Inspiration for childless and childfree women

Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice

that other olivia

As a child, when I took the day off school due to (sometimes spurious) illness, I used to find myself keeping a mental log of the Olivia who should have been in class. Now she is turning in her homework, while I am in bed with a book. Now she is doing maths problems, while I am on the couch watching Oprah. Now she is running round the oval in her PE clothes, while I am doing a puzzle with my mum. I very seldom envied that other Olivia and the little imagined updates I gave myself definitely enhanced the pleasure of a day off.

For me, my childfree status often works like this too. Now she is up driving people to school, while I’m taking my breakfast back to bed. Now she is at soccer practice, while I’m having a cup of tea in a bookshop. Now she is listening sadly to a friend’s financial horrors, while I have some savings and am able to help.

It wasn’t that I hated the idea of school then and it isn’t that I hate the idea of motherhood now. But I still very seldom envy that other Olivia.

If you enjoy reading about the pleasures of the childless/childfree lifestyle you might like this post about the beauty of undisturbed sleep or this post about the luxuries childless and childfree women can enjoy.

But in the meantime,ย I wonder if anyone else has a parenting-self wandering around in a parallel universe?

[The image for this post was borrowed with permission from Yataro whose beautiful work you can findย here.]

13 comments on “that other olivia

  1. Lynn T
    March 13, 2012

    Wow Olivia, another great post! Your website does exactly as it says as it really does inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree. Well done on playing an important part in spreading the word that being childless/childfree can be a positive lifestyle choice. It’s ok to want kids but equally it’s ok to not want kids. What’s important is that more people recognise that today it is a choice, not something you have to do.

    • olivia
      March 13, 2012

      Thank you so much, Lynn. I am delighted to read your comment as you’ve described exactly the hopes I have for this website.

      You and I are in total agreement, I think, in focusing on choice as the key issue here. A choice isn’t a choice if people aren’t aware they have it.

      It’s wonderful to have your contribution here ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. dinkschildfree
    March 13, 2012

    My husband and I do this sometimes. We talk about what we would be doing right now if we did have kids (or rather, what we wouldn’t be doing). I don’t envy that other me either.

  3. olivia
    March 13, 2012

    I’m glad I’m not alone, dinkschildfree! Perhaps there’s a novel in there – the Parallel Parenting Universe? Or a film – Sliding Doors of the Childfree?

  4. Mrs. Viking
    March 13, 2012

    Everything you write is just so wonderful! I really enjoy reading a child-free site that is well written, up-beat, and of course,regularly updated! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. olivia
    March 13, 2012

    Thank you very much Mrs Viking, that is so lovely to hear ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. M
    March 14, 2012

    Reading this with a nice cup of tea, while the other me is trying to get the kids dressed and into the car for the school run…I don’t envy the other me either. Thanks Olivia, for giving voice to our choice.

  7. olivia
    March 14, 2012

    Sounds gorgeous! Thank you so much for reading and responding, M

  8. Amelia
    March 15, 2012

    I love this post; thank you! Similarly, one of my favorite things to do when it’s nice out is sit near one of the local elementary schools at dismissal time (the school is located near a little shopping district with a health food store & coffee shop). I sit there with my lentil salad and my coffee on a bench outside one of the aforementioned establishments as the kids are getting off school and think to myself, “If I had kids I’d be battling soccer mom traffic to pick mine up from school right now. But instead I’m sitting here on this bench, reading a book.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. olivia
    March 16, 2012

    Thanks for your lovely feedback Amelia! Mmmm…lentil salad ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Nicole
    March 16, 2012

    I love this idea of “the alternative” Olivia – so great!

    I kinda do this too in my husband and I talk about how our life is different since we aren’t planning for or discussing having kids. For example, we have some credit card debt that we are working on paying off, but, we don’t find it to be as stressful as we figure we would if we were planning for kids. We have lots of places we still want to travel to, but we don’t feel this pressure to race and do it now since we know we have many years in which we will be able to travel with ease since there will be no financial/situational constraints placed on us by children.

    We frequently discuss our different our decade of our 30s will be than those with children and while doing this, I do frequently imagine what it would be like to living that other life. But, I am pretty sure this one is the right for me as the other life sounds like there is more pressures and stresses than I know.

  11. olivia
    March 17, 2012

    Nicole, I too feel as though the decision puts a couple of decades back into our lives and they’re such great years, as you say, for things like organising finances and travelling. I hope it all goes beautifully for you and your husband!

  12. seattle
    September 21, 2012

    I really enjoy doing this! It’s like chocolate in the form of thoughts. Little treats of validation that soothe me and always make me smile.

    I did this a lot when I was fence riding. I always try to make very sound decisions, smart purchases, valid acquisitions, comparison shop always… and this ‘i-would-be’ excercise was a favorite tool when I was building my [brilliant] decision to remain childfree.

    As my husband and I drive past parents shivering with their children at the school bus stop – we always give each other a little knowing glance and smile. Exchanging chocolate thoughts.

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2012 by in peace and quiet and tagged , , .

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