December 24, 2007

The Common Ground

Purple WomenTM new to this blog and parents alike may be surprised at its tone when they first discover it. We have been blogging on a controversial topic of "being a childfree woman" for going on three years now. It's a topic that draws extreme points of view on a very personal and sometimes controversial choice, to child or not to child. We explore the topic with tact, reason and some grace and we hope it supports and enlightens those who land here. All are welcome, that's why we call it Purple Women & Friends.

It's perhaps too easy to focus on what separates us.
Women empower themselves by acknowledging their choice to remain childfree, regardless of what circumstances, or at what age they make the choice. As time goes on we realize we must arm ourselves against the thoughtless comments of others, and sometimes our own family. If we are really skilled, we develop a sense of humor about it (I truly believe it's the best defense of a lifestyle choice that should need no defending.)

As our friends have kids, we have to change our expectations about those friendships and put some thought into the structure of our social life, one that will not revolve around the school year, unless we enroll, or become an educator ourselves.

Parents deserve our respect, support and understanding. Sometimes they just need a "wider berth" to get through the difficult years with younger children. Have patience Purple WomenTM, because it's really fun to reconnect with parents who have older kids. They are ready to socialize and have some adult fun again. They have served their time, focused on their kids and now they are ready to explore who they are again. People really connect on their common interests, not their family status, though parents of young kids are in a totally different social state.

My husband and I moved to his home town in Northern California one year ago. I'll admit, I was a little nervous about being back in mainstream suburbia, (read my post about it: Purple Haze) but things are really working out okay. I started a No Kidding chapter for my area and have also made a lot of friends by getting involved with the local opera company. We just hosted our first ever holiday party combining these two groups of friends in our new home and we were very pleased that our mix of interesting, artsy childed and childfree friends found each other so fascinating. It left me with the feeling that really we have more in common than not. It's perhaps too easy to focus on what separates us.

The childfree path is the one we walk, but we are not alone, there are lots of potential friends along the way and they are not all childfree. On this topic, I would like to turn your attention to a beautiful post written by AlphaGirl about her best friend and mother of three grown kids: Maria. It is buried in the archives, and one of our best contributions. Please take a moment to read it.

Technorati Tag:

December 22, 2007

Another Tip on How to Survive the Question

c H/H&C Coffee I L D
F R E glowing E Caution!
I always love it when someone new discovers our blog. A new Purple WomenTM reader blogging as Longing for Home has left a new comment on our post titled "Top Ten Tips":
I know this is an old post but I just found your site...I'd love to use this response, but I doubt my sarcasm would be appreciated:

"We're planning on starting on kids when the padded, sound-proofed nursery is ready and we've finished interviewing nannies. Do you have any leads?"
Thanks for sharing. This is L.O.L.!

Technorati Tag:

December 19, 2007

Oh, Just Grow Up!

People have told me I’m 'young at heart' and I take it as a compliment. But according to Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, it’s a moral flaw.

When the media needs a quote from someone inclined to denounce the choice to remain childfree, they go to Mohler. Two years ago Dr. Mohler appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360˚ in a debate with Madelyn Cain, author of The Childless Revolution, following a video segment of people talking about their reasons for remaining childless, including one childfree woman who was working as a nanny.

In the debate, moderated by CNN correspondent Heidi Collins, Mohler had this to say:

MOHLER:…this is really about avoiding the responsibilities of parenthood. And I find that profoundly sad. You know, obviously, there is a tremendous moral point to be made here. These couples -- well, they have to be very thankful that their parents didn't make the same decision. And society depends upon parenthood and the raising of children being seen as a norm for married couples and as something that is of social value.

COLLINS: But, Albert, isn't it -- pardon the interruption. Isn't it dangerous to assume that everyone can be a good parent?

MOHLER: Well, you know, I think what is more dangerous is to assume that we're going to say that people can be adults, and be recognized as responsible adults, who don't even aspire to grow up, to be mature enough to have children. I mean, parenthood is a part of helping to create adults. We grow up by having our children. Without that responsibility we have a generation of perpetual adolescents, just growing old.

Click here for the full transcript of this show.

Mohler’s not the only one who believes we need to have a kid or two to "be recognized as responsible adults." As Laura C pointed out in her post on, policy wonks and social scientists are struggling with the fact that the three steps to adulthood—employment, marriage, and procreation—are increasingly being delayed in the United States, forcing a reassessment of what were previously considered the normative milestones to adulthood.

So what happens when you skip the having kids part?

You tell us!

Technorati Tag:

December 18, 2007

An Unlikely Childfree Zone

by Shelley
Regular Contributor

Just when you thought there was nowhere left to escape the kindergarten crowd, there’s one place that’s drawing the line between where children do and do not belong. And believe it or not, it’s a church.

That’s right – NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina does not allow children under the age of 11 to attend its worship services. How did the church come to enact this policy? In a post, titled What – No Kids in the Worship Service? – Part Two, (June 14, 2005) on his widely read blog (Perry Pastor Noble explains:

“I realized that when it comes to kids in the service that the pastor is in a no win situation. If they cause a disruption and we address it then some will consider us mean. If we let it go unnoticed then others will consider us to be passive.

So our team…finally decided that our church was going to strive to provide a distraction free worship environment for adults and a creative, relevant environment for kids–that way everyone wins.”
“But wait a minute,” you might say. “Didn’t Jesus say to let the children come to him?” Noble writes:

“I once had a father yell at me over the telephone, ‘Jesus said bring the little children unto me.’ I completed the verse for him and said, ‘and do not hinder them. It is my belief that by taking a child and placing them in an environment where they are not engaged in a way that they can understand that they are being hindered. That is why we refuse to hinder kid’s spiritual development by asking them to surrender an hour of their life to boredom.”

Additionally, Noble has no tolerance for parents who assert that it’s important for children to see how Mommy and Daddy behave in church:

“It is my conviction that you have Monday through Saturday to worship God as a family. If you are not being a true worshipper on Monday through Saturday and then you try to come to church and fake it on Sunday then I promise that your child does not view you as a spiritual giant–but rather a hypocrite who is leading by example that it is ok to live one way inside the walls of the church and another way outside the walls.”

So, in today’s parent-dominated society, how has NewSpring been rewarded for bucking convention? Approximately 4000 people attend services each Sunday, and it was recently named the 21st Most Influential Church in America. I think it just goes to show what
Purple WomenTM already know – where children are concerned, some traditions deserve a second look.

Flickr photo by criana (cc)
Technorati Tag:

December 12, 2007

In the Company of Men

I started a scriptwriters group a number of years ago. We meet once a month to critique each other’s work and offer support and to enjoy the camraderie.

I walked into last nights meeting and found I was the only female in the group. We talked about the new generation of video cameras, our recent travels, and how we might share our work online. We critiqued one of the member’s musical numbers and we caught up with each other, exchanging news, advice, and ideas.

It was just like a meeting I might have had with my other writers group, a nonfiction group composed entirely of women, except that the subject of children never came up.

That got me thinking. The men I hang around with (most of whom have grown children) don’t spend much time talking about their kids, yet the women do, even long after the kids have left the nest.

Is it a gender identity thing? Given that most of the women I know took on the bulk of the child-rearing tasks, is it more difficult for them to make the transistion from parent to empty-nester than it is for their husbands?

I don’t know. However, it appears, based on some of my recent social interactions with empty-nester women, they are more likely than their husbands to continue to initiate and forge social connections by bringing their kids and grandkids into the conversation.

Where does that leave me, the childfree woman? Talking about the nephews, and the grandniece, I confess. Guilty as charged.

Or, more often, drifting off to join the cluster of men in the room, the ones talking about movies, golf, and politics.

Flickr Photo
by JennsJournal cc
Technorati Tag:

December 06, 2007

Dog Ready?

The childfree are supposedly pet-friendly. We all have pets as substitute children, right? Maybe not.

My husband and I have been talking about getting a dog for a year now. We finally have a house with a yard. It truly seems the perfect setting. Lots of room to roam, except for the poisonous plants that the previous owner planted, it seems ideal for a pooch or two. I have read that a puppy will put anything in its mouth, not unlike a toddler. I am loath to even think about pulling out the well-established hydrangeas, camellias
and azaleas. Yes, all those lovely plants are poisonous to dogs.

Since puppies are a lot of work, we thought we'd have a starter dog and adopt one from a local shelter. Of course, we'd want two dogs eventually as they would keep each other company when we were not around, and, as the thinking goes, how much more work could two be if you are already taking one for a walk?

A dog-owner reading this post might think that last sentiment sounds naive. My betrothed and I are both working full-time, and right now we are having a hard time just keeping our chickens happy and well-adjusted. With the shortened daylight hours, they are not getting to forage outside the coup as much. Egg production has been greatly reduced. The birds are a little stressed by the change. They make a racket in the morning trying to get me to let them out. Honestly, who needs a rooster when four hens can be that loud? They lay eggs regardless, and yes, fresh eggs are fabulous, but they do not give adoration and affection like a "man's best friend."

We learned from talking to our dog owner friends, that adopting a dog is not so easy. You have to pass a test. One of the questions is, "Do you plan to let your dog sleep in the house?" If you answer is "no", then no dog for you. Apparently, with these rescue organizations it's their way or the highway. When we think this one through, it's a pretty big pill to swallow. Both of us grew up with dogs when dogs slept outside.

With all the poisonous plant, free-time issues we already have, the "where does your dog sleep" question seems like a deal-breaker. Lately, we've come to realize that we are not ready for a dog. It just wouldn't be fair, plus our cats would be mortified if we brought a dog in the house. They tend to "express" themselves on the carpet when they are not pleased. Maybe when we retire, but, then we'd want to travel.

I suspect my friend and co-Contributing Editor, LauraS, will be smiling and nodding her head as she reads this. See why in this post: Meet LauraS.

[Photo: Buttercup, Rosie, Sally and Brenda in the background.]

Technorati Tag:

December 05, 2007

CF eZine December Issue

Both of our Contributing Editors at Purple WomenTM have written for this online magazine targeted toward a childfree audience especially. I really hope they make it to a second year.

Why not take a look at the December 2007 issue of Unscripted: A Childfree Life, that was just published?

Technorati Tag:

PW Button Links

Here are some Purple WomenTM buttons (they should also be links) to wear on your own blogs as promised. My favorite is the one with the catty sunglasses as I think it is easiest to read, but I didn't see any reason not to offer all three.

BTW, how are you doing in your holiday planning? What's your strategy? Family, friends, parties?

Are you armed with some good come backs when you get asked The Question? If you are planning to go to an office holiday party or other such affair unarmed, I suggest you read this post first:

Cheers & Happy Holidays,

Teri Tith
Creator & Contributing Editor
Purple Women & Friends
(where the childfree women are)

I will send you the GIF file for the images above if you send me an email.

Technorati Tag:

December 03, 2007

Raising the Girls

Okay, I’ve never breast fed, haven’t even lactated. So the girls are pretty much what the guys with vasectomies might call sport models.

However, I can identify with moms like Patricia Heaton, the actress who played the Ray’s wife Debra in the TV comedy Everyone Loves Raymond. She did breast feed. She has five kids. She had cosmetic breast surgery because, as she once said, she had to become adept at origami to get her boobs into a bra. I’m younger than Heaton by a few years. I’m not ready to go under the knife, but gravity has become the enemy. I practically have to go into downward dog pose to get into the iron maiden the bra manufacturers call "the underwire."

So I have to give shout out to Belinda Luscombe who made a plea to billionaire entrepreneur Warren Buffett to build a better bra. Her entreaty was published in Time Magazine’s Nov 12th edition, which also featured the best inventions of 2007.

I saw the irony. If we can build a robot that will lift a beer out of the fridge and fling it to the slug/football fan in the LazyBoy, surely we can build a better bra?

Luscombe pointed out that cup sizes were invented 80 years ago and haven’t been modified much beyond the first four letters of the alphabet. Nordstroms and Victoria Secret expert bra fitters take only two measurements to determine our bra size. Luscombe noted that a team of Hong Kong researchers took 98 measurements in their effort to explore the breast sizes and shapes of Chinese women. The Chinese win, again.

But we have the technology. If Levis can do custom fit, laser cut jeans, North American women can get a bra that fits. We just need someone with leadership, someone with money, someone with a history of investment in the undergarment industry. Someone with man boobs—someone who can share our pain.

Warren, where are you?

Technorati Tag: