The Cool Things Childless Women Do

Sorry I’m a day late. This is the first morning in two weeks that I haven’t felt horrible. Nope, not COVID-19. Let’s just call it a malfunctioning body part and a bad reaction to new medication. And then last night, after adjusting my prescription, hallelujah, I felt human again. I slept soundly and woke up ready to write. Whew.

What does this have to do with being childless? Nothing really. Even if I had a grown child nearby, he or she couldn’t have helped me—unless one of them was a neurologist. The biggest help was my friends offering advice and sympathy via texts and Facebook and my new doctor being concerned and available by email. Thank you, Dr. G.

Today’s post is a potluck meal, a little lasagna, a little potato salad, some brownies . . .

I’m finding that my friends know me so much better than my family. I suspect it would be the same if I had kids. I’d be “Mom” and “Grandma” to them, not Sue the writer and musician. Or the dog-mom. Annie is getting too heavy for me to lift. Yesterday after a beautiful walk in the woods, I couldn’t get her back into the Honda. We stood in the parking lot and stared at each other. Now what? Yes, a husband or a grown child could have lifted all 75 flailing pounds of her right up in the car, but we figured it out. I gave one more heave-ho, and she was in. Then I drove home and ordered a ramp from Amazon.

Let me tell you about a couple of very special childless women.

I encountered Kate Greene in a new book I was asked to review titled Once Upon a Time I lived on Mars. Science writer Greene, married to a woman and childless, had always wanted to be an astronaut. She came close by joining a simulated Mars mission, living with five others in a geodesic dome on a volcano in Hawaii. They stayed inside, seeing no one else, ate astronaut food, and did science experiments while experiencing what it would be like to be isolated from sunlight, freedom and family for months. It’s fascinating stuff, especially at a time when many of us have been sheltering in place because of the coronavirus. Not having children was one of the things that allowed Green the freedom to do this.

Catherine-RickboneI also want to tell you about Catherine Rickbone, who has just retired at age 74 as director of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts. She never had children either. She has four college degrees, and worked a variety of jobs, including teaching, marketing and public relations before taking the OCCA job. She’s also a singer and poet. A natural with her booming voice, she has hosted a radio show on the arts for years. Supervising not only local activities at the Performing Arts and Visual Arts centers in Newport but overseeing arts all along the Oregon coast, she has been extremely busy for years, dashing into our writers’ meetings at the last second, out of breath but smiling. I’m hoping she can relax a bit now, but I know she’ll keep busy. As for children, when did she ever have time? Listen to one of her poems here. Read about her here. The article was written by my friend Lori Tobias, a longtime newspaper reporter who is also childless and whose book, Storm Beat, is about to come out and become a best-seller.

I’m telling you those of us without kids can do some cool things.

Thanks for being here. Socially distanced hugs all round.

5 thoughts on “The Cool Things Childless Women Do

  1. Thank you for this post! Although I resist the idea of needing to make up for not having kids with accomplishment, I often wonder how other childless women use their time. I appreciate you writing about these women and would love to read more posts like this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry for your health issues Sue! Hope you are feeling strong again soon.

    I like these sort of posts too. Although it sometimes makes me feel like my normal childless life isn’t enough. Probably my own insecurity, but I often feel like I must do “SOMETHING” to make up for not having a child. Like having a child is the benchmark of a life well lived. If I don’t have a child I must do something of significance. Right? No. Not really. My insecurity is my own. If I had one child, I’d probably think that I needed five of them to be a “real” mom. lol. Mind you, I don’t believe that for others, but I would think that for myself. Not cool.

    COVID is getting on my nerves. Politicians are getting on my nerves. People who think their view is the only one of importance are getting on my nerves. Many, many things are getting on my nerves and I’m excited. This usually means something good is going to happen in my life. When I stop caring about a part of my life, something more important shows up and it’s always better than the stuff I was fretting about.


    • Thanks, Anon. Getting better day by day. COVID and all that other stuff are getting on my nerves, too. I’m really sick of it all. As for having to do something extraordinary to make up for our childlessness, well, we don’t have to. A life well-lived is a life well-lived whether you’re an astronaut, a movie star or just a darned good person like you.


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