A New Community Tribe: The First NotMom Summit

Months ago I was asked to participate in an event that would be the first of its kind. You never know what to expect in these situations but my participation made sense. This was the first ever conference for women without children. The idea was to bring together women who made the choice to not have children as well as those who did want kids but over time and circumstance find themselves without them.

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The first-ever NotMom Summit took place in Cleveland, Ohio on October 9th and 10th.

I really want to start by thanking the organizers, Karen Malone Wright and her assistant, Laura M. LaVoie. (Laura has contributed guest posts to this blog.) They were the first to step off that curb and take the risk without knowing what kind of traffic was heading their direction. This was a dream for Karen and with sheer will and a shoestring budget, she and her team made it happen.

IMG_3156As you might imagine, I spoke about community living as we age. I partnered with Stephanie Fallcreek from Fairhill Partners in Cleveland.

Women without children are tired of hearing the question, “But who will take care of you when you’re old?” And I’ve seen from first-hand experience that children aren’t the universal answer. So I spoke to a packed room about creating a plan and steps to start right away. I challenged the women to go home and develop their action plan. I told them to do just one thing that could start them on their path to the future of their making.

A word that I heard a lot while at the Summit was “Tribe.” The women who gathered all had one experience in common so many said they felt like they had found their tribe. And it is our tribe that can make a difference as we age.

“For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” -Seth Godin

The women at the Summit communicated with laughter. They communicated with tears. They were, all together, a tribe. For two days, women from all over the world (including Iceland and China) were together in one place. We were a community that came together for a few days and left transformed based on who we met, what we heard, and our shared experiences. We would never be the same.

I was honored to be a part of the first-ever NotMom Summit and I understand what it means to be a trailblazer. The path is unclear and dark at times but the journey is necessary. Someone has to start it. Thank you for letting me be a part of making history.

Women For Living in Community