Let’s Call a Truce

Posted March 7, 2013 by Ellen Hunter Gans in Life After Five

Over the last few months, I noticed a Huffington Post blog:

Stay-At-Home Moms: What You Should NEVER Say to Them.

A short while later, there was another one:

What Not To Say to a Working Mom.

Both posts went viral.

I do not have children, but I was angered by the need for both these posts. Both posts outlined catty comments to which working and stay-at-home moms are subjected on a regular basis.

It’s horrible stuff, really.

Shortly thereafter, a child-free friend of mine asked me what I thought about her starting a blog to defend deliberate childlessness. I told her she should go for it — but, again, it’s a shame that there’s a need for it.

I was recently at a women’s club meeting, where a stranger asked me point blank within a few minutes of meeting me, “And how old are your children?” Keep in mind, I had said or done nothing to indicate that I had children.

I politely responded that I don’t have children. She looked genuinely stunned, and said “Oh! Well…you have time.”


I proceeded to tell her about the article I’d just had published in Runner’s World. That’s my baby, lady. I don’t think she cared.

I understand people’s genuine curiosity about women who lead lives different from their own. It’s our inner anthropologist, researching foreign civilizations.

But why all the judgment? Can’t we just accept that we all make different choices? Speaking to me won’t threaten your parental status or your marital status or your career. And I don’t mind if you have seventeen children and work three jobs, or if you’re a bona fide, child-free housewife. As the Brits would say, “Good on you.”

Why waste time judging?

I wish that the woman at the meeting had asked me, “And how do you spend your time?” That way, I could have said “I’m a full-time freelance writer, and I enjoy cooking and running and spending time with my spouse.”

Let’s call a truce, ladies.

So. Tell me: how do you spend your time?

About the Author

Ellen Hunter Gans

Ellen Hunter Gans is a freelance writer and communications strategist. She's also a marathon runner, an Ironman triathlete, a wildly untalented cross-country skier, a newly minted Crossfit junkie, a yoga devotee, a wannabe culinary genius, a voracious reader, a grammar snob, a world traveler, an outdoorswoman, an oenophile, a mediocre gardener, and a secret fan of awful television. Her blog is at www.lifeinreviews.com, and her business website is at www.wordcoutureconsulting.com.