perhaps you intuitively knew how difficult it would be to balance your needs and that of a child and thus made a choice that honors your spirit.

Purple WomenTM, you set yourself apart from others and consider yourself unique…and you truly are! Acknowledge your uniqueness; love the life you have chosen and embrace your decision to be childfree with the magical passion and power that is purple and purple alone.

About Kate: Kate Smith is a professional color expert, trend forecaster, engaging speaker and founder of Sensational Color (http://www.sensationalcolor.com). Kate works with both corporations and individual clients on using color to create interest in and elicit a favorable response to their products, their brands, their homes or themselves.

[Photo: Originally uploaded on January 14, 2007 by BennyPix.]
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February 16, 2007

A Tribute to the Men Who Love Purple Women

Before the Valentine flowers wilt, the chocolates are devoured, and the cards are recycled, I would like to pay tribute to the Men Who Love Purple Women™.

Why? Because they love us for who we are. Now.

If you love a Purple Woman, there is...

...No promise of future children,

No guarantees that we’ll endure your bad habits because we have to, because the kids need a father,

No biological or instinctual compulsion to cleave to you,

No need to stick around.

But we do, and you do, because it works for us. Because there is the promise of love and companionship, someone who will love you even though you’re unconventional, and you don’t care what people think. Someone who has your back when you’re challenged. Someone who said "I do" or took a chance even if he had been told he’d regret it, or that he had committed himself to someone who was "selfish".

At the risk of making generalizations I may later regret, I will admit that Purple Women™ can sometimes be prickly, strong-willed, or aloof . We don’t generally adhere to the established gender roles. We may not know how to use an iron or bake cakes. We like our freedom. Some of us like our solitude. We don’t always appear to need you.

But we do. And, more importantly, we want and love you. For you.

[Photo: Originally uploaded to Flickr on February 3, 2007 by shirley77]

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February 15, 2007

Purple Holiday

Just a reminder, that March 4th is Proud to be Purple Day, in conjunction with The Ultimate Blog Party event (March 2-9) being hosted by the gals over at "Five-Minutes for Mom". The Mom part would not refer to us, but they made their party inclusive and I felt that Purple WomenTM should be invited!

Have you a digital camera and a penchant for taking photos? If you see something purple snap it and send it over. We are holding a Purple Photo Contest to celebrate our holiday. Details can be found in the sidebar. Deadline for entries is February 25.

Don't forget to wear something purple on March 4th, and if you have a Purple Woman! button, don that too! Want to know how to get one? Read David's recent book review...

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February 14, 2007

Childfree Men

Book Review by Guest Contributor, David Graham
Aspiring Author & Childfree Man

The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men
by Patricia Lunneborg


A key aim of any competent book review is to give the reader some idea of how the book stacks up against its competition. In the case of my subject, The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men by Patricia Lunneborg, my task is finished before it starts because, quite simply, this book has no competition.
It is, as the jacket flap says, “the first book to explore the motives and consequences of voluntary childlessness from a man’s perspective.” I hope to change this state of affairs by writing my own book to help men decide whether to have children, but that is another subject, and here ends my gratuitous self-plug.

Before I get to the content of the book, a word about Lunneborg’s method is in order. Although she does not say so outright, her study relies on what sociologists call a “qualitative,” as opposed to “quantitative,” method. The exact ten-dollar term is “the phenomenological method,” which may help explain why she elected not to burden her readers with it.

Or, translated from academic jargon into plain English: “

"We sat a bunch of people down, asked them questions about an experience they had, and wrote down everything they said."
Lunneborg admits that this approach makes her study more “exploratory” than “scientific.” It is true that, without sampling thousands of men, we can’t know what percentage of the general population made this or that decision, for this or that reason, within x % margin of error. Nevertheless, in some ways her choice of method was better than a statistical survey. This is because human nature is to a large extent universal; we all have, at bottom, very similar needs and motives; and in the end there are only so many reasons that any reasonably intelligent person can give for not having children. Given these facts, exact percentages and pluralities seem ho-hum compared with a close examination of every reason from every possible angle. This method achieves depth where the statistical method achieves breadth.

Another good thing about qualitative methods is that you enjoy a certain amount of wiggle room in choosing your sample. Lunneborg used a “sample of convenience” consisting of thirty childfree men from the United States and the United Kingdom. Some were “recommended by friends of friends,” while most replied to ads placed through three childfree organizations. Some readers might wonder why the men were overwhelmingly well-educated and from the professions, and indeed it would have been refreshing to hear from more blue-collar men. But this is not surprising because, statistically, the voluntarily childfree tend to be more highly educated than average.

For what it’s worth, the sample does include a retired mechanic and an airplane painter. And while most of the other men have jobs requiring at least a college education, a few of those jobs probably have blue-collar paychecks attached—for example, a high school geology teacher, mainframe computer operator, elementary school librarian, rural library clerk, and “dulcimer player” (although, who knows, maybe dulcimer playing is more lucrative than I’m assuming).

Before meeting the men, Lunneborg mailed them a “Reasons Exercise” to fill out and return. It listed several reasons men might give for not having children. The men were asked to check each reason that applied to them. Later on, the Exercise allowed Lunneborg to follow up on the men’s specific concerns when she met each one for a taped, one-hour, anonymous interview. The interviews also gave each man a chance to bring up any motives or concerns not covered in the Reasons Exercise.

These interviews make up the bulk of the book, in the form of lengthy excerpts sandwiched between Lunneborg’s summaries and commentary. Some common themes emerged from the interviews, enabling her to divide the book into chapters based on the most common reasons and concerns that came up. Chapter titles include:
  1. Personal Development
  2. Relationships
  3. Not Liking Kids
  4. Early Retirement
  5. Avoiding Stress
  6. Staying the Way We Are (fear that a child might wreck an already perfect relationship)
  7. Men and Overpopulation
  8. Work and Money
  9. Mixed Feelings (daydreams about progeny that might have been)
  10. The Fatherhood Connection (relationships with their own fathers)
The very richness of these categories is enough to crack the childfree-male stereotype found in TV, movies, and popular literature. To the extent that the media bother to portray a childfree man at all—not counting the token “gay pal” in chick flicks—he is usually well-meaning, but emotionally clueless. Often the leading man’s lonely friend or brother, he somehow managed to hit the age of fifty without finding The Right Woman to have his child. And so at night while his friends read bedtime stories to dozing toddlers, he carries on a beery debate in some sports bar. At the other extreme, exemplified by Hugh Grant’s character in the film About a Boy, he is a shallow womanizer whose rejection of fatherhood is deliberate and part of an overall refusal to “grow up”.

In contrast to these stereotypes, Lunneborg’s profiles reveal men who are thoughtful and complex: They have taken great pains to question “family values” that most people take for granted, and they have taken even greater pains to know themselves. Many have rejected fatherhood not to safeguard a life of hedonism, but in deference to a hard-headed, at times exaggerated, notion of what it takes to raise a child. Some had cats or dogs on whom they spent a great deal of time and worry and love; this experience convinced them that caring for a child would be even more onerous. As a childfree man who is very attached to his three cats (one of whom very nearly runs the household), I took a special interest in the remarks of Roger, a 55-year-old Sales Manager living in Washington state:
"My view of being a father is having the responsibility of providing home, hearth, encouragement, love, support, teaching, training, etc., from the moment of birth until the moment the child leaves on his own. It’s an overwhelming task…. Three years ago we rescued a cat that was run over by a car.

I don’t know how people who have really sick or injured children manage it. But I know how I felt about this stupid cat. His jaw was broken, and I remember worrying, “Has the cat suffered? How’s he gonna eat?”…I assume you have deeper feelings of affection for a child than for a cat.

I’ve always figured children would complicate your life terribly. That cat has complicated our life. We rescued him and now it’s our responsibility to take care of him."
Lunneborg, incidentally, brings a much-needed dose of horse sense (no pun intended) to the whole issue of whether animals serve as surrogate children for childfree people:

It’s hard not to notice the role that pets play in maintaining a warm, comfortable home and how many of the dogs and cats in this book were rescued. Jean Veevers (1980) claims it is a myth that childless people’s pets serve as surrogate children. I think that in some cases here, they were surrogate children, but isn’t it the same in the homes of parents who have pets? Don’t some of them treat their pets as if they were children, and some of them not?

There is no question, then, that these men took to heart the full weight of childrearing in deciding to stay childfree. But if you think this means they had any doubts about their parenting skills or the way their child would have turned out if they had chosen to take a crack at parenting, think again.

To Lunneborg’s (and my) surprise, only one of the 30 men listed “possible disappointment” as his chief reason for not having children. (Lunneborg initially had called this reason “failure” but wisely replaced that loaded term with the euphemism “disappointment.”) And 11 men, over one third, said that not only did possible disappointment have nothing to do with their decision, but the very thought of a procreative blunder never crossed their minds. To them, raising a child was just another project whose success depends on hard work and know-how, like getting a promotion or building a deck in your backyard. A good example is Gordon, a 32-year-old programmer for Microsoft:
"I have no doubts about how good a father I’d be. I’d be successful…I would have paid as much attention to childrearing as I could have and done the best I could. For example, all children go through a rebellious phase where they want to be separated from their family. That’s going to happen, and if I had a child and got to that point, I would love that time. Because I would talk with the child and give my perspective on rebellion and help the child rebel in a productive way. I would never, never live my life through my child."
Such comments are jarring. After all, it is the male who has the reputation for bringing cold realism to the childrearing discussion. Yet here are eleven smart and successful men who, in a show of almost Quixotic confidence, refuse to entertain the possibility that, despite their best efforts, they might have produced a neurotic, a dropout, a thief, a Jeffrey Dahmer. Do these guys honestly believe that no one was ever raised by loving and capable parents and still grew up to be a loser or a whacko? Lunneborg, to her credit, was not afraid to push the issue:

Sometimes I challenged the men. Why are you denying for yourself the disappointment you see around you all the time, every day, in your own family, in the families of your workmates, in your next door neighbors, in society as a whole? Most could not begin to contemplate such a possibility.

In addition to categorizing the types of reasons they gave, Lunneborg found that the men themselves fell into three types of decision maker. Two of these types will be familiar to anyone who has read the existing childfree literature dealing mostly with women: Postponers and Early Articulators. But
the third category is almost unheard of among women:
Acquiescers - a class of men that has sparked irritation and puzzlement on childfree blogs and messageboards, Acquiescers are married men who decline to voice their own opinion for or against having children.
Instead, they go along with whatever their wife wants to do. (Here again a harsher term, such as “Wishy-Washy” or “Henpecked,” yields to a euphemism, “Acquiescer.”) As 49-year-old Sven puts it, “[My wife] had a lot of doubts about kids and I am neutral. If I had married someone who really wanted kids, we would have had kids. I like children, although the older I get the less tolerant I am.”

What bugs childfree people about Sven’s attitude is this: We know damned well that he would never dream of letting his wife single-handedly decide whether to buy a Ford SUV or a Toyota Corolla, whether to rent or buy their house, or any of the other monumental decisions that come up in a marriage. Knowing this makes it hard to swallow his claim of neutrality on the question of whether to create a human being who will live with them for at least 18 years at a cost of well over $200,000. Could he be passing the buck out of his own queasy uncertainty? Is he afraid to challenge his wife on a matter that she really cares about?

As much as I hate to leave those questions hanging in the air, I will have to stop. Although I could go on citing these provocative excerpts all day — for the book is full of them — this review is already too long and Teri is probably ready to flog me as it is. So I’ll hurry up and get to the requisite discussion of the book’s flaws. There aren’t many.

The index could be more comprehensive. I found myself wishing that Lunneborg had offered some theories to explain why the Acquiescers acquiesced, or at least had asked them tougher questions. And for a 143-page non-textbook, the $69.95 price is outrageous. But if you have anything more than a passing interest in the study of childfree men, or you are a man struggling to decide whether to have children, and you can’t find a copy at your library, it’s worth biting the bullet for this book. And anyway, it’s the only book we guys have at the moment.

[Blog Administrator's note: Did you make it to the end? Bravo, you deserve something special! Send me an email with your mailing address (I will not share it with anyone) and I will mail you a Purple Woman! button - Happy Valentine's Day!]

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February 13, 2007

Sticky Business

Deciding where to settle, married or not, is not easy for anyone, parent or non-parent. Childfree adults will have a different set of criteria, naturally. We do not have to research the best elementary schools in the county, but a place to get that master's degree we've been thinking about may be noteworthy of a desirable location.

Since moving back to the States, my home state of California specifically, I have been hyper-aware of what has changed since I have been gone.

First off, I am a Purple Woman, so naturally I view my world from a different frame of reference than the majority of adults around me in the small country town we have settled in. We are not in total bumpkin-land, but we are in a decidedly remote part of the San Francisco East Bay. It can be problematic, being a childfree adult in suburban heaven where people move to raise kids. You have to find your niche. You have to think about it, create a social structure that works for you. Parents fall into one that is designated by whom their kids attend school or play sports with.

AlphaGirl posted recently about what I will call subliminal messages about what we "should be" in our environment, from doctor's offices to parking lots (think: parking for moms and moms-to-be). What I have noticed is stick figures. More than a few minivans and SUVs are emblazoned with stick figures, one for each member of the family, even the pets get an emblem.

A columnist in our local newspaper featured it at the top of her column last Friday: Spin Cycle - "the fluffing and folding of the news".

This must be related to that other annoying trend of placing a bumper sticker on your car bragging about your child who made the honor roll. What's up with that? Do teenagers actually think that's cool? Local fast food chain, Taco Bell, which makes a living targeting this youth market, makes fun of this tired trend with this slogan on their taco sauce condiments:

My Sauce is an honor student at Taco Middle School.
There has always been something about the suburbs that brings out comparisons, a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses feeling. Each small town, if you can call a city of 78,000 plus small, will have its characters. Norm Crampton, author of Making Your Move to One of America's Best Small Towns, advises that it's okay to be different -- just be consistent. I think he means that it is important to be authentic. Be yourself.

When my fiancé, now my husband of nine years, first moved me to this town and married me here, I was 30-something. How different it feels being here again at 40-something. This time it will be on my terms. This time I will do it differently. After all, I am different. Oh, and if I do want to get a master's degree, the California State University, East Bay is not so far.

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Reader Stats

StatCounter says:

Weekly Stats Report: 5 Feb - 11 Feb 2007
Project: Purple Women & Friends Blog
URL: http://purplewomenblog.blogspot.com

Unique Visitors6661525761434338355
First Time Visitors4235313842302424235
Returning Visitors2426211919131914120

This does not include those who opt to read this blog through a reader service, such as Google Reader or RSS feed. This report only reflects those who go to the site directly. The weekends are slow it seems. I hope that Purple WomenTM are not blogging from work!

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February 12, 2007

Being Needed

I’ve always been very protective of my cats, even since I was young. If they are sick, then I take care of them. If they are unhappy, then I try to cheer them up. If they are in trouble, I want to save them. I don’t know about anyone else but once I adopt a cat it becomes a part of me and I can imagine that being a parent is similar.

I adopted a cat, whom I named Keyser Soze, several years back when I was single. He became a big part of my life because he would go to bed with me at night and hang out with me when I watched tv. He was the only thing I could count on for that period of time.

When I moved back to my parents house he started sneaking outside and this made me nervous since the house was on a main street. Whenever he wouldn’t come home at night I’d go roaming the streets calling his name and not rest until I found him. I remember asking my mom if this panic feeling was what it was like to be a mother and she just gave me a big grin.

Then one day he didn’t come home and still didn’t come home. It turned out he had been hit by a car and I had to find him on the side of the road. The pain was excruciating and it took me a long time to get over that loss.

I love being needed by my cats but I also love how self-sufficient they are. We can be close one moment and the next moment doing our own thing. They don't need constant attention and I can handle the amount they depend on me. If I push them away at one moment because I am busy I don't think that would be considered cruelty.

There is something about caring about another person or a little being that depends on you. I just don’t think I can handle such a huge responsibility by having a child because I still feel I need to depend on myself so much more than I do. Maybe some of us are just never ready to be that needed by anyone.

February 11, 2007

Give Us Your First Born

CNN reported this morning that signatures are being sought for a Washington State defense of marriage initiative that would force couples who want to marry to prove that they are able to have kids together before they can get a marriage certificate. If you marry and you don’t have a child within three years, your marriage would be annulled.

At first listen it sounds like something social conservatives have dreamed up to thwart same sex marriages. WRONG.

Initiative 957 was concieved by a group calling themselves the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance which...

..."seeks to defend equal marriage in this state by challenging the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling on Andersen v. King County. This decision, given in July 2006, declared that a 'legitimate state interest' allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this 'legitimate state interest,' it is permissible to bar same-sex couples from legal marriage."
And the childfree, too.

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance is a group of concerned citizens that became alarmed when the Supreme Court ruled that the state had a "legitimate" interest in establishing that the purpose of marriage is for procreation and child-rearing.

The Alliance spokesperson and the initiative sponsor, Gregory Gadow is hoping that the initiative will pass and the Supreme Court is forced to rule that the assumption that procreation is a required element for legal marriage is unconstitutional.
They need 224,880 signatures by July 5 to get Initiave 957 on the ballot in November. As of this morning, they had 200. I envision the petition sheet.
Where else will you see social conservatives, same-sex marriage advocates and the childfree signing in support the same initiative?

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February 10, 2007


Found this post by my friend Nicole Weston, who happens to be a Purple Woman, over at one of my favorite food blogs: Slashfood.com. She writes about food oddities.

Disclaimer: I am not recommending this diet. I just thought it was hillarious and wanted to share a laugh with other Purple WomenTM!

[Photo: Originally uploaded to Flickr on February 10, 2007 by the Comic Shop]

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February 09, 2007

Proud to be Purple Day & Photo Contest

When I saw "the artist formerly known as Prince" doing his shtick during the Super Bowl at half time, I thought if Prince can do Purple Rain, we can have our own holiday! Mark your calendar for *March 4.

Calling all Purple WomenTM and their friends to celebrate the first annual mock holiday for people of a purple persuasion, that's us, we're childfree.
To celebrate, we are hosting a purple photo contest and the winners and winning images will be announced on our holiday.

We have teamed up with Grandma Purple's online store to offer some nice prizes. Cyd, (alias: Grandma Purple), is not childfree herself, but she is really supportive of our choice and lifestyle. She offers any reader of this blog a 10% discount. Heck, if you don't like purple there is a lovely shoe-shaped pie server in a smart stainless steel.

To counter the notion that we "only think about ourselves" (have you ever been called selfish?), your entry fee is a donation to your
favorite women's charity, perhaps a shelter for abused women and children (think: purple ribbon campaign), in the amount of $10.00 or more. For more ideas, and a view of the pool of photo entries, check out the sister site that has been created to support this contest: Purple Women Give Back.

The Contest: Submit your best purple photo and make a donation to a women's charity.

Contest Rules
Photo Categories
Best Overall (Grand Prize Winner), People, Places, Pets and Things, plus three Special Mentions. Your image must be digital and it must contain purple, or have a purple theme.

Purple Women & Friends Regular Contributors

By entering this contest you are giving Purple Women & Friends permission use your image, specifically it will be published on this blog and perhaps used to illustrate a post at a later date.

Send a link to your contest entry image stored on your Flickr account or attached a TIFF or JPEG file of your image for the entry and email it to Teri directly. Your photo entry must be digital.

Your entry must include in the email somewhere, the name of the charity you made a donation to.

Limit one photo per person.

Deadline for submission: February 25, 2007

Winners announced: March 4, 2007

Grand Prize - $50 cash, plus a $10 gift Grandma Purple gift certificate and
year’s supply of purple duct tape. (One will be awarded.)

Category Prizes - $10.00 Grandma Purple gift certificate and a year's supply of purple duct tape. (Four will be awarded, one in each category.)

Special Mentions - a year's supply of, you guessed it, purple duct tape
(ahem, that's one roll!) (Three will be awarded.)

Any questions? Email

(*Blog administrator's note: March 4th also happens to be the Jewish holiday Purim and my mother's birthday, this is just coincidence, no disrespect is intended.)

(**You may designate how you would like your image to be attributed.)

[Photo: Originally uploaded to Flickr on February 3, 2007 by Pilou@ttitude.]

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February 08, 2007


“My mother knew something was ‘wrong’ with me when I played Barbies with my friend, and her Barbie married Ken and they had five kids,” Evans-Gleneski says.

“My Barbie was president of an oil company, drove a Corvette and lived by herself in a townhouse.”
Taken from an article that ran in the Metro Times Detroit, an alternative free weekly publication - more than a year old, but still inspiring.

Thanks to Chris, The Fixed Kitty podcaster (The Adult Space Child Free Podcast) for pointing out its longevity!

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February 07, 2007

Bloggers Are Women

Understanding Women
Of course we all know that's not true. The majority of bloggers are women, some of them Purple WomenTM.

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February 06, 2007

Project Update: The Book

One cross-border, cross-country move and a funeral later, and my transcription machine, complete with foot pedal and headset, is back on my writing desk. I have set myself up facing the large picture window of our living room. A place of quiet and solitude. The dictionary, style guide and thesaurus are all within arm's reach and it's time to get busy with...

...the Purple WomenTM book project!
The book will feature a section called Portraits of Purple WomenTM. These women have been hand-selected by me because as childfree women they stand out for me, for one reason or another, and their stories will help me paint the picture of what it is to be childfree today. Perhaps I can answer the question of whether or not we are part of a real movement definitively, reveal what our place is in the "village of life", look ahead to where we are going in old age, and reflect on what we can do to make things better for the next generation of childfree adults.

A total of 15 interviews are slated. This is something I truly enjoy, as I learn something from every childfree woman I meet. Two interviews have been completed thus far and two more are scheduled.

The survey was completed last summer, and I need to revisit that data to keep my thinking and creative process moving forward. More than 200 childfree women in Canada and the U.S. participated. Initial results on the multiple-choice section were debuted in a series of posts:

Survey Results #1
(Pre-qualifying questions)
Survey Results #2 (respondent demographics)
Survey Results #3 (best childfree perk)
Survey Results #4 (satisfaction scale, stereotypes)

My last project update was in August 2006. The goals I set are still valid.

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February 02, 2007

Hate or Humor?

"There are so many kids to hate, and so little time."
This from the introduction of Adrienne Frost’s book I Hate Other People’s Kids. Simon Spotlight Entertainment published this book back in 2006. And, yes, it clearly falls into the category of entertainment. Frost is a comedian, and in this case her acerbic humor is directed at kids…other people’s kids. Since she’s childfree, I guess that means all kids.

Much of the book is a laundry list of the ways kids spoil perfect adult fun and suggestions on how you might deal with the little devils and their "Babyoid" parents.

The humor is of the stand-up variety, crude and over-the-top, but occassionally Frost hits the target with observations rooted in truths. "Have you met my vagina?" is the heading of a paragraph on being subjected to birthing videos. Frost suggests ways in which you can "exact your revenge" on parents who attempt to draw you into their gruesome placenta world by suggesting you "laminate your pap smear and put it on the fridge. Pop in the video of you passing that stubborn kidney stone."

Her stated goal is to liberate us all, non-parents and parents alike, from the secret guilt of hating other people’s kids, but like other recent books of this ilk, the gleefully mean-spirited approach gives credence to the assumption that the childfree are so because we hate kids. That would be okay it if were true but my research shows that dislike of kids is nowhere near the most compelling motive to remain childfree.

Sure, kids are sometimes annoying, messy, and loud, which is why I try to avoid being seated near small children in my favorite restaurants. On the rare date night, many parents do the same.

Which is why my favorite line in Frost’s book is:
"And they say Jesus loved the little children, all the children of the world, but he never had to dine with one. He chose the lepers."

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February 01, 2007

No Kidding! Update

Purple WomenTM, you too can start a No Kidding! chapter. Now there's even an instruction handbook wiki on how to do it. This is a sure recipe for getting your childfree social life on track, whether single or married. Pay a minimal start-up cost, agree to the ground rules, add a generous helping of your time to recruit volunteers, members and plan events, and you can use the official name. This organization is heavily, and well-promoted.

The annual convention of this international social club for childfree adults is just around the corner - Las Vegas or bust!. The planners from Chapter One have just added a wiki page to help folks connect to share hotel rooms, rides, etc. Their efforts are truly appreciated.

It just keeps getting better.

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