Blog / 2019 / On Being a Childfree Artist Who Is Making Art for Children

August 31, 2019

I’m what’s called a “childfree mom.” That may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a thing—though apparently Google and Merriam-Webster haven’t caught on yet. Here, I’ll help:

CHILDFREE MOM - a person of any gender who nurtures the everliving snot out of a crap-ton of people who are not their children—adoptive or biological.

I only realized this was a thing when I met a childfree person a few years ago and came to see that she was momming me. Until I felt it, I didn’t know that her encouragement was something I’d been missing. It was different from my Maman and Papa’s support and different from the nurturing that I have received from other people’s parents. Once I’d recognized how this childfree person was influencing me, it wasn’t much of a leap to identify how I was playing this role for others.

A childfree mom’s love isn’t tied up in age, biology, or any other cultural ideas about what a parent is. When you are not raising a human being from scratch, you tend to have more time and space in your life, and this extra room translates into a different kind of affection.*

It’s one of the reasons why I’m making an animal alphabet book with your input. The book is for your kids obviously, but it’s also for the people I’m mom to, young and old, because there’s not an age limit on loving art, literacy, and wildlife.

M is for Monkey, mock-up for Gwenn Seemel’s ABC book
digital mock-up for animal alphabet book

M is not for monkey; M will stand for moose! I know this because a lovely person bought the right to name the animal for M, just like you can for another letter. (The image above is just a digital mock-up using an old painting to give you an idea of what the book will look like generally.)

*I am not saying that parents cannot love humanity because their own kids take up too much space in their hearts. Please, for the love of squirrel monkeys, do not try to cast me as a parent-hater. If you are feeling attacked by this blog post, I recommend turning inward to find the source of your frustration.

UPDATE

June 24, 2020

Baby Sees ABCs is out and available here! You can see all the illustrations from the book in this online gallery.


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