A Sense of Community

It’s been over a year-and-a-half since our SWaNK Meetup group in the Bay Area was created and it’s been truly wonderful to be meeting so many FANTASTIC women. The sense of community amongst us is growing as each gathering takes place (often around food : )). We are a diverse group from all walks of life, in different fields of work, with different interests, from different backgrounds, cultures and generations, yet we all have many things in common. It is that commonality that has allowed us to bond and connect with one another and allows us to feel safe when expressing our thoughts and feelings about the choices that we have made or will make in our lives.

Not all SWaNKs are similar in ways that one might think. I’ve met a few who are still not sure about whether they want children or not. They come out to meet to gain insights and perspectives from others. And there are SWaNKs who desire to be married one day, at which point they technically wouldn’t be a SWaNK anymore. However, they will ALWAYS be welcomed to our events and gatherings as honorary SWaNKs. I’ve met SWaNKs who wouldn’t mind meeting a man with kids, but don’t wish to have kids of their own and SWaNKs who are interested in possibly adopting. We are a diverse bunch. SWaNKs are straight, gay, bi-sexual, from all racial backgrounds, and from all parts of the world and we are here to support one another.

Our SWaNK Meetup in Toronto is in it’s infancy and I look forward to creating another wonderful community there. If anyone would like to be a co-organizer for the Toronto group or lead a SWaNK Meetup in your part of the world, please contact me and we can get you set up!

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A Talk and Q+A with Childfree Expert and Author, Laura Carroll

This past weekend, the SWaNK Evolution hosted our first guest speaker, Childfree Expert and Author of “Baby Matrix”, Laura Carroll in a beautiful yoga space in San Francisco. I am so happy with the results of this first SWaNK Evolution Talk and look forward to organizing more mixed events like this where we invite those interested in the subject whether you’re a SWaNK or not. Everyone was so engaged and interacting with each other and connecting. Many bonds were created amongst the often misunderstood people (us) who are living as non-parents. We are all aware of the societal pressure on humans to procreate and raise children, and Laura gave us great insights into why and how those beliefs developed and have stuck around for so many generations and how letting go of these beliefs can will lead to a better world for all of humanity. We had both men and women there, married couples and singles and even one person who was a parent. It was a very interesting afternoon.

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Aside

Where Have I Been Lately? Too Busy Not Being a Parent.

I don’t know where time flies to these days. Anyways, I’m back to write about my lunch today.

It was a lovely salmon wrap that I purchased from a wonderful take-out style eatery at a nearby open air mall. What a lovely setting to sit and have lunch in the beautiful sunshine. After ordering my meal, I took a look around in the courtyard to see where I would like to sit. I wanted to be in the sunshine and saw a lovely spot across the ways. So, I walked over and sat down, but within a few seconds, I realized that the at the table that was 2 feet away from me were 2 mommies with 4 small children. Darn, I knew I should have taken more time to assess the seeetcheeation before deciding on where to sit. So, rather than be rude and move away, I decided to be mature about it and work through my own issues. Yes, I’m trying to become more aware of my phobias and tendencies to stay away from strangers with small children. (For some reason, I have more tolerance for friends kids and family members. I know some would call that discrimination. I don’t know what to call it.)

Of course, I’m within earshot of their conversation which, not surprisingly, revolved around the children and the subject of children. Another thing that did not surprise me at all was that before I was half way into my salmon wrap, which was delicious by-the-way, I heard the words, “play date”. Oh, if you only knew – well, I’ll tell you – how much those two words may me cringe. Literally, when I hear those words my back and shoulders scrunch upwards. It’s an innate reaction for me. The moms were very excited that they could make their next play date for their kids to play together. I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be a lot more fun to be planning a date with your husband? I wonder how many moms of small children actually even have conversations with their husbands never mind dates.

Another part of the conversation was one of the moms asking her daughter who was about 4 years old this question, “Do you want to come with me to wash your hands?”. The little girls said, “No”. Very politely, which was very nice : ) However, the question I had floating around in my head was, why would you ask your 4-year old that question? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the parent to say, “let’s go wash your hands”? OK, time for me to shut up. The kids were well-behaved and the mothers seem to be doing a good job with their kids. Even when one of the kids started yelling instead of talking (out of the blue, it just started happening) the mother calmly asked her why she was yelling all of a sudden and she told her that it wasn’t necessary to yell, the child listened and lowered her voice.

So all in all, it was a bearable experience for me and I’m glad that I sat there to help me get over my phobia of being in situations like that. See, I’m growing : ) Just don’t say the words, “play date” around me.

Marriage, Schmarriage…

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I’ve got way too much to say about this topic.

More later while I gather my endless thoughts.

No, I’m not jaded. Really, I’m not. I just have an outlook that is uncommon.

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Please Leave My Stuff Alone! Get Your Grubby Little Hands Off That!

“How many times do I have to tell you. Don’t touch my stuff!”

Guess what I’m referring to? Yes, you got it, children playing with your STUFF! Or playing with stuff that could hurt them or potentially hurt someone else. Things like hot water, plastic bags, pens and pencils, any sharp object, food, wet food, greasy food, dried food, any food, wrappers, heavy things, things small enough for them to swallow, things too big for them to swallow but they try to anyway, string, your dentures, your underwear, your lipstick, magic markers, crayons, paint, fire, forks, that box, that branch, that toy, that salami, that propane gas tank. PLEASE don’t let me go on because I could form a list so long that it would rival the list of things on a greedy child’s wishlist to Santa Claus. In a nutshell, kids like playing with things that you don’t want them to be playing with. It starts as soon as they come out of the womb and sometimes continues through college.

My thought is, that in order to stop this type of behavior you’d have to have nothing but yourselves in your home. No furniture, because little Tommy will chew on the upholstery. No food because little Amy will get into the fridge and smear the food on the wall or smash it on the floor. No clothing because little Angel will get his little Angel feet tripped up in your scarf and possibly fall on his sweet little Angel face. No-thing would have to exist in the house except naked people. And even if it was just you naked, with the naked child with no clothes on to chew or get tangle up in, even then the child could easily start playing with your hair or your nipples or your ears in a way that could hurt you. And that wouldn’t be fun either.

Whether you have children or not, we’ve all witnessed the scenario of the contents of a house upside down and inside out with stuff tossed everywhere – the aftermath of kids needing to get into and play with stuff. I personally would go insane if I had to live in an environment like that, all disrupted, chaotic and disheveled. I commend parents who are able to tolerate this because I certainly could not.

Hence, SWaNK.

A SWaNK Take on the Declaration of Independence

Happy Independence Day to all SWaNKs and SWaNK supporters in the U.S.A. This is a day for us to celebrate not just our country’s independence, but our own independence as well. Here’s to being independent.

Today is July 4th, a day that most Americans are out at parades and festivals, picnicking in parks, barbequing, watching fireworks, hanging out with friends and family and celebrating the day that marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence which officially declared the separation of the country from the Kingdom of Great Britain back in 1776. For some people, it’s merely a day to celebrate a day off of work and for other’s it’s a party.

I wondered this morning what it would be like to write up a Declaration of Independence for women around the world and thought that perhaps I would give it a try by starting with a quick edit of the other Declaration of Independence and then add a few items here and there. Here are some excerpts and additions from the SWaNK Evolution Declaration of Independence.

Excerpt #1:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men HUMANS are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT WE DO WITH OUR BODIES, that among these are Life, CHOICE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness WITH OR WITHOUT BEING MARRIED OR HAVING CHILDREN.

Excerpt #2:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress OUR DRESSES AND PUT ON SOME PANTS in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury (STOP THE ABUSE). A Prince (WHO ARE THEY CALLING A PRINCE?) whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Excerpt #3: 

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British ANYONE WHO BELIEVES WOMEN ARE NOT EQUAL TO MEN brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. BEAUTY, BRAINS, INNER WISDOM, COMPASSION, ABILITY TO NURTURE, CAPABILITIES, AND ENDLESS OTHER QUALITIES THAT ARE BENEFICIAL TO HUMANKIND.

Additions: 

The Rights of All Humankind:

– To have the freedom to choose marriage or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to choose parenthood or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to choose a career or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to choose to cook or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to choose to clean or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to wear pants (or panties for that matter) or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to speak our minds or not without being judged by others

– To have the freedom to be 100% WHO WE ARE without being judged by others

Happy Independence Day EVERYONE!

“Goo Goo Gaga” and “I Don’t Know”

A transcription of a recent conversation I had with a 3-year-old:

CQ: “Hi little one, how are you?”

Little One: No attempted words, just a screech.

CQ: “What are you going to do today?”

Little One: “I want that one! I want that!”

CQ: “So? What are you going to do today?”

Little One: “Better go ween and some the pear.”

CQ: “Oh, really? That’s nice.”

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A transcription of a recent conversation I had with an 11-year-old:

CQ: “So, now that school is over, what are you planning to do this summer?”

11-year-old: “I don’t know.”

CQ: “Do you have any activities planned like softball?”

11-year-old: “No, I don’t want to play this summer.”

CQ: “Why not?”

11-year-old: “I don’t know.”

CQ: “Oh, OK.”

Hey, What About Us Non-Mothers? How About a “Day” for Us?

Today is Mother’s Day in Canada and the United States. Other countries around the world celebrate it too, but not necessarily on the same day. It is a worldwide celebration of motherhood, mothering and all-things-and-people “mother”. So where does that leave SWaNKs on this day? Well, even though SWaNKs have mothers (if they didn’t they wouldn’t be alive), they themselves are not mothers, which means that nobody is celebrating them. If their mothers are alive and well, they can choose to celebrate their mothers by taking them to a play or out for dinner at their favorite restaurant or on a trip or whatever the gift or celebration may be, or celebrate them in their own way if they have mother’s who are deceased to honor them, but there is no celebration for those of us who have chosen or found ourselves to be childless and not mothers.

On a day like today when “everyone and their mothers” – literally – seemed to be out and about heading to nice restaurants for brunch with flowers and gifts in hand for mom and grandma, I sat on a bench people-watching and observing this phenomena and wondered, “Hhhhhmmmm, I think there should be a day that is officially dedicated to the celebration of SWaNKs!” I mean, we have just as much to offer and just as much love to give and deserve to be celebrated as much as the women who pushed babies out of her uteruses or adopted a child, right? I say, “heck ya!”

So now the question is, when shall it be? Perhaps SWaNK Day is the day before Mother’s Day so we can have our say first and steal the show away from moms. We would be the cause of all the flowers being sold out at the floral shops and all the chocolates hoarded from Godiva before people have a chance to buy them for their mothers? How does that sounds? That’s what I thought. Not very nice. Or how about the week after so our loved ones can take advantage of the discounted Mother’s Day merchandise at retail stores when they go out to buy us flowers and gifts? Well? Not good either. Because then we’d be getting the leftovers. Or should it be on a day that is politically or spiritually significant to single women who don’t have kids and if so, what day would that be? Oprah’s birthday? I don’t think so, but getting closer.

Well, regardless of what day it ends up being, I see a day when millions of SWaNKs are being honored and celebrated for who they are and who they’ve chosen to be. Celebrated on that same day every year by millions of their supporters and admirers and even a day when Hallmark creates a card with “Happy SWaNK Day” on it!

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