October 15, 2019

Endless Summer (Vacation)

I hate that summer has to end. But I love comedienne (Canadian female comedian) Samantha Bee from The Daily Show. Her article in Saturday’s WSJ  “A Long Summer for ‘Weary Tiger’ Moms” made me pine for summer vacations past. She explained that as a child of the 1970s she spent her lazy summer days,

“languishing in front of the TV watching Phil Donahue and eating Boo Berry until my skin turned purple. Nobody cared if I read. Nobody cared if I wore sunscreen, or pants. I was like a house cat; my parents barely even knew if I was still living with them or whether I had moved in with the old lady down the street who would put out a bowl of food for me. In the ’70s, parenting was like a combination of intense crate-training and rumspringa, so I would typically spend June through September burnt to a crisp and wandering listlessly around the city, verging on scurvy.”

Kids and parents of 2011 are busy and exhausted all summer long. There are tutors and classes and camps and play dates and so many things that fill up the space that is meant for restoration and relaxation. Even as a member of the child-free community I am guilty of playing catch up with work and to-do lists on splendid summer days when I should be outside playing!

As a kid, my summers were crammed with summer camps and activities like many kids today. The days that I wasn’t programmed to the gills I was thrilled to lie around and stare at the TV, or go for meandering bike rides, or make chalk drawings that filled the sidewalks. I loved the freedom that came with having nothing to do. I would maybe wander home when the street lights came on for a quick dinner only to rush back out to meet the neighborhood kids for the late night kick-the-can session.

As a former teacher I can smell the first day of school rapidly approaching and still get excited to see new notebooks filling the store shelves at the end of July. September is always a crazy rush to get back on task with school and work, so why do we all feel the need to keep a tightly packed schedule during the summer too?  Maybe next summer parents, kids, and even the child-free can remember that the lazy days of summer are fleeting and it’s okay to enjoy the warm summer breeze and the long lazy days and just…relax.

Hey, parents:

Do you feel rested after summer vacation or are you eagerly awaiting the first day of school so you can finally get some rest?

Hey, Why No Kidsters:

How did you spend your summer vacation?

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Not a Loser, Baby

Kate Walsh More cover girl

The Hollywood headline reads “Kate Walsh (television star of Gray’s Anatomy and Private Practice) Embarrassed For Not Having Kids”.

This newsflash did its job and caught my childfree eye. I had to read more. Maybe not coincidentally, the article is in MORE magazine, a magazine “that celebrates women over 40”. However, it seems that in this case, not having kids by 40 means this star is more likely falling or failing.

In the article Kate Walsh says, “I feel like a loser. I would definitely love to be a parent. But I definitely don’t think I want to do it on my own. Things are just going to go the way they go… I thought I’d be married and have three or four kids. I always knew I wanted to be an actress, but I think I always wanted a quote-unquote normal life because I had a very untraditional upbringing.”

So normal is two kids and a dog right? Not for the nearly 50% of American women who are not moms. (source savvyauntie.com)

Maybe Kate should talk to Oscar winner Dame Helen Mirren, who swore off childbirth after seeing a film on the subject as a kid, “I swear it traumatised me to this day. I haven’t had children and now I can’t look at anything to do with childbirth. It absolutely disgusts me.”

Childfree and carefree Cameron Diaz

Or she could listen to outspoken environmentalist Cameron Diaz, who recently defended women who don’t want children in Cosmo by saying, “I think women are afraid to say that they don’t want children because they’re going to get shunned. But I think that’s changing too now. I have more girlfriends who don’t have kids than those that do. And honestly? We don’t need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet.” Diaz adds she might still have kids of her own.

Every celebrity rag is filled with photos of pregnant or potentially knocked up stars. We are obsessed with bump watch and all the joys of charting famous bellies and how quickly they grow then disappear.

Maybe Kate Walsh’s PR agent thinks she is a loser for not cashing in on the craze and publicity nexus of the moment. (Although, her article has caused quite a stir of its own.) It seems more and more actresses are joining the Hollywood Baby Boom. Currently pregnant stars include: Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Natalie Portman, Selma Blair, Maya Rudolph, Alyssa Milano, Alicia Silverstone, and three of the five Spice Girls.

Suri cruisin' with her $1,700 purse

The paparazzi have gone after the celebrity spawn as well. Photos of the little fashionistas are making cover stories. We’ve always wanted all the goodies and clothing of the rich and famous, and now we want our kids to wear what their kids are wearing too. Does that include the $1,700 Dolce and Gabbana purse of Miss Suri Cruise, age 4? For Ms. Walsh, her ability to protect a child from the paps and lack of privacy might be influencing her decision.

With the Hollywood baby boom exploding, we could use some other childfree personalities to speak up and share that their lives without children are still worth living, and that having less is sometimes more.

Some Notable Childfree Movie Stars

George Clooney

Cameron Diaz

Hugh Grant

Renee Zellweger

Katharine Hepburn

Oprah Winfrey

Hilary Swank

Charlize Theron

Angelica Houston

Steve Martin

Marisa Tomei

Ellen DeGeneres

Portia DeGeneres