NotMoms Meet to Talk about Childless Life

Tomorrow I’m flying to Cleveland, Ohio for the NotMom Summit, a conference for childless/childfree women. I have never gone that far from home without a husband, but at this point I’ve been alone so long I don’t even remember how to travel with another person.

It might be nice to have a companion, but I like my space and my freedom. I can’t imagine traveling with children. It’s hard enough getting myself organized and arranging for my dog’s care. Foods, pills, dog-sitters, feeling guilty for leaving her.

My dear departed husband would have wanted to come along. If he had, I would have spent the whole conference worrying about him. He’d be asking, “How long is this workshop going to take?” “What took you so long?” and “Why can’t I come to the pajama party?” And that was before he got Alzheimer’s. If he stayed home, I’d make myself crazy preparing his meals in advance and checking in with him by phone every day.

Being unfettered is nice. I’m trying not to feel like a weird person because I like to travel on my own.

I will have to call my father and pray that he stays healthy until I get home. He doesn’t understand what this conference is about. NotMoms?

It’s a little strange for me, too. I’m used to writers’ conferences, where everybody’s asking “What do you write?” and stressing about pitching their books to editors and agents. Keynote speakers tell their stories of how they went from rejection to the best-seller list. Workshop leaders talk about plot, characters, marketing, revision, etc. The books in the bookstore are all about how to be a writer–because every other writer is writing a book about how to be a writer. I wrote one, too. Took it to conferences, taught workshops, sold copies to wannabe writers, of whom maybe 2 percent might actually write and publish anything.

But this conference is so different. We’re going to talk about real life. We’re not all writers. The thing we have in common is not having children. What we do for a living is irrelevant, except that maybe not having children allows us to follow our passions more freely. I’m not sure what the opening question will be. “Childless by choice or by circumstance?” “Are you infertile, too?” At least, for once, we won’t be the only ones in the room without offspring.

I’ll be selling my Childless by Marriage book, and I will probably buy several other people’s books about being “notmoms.” But we’ll talk about relationships, money, aging, health and other real-life topics with people who understand. How often does that happen in our day-to-day lives? Where else can we be totally honest about this childless business?

I’ll take lots of notes and share what I learn. If you’re going to be in the Cleveland area this weekend, you can still reserve a spot. For information, click here.



7 thoughts on “NotMoms Meet to Talk about Childless Life

  1. No need to feel weird because you enjoy traveling on your own. It’s the ultimate unfettered way to experience a place and the others who are serendipitously also there. I hiked the Camino trail across the North of Spain by myself two years ago. People thought I was bizarre for traveling across the world by myself as a female. It was a glorious month. I met lots of other solo travelers with whom I connected too.


  2. Have a wonderful time, Sue! I’m hoping to go to the ‘Notmum Summit’ myself one day; it’ll be fascinating to hear all about it. Take care x


  3. It is not weird to travel alone at all. It is something I am hoping to do more of. Last year I travelled about 300 miles from home, within the UK, to do some volunteering I wanted to do. It was for 5 days but I thought while I’m there I’m going to stay on for a few nights to make a little holiday of it. It was good to be able to plan to do whatever I liked during those days. In all honesty, the evenings were a little more difficult to spend on my own, but hey I still enjoyed it.


  4. Sue, I absolutely love travelling alone! I feel like a brave adventurer forging into new territory. When you travel alone, you have the luxury of deciding your own schedule and going on your own whim. Enjoy! That conference sounds like a wonderful idea and I look forward to hearing your report. Take care.


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