The NotMom Summit Interview: Kate Kaufmann
Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different, and we define ourselves without the label of "Mom". And if you’re not a Mom, who are you?
This series by TheNotMom writer and childfree blogger Laura M. LaVoie features interviews with the women presenting at The NotMom Summit on October 6 and 7, 2017.
Meet Kate Kaufmann at the discussion about Mommyjacking Self-Defense at the 2017 NotMom Summit.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
As I reflect on my life choices, I now see how many were possible because I didn't have children. Originally from Michigan, I've now lived at the wet edges of three continents in rural, urban and suburban environments.
I left my corporate self behind to raise sheep in Oregon, working part-time as a training consultant. Recently, I went back for a second graduate degree, this one for me instead of for work, and received my MFA in Creative Writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts in August 2016.
I've recently completed a non-fiction book, Never Expecting: Life Outside the Mainstream of Motherhood, that weaves together life stories of NotMoms age 37 to 91, a growing body of research, and my own story, It will be published soon.
Do you consider yourself a NotMom? If so, are you without children by Choice or by Chance?
It's hard that there's no "official" term to describe who those of us who are the opposite of "mother," but yes, I one of those. I tried to get pregnant, including fertility interventions, so my lack of success makes me a NotMom by chance.
I am also the eldest of four girls, deputized by my mom to handle the sticky parts of raising my sisters, and I mean that in every sense of the word. And so, I also have a dose of Childless By Choice, too.
But, I don't think much about if I'm By Choice or By Chance anymore. Being a NotMom is simply who I am, and it's a significant part of my identity.
Why did you want to get involved in the NotMom Summit?
I attended the first-ever NotMom Summit in 2015. Within moments of reading The New York Times story earlier that year with a reference to the Summit, I signed up.
Walking into the meeting room knowing that everyone, like me, didn't have kids, was a heady, first-time experience. Because my work and writing is all about the myriad ways we NotMoms compose our lives, speaking on a 2017 panel that focuses on how we can show up more fully in conversations is a great match for me.
What are you looking forward to the most at the 2017 NotMom Summit?
I met some fabulous women of all ages at the first NotMom Summit in 2015, and I look forward to deepening many of those relationships. I also can't wait to make new connections with NotMoms from around the world.
I especially hope women over 50 will join us, because there are so many life options for us to share.
Join us at The NotMom Summit, October 6 and 7, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio! Register now!