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Season 2 #13 Tanya Williams

I am speaking to Tanya Williams about her wide range of work as a childfree activist and advocate. This includes her book (A Childfree Happily Ever After), the Childfree Magazine, projects to support childfree people in the workplace and her ideas on how we can expand and progress the Childfree movement.

She shares some great advice on how we can all start to make changes in our daily life to help this. I found this conversation very inspiring about the prospect of further positive change and I hope you do too.

For more information on Tanya's projects, resources and to order your copy of Childfree Magazine, click here -

Episode Transcript:

Margaret O Connor 0:09 Welcome to season two of the Are Kids For Me podcast. I will continue to speak to people in a range of different circumstances about their personal and/or professional experience of answering this question. Thank you so much for your positive feedback on season one. And I really hope you find these episodes useful. My guest today is Tony Williams, she is the Amazon number one best selling author of the book 'A Childfree Happily Ever After', and founder of 'Childfree Magazine'. She believes that all women should make their own rules and do what is right for them. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur, author and speaker, and child free advocate whose key message is around the C word - choice. Her goal is to change the dialogue around being childfree from judgment, criticism and having to adhere to different rules to one of support and acceptance. Her personal mantra is never let anyone dull your sparkle. We speak about her wide range of work as an activist and advocate in the childfree community. This includes her book, the child free magazine, her projects for childfree people in the workplace, and her ideas on how we can expand and progress the childfree movement. She shares some great advice about how we can all start to make changes in our daily lives to help with this. This conversation left me feeling quite excited about the prospect of future positive change. And I hope it does the same for you. So Tanya, I'm delighted to talk to you. So it's nighttime here in Ireland, and it's early morning with you in Brisbane, Australia. So I'm delighted to be able to talk to you today. Tanya Williams 1:45 Lovely to be here and chatting. Margaret O Connor 1:47 Brilliant. So we have gotten to know each other a bit, I suppose over the last few years kind of through the the childfree community. And so I suppose it's I thought it'd be nice to get to talk to you today and to talk a bit about your own kind of background, but also around the work that you're doing because you're extremely active, in lots of different projects. I thought it would be really nice to get a chance to talk about some of those today. And so yeah, maybe would you be able to kind of trace kind of your story through, I suppose. I don't know, was it a discovery or a realization around your childfree situation and kind of how that led you into into the work that you're doing now? Tanya Williams 2:27 Sure. So I mean, I always knew that I didn't want to have children from from a young age. So I was always quite vocal about that. And you know, like most of us, I'd get the typical reactions of you'll change your mind when you get older. And when you get married and all that sort of stuff. And, you know, went through all that, like a lot of us do. You know, I'm I've been married for 26 years. So my, I had that conversation with my husband early on. And I said if you want children, then this is not going to work because I'm not going to change my mind for you or your family or anybody. And luckily, he was on board with that and quite happy to it was like, you know, he's he likes his lifestyle as he likes his lifestyle as well. So, so we're very much on the same page, which is, which is important. But I mean, I was just happily living my life and doing my thing, and, and so forth. And then, you know, I hadn't really heard about this childfree movement as such. I mean, for many years, I thought I was alone, I very rarely came across anybody who didn't want to have children. And often it was something that wouldn't be spoken about anyway. So you know, a lot of the people that I'd work with, either had kids, or would talk about having kids. So it was not like I was I was never hiding it. I was certainly vocal about the fact that I didn't want to have kids. But I thought, wow, is there anyone else out here that doesn't want to have children or is just me? So it wasn't until probably about 2000, I actually met someone who was my boss at the time, who was like, oh god, no, we don't want kids either. I was like, oh, they're are, there is more than one. So after that, I think you I became a bit more aware of it. And then it was, you know, I you know, seeing more people and hearing more people say that, but it probably wasn't until the last few years where I've really noticed what I called the childfree movement and childfree groups and people and finding books and all that sort of stuff. And I went, Oh, this is fantastic. This is exactly what we need. Because I think so many people feel that way where they feel like, you know, am I this lone soul that you know, and I'm the only one that thinks like this, especially if their in smaller communities or in communities that are very much centered around family. So you know, I got the idea for the book. So I've had the book now three and a half years, 'A Childfree Happily Ever After'. And I actually got the idea after seeing a Facebook post. Someone had posted about people parking in parent parks, and oh my god, the passion and the aggression and so forth between parents and non parents on the topic was just like, I blew my mind and I went, this is crazy like this.. I'm gonna I need to write about this because people were just so anti childfree people are so selfish and who do they think they are? And I was like, well hang on a minute. So that just triggered the idea. And I actually had had the idea of writing a book a few years earlier and didn't really pursue it. So I was like, right, now's the time. And that's when I decided that I wanted the book to be, you know, not just focused on the childfree life, but I wanted to share all aspects of the story. So, you know, women who are childfree by choice, women who are childfree by circumstance, women who were mums and happy being mums, and women who are mums and regretted it, because I think it's really important that women see all sides of it. So they can see what it's like for mums who are happy, mums who regret it, and so forth. So they can get a better understanding about what that world look like. I think often they say the insta version. And they don't say the real version. So I think that that was a really important story to tell. And ironically enough, it was nine months from the idea to the launch. I sort of birthed my own baby (laughter) a certain degree. And that's really where my journey started, I suppose. Margaret O Connor 6:17 Okay. And I really love that because I've read your book, I read your book, but I love that like straightaway, you're opening it out, because we have this binary or we see this binary of.. It's like, you know, your 100% mother or 100% anti that. And it's really not, like it's so much more nuanced and complicated, because we're human, and everything is more complicated. And that's a real theme. I think, throughout your work, you're always acknowledging that. And you know I guess it can be quite easy to kind of fall into that trap. You know, it's almost simpler. It would be simpler if it was just that straightforward, but it's not and you investigate that and explore that a lot. So what kind of response did you get to the book at the time? Tanya Williams 7:00 Oh, look, I've I've gotten a fantastic response. The feedback has been fantastic. Even even mothers that have read it. And friends of mine who have said, oh my god, like you've raised so many things I hadn't even thought of in terms of helping us me raise my girls and my children. A friend of mine had a daughter who was about 18 or 19, and she said, I was reading things that I went, oh, I hadn't thought about that. I hadn't thought about the way that I'd pose conversations with her. And when she was saying about, you know, being a mom and wanting to be a mom thinking, well hang on a minute, she has a choice, you know, and another friend of mine had a young daughter and she was like when her daughter was coming to her and saying oh mommy when I'm going to when I grow up and have babies and she'd say, if you have babies and you might decide that you don't want to and whatever you choose is fine. So she said it made her reframe the conversation she was having. And I was getting emails from people all over the world, say, hey, I'm in Canada or in I'm in England, I'm here. And you know, and this is, you know, great because I don't feel alone and I feel heard. And, you know, I would I would be getting emails and I'd start crying and my husband is like, why are you crying, I'm like, this is why this is why I wrote the book, I said just to know that you've touched someone's life or made an impact on their day just means so much to me. So you know, that it's little things that you can do that make a difference I think. Margaret O Connor 8:28 Fabulous. And I think it always, I don't know if surprise is the right word..but you know, the themes are so universal. So even though people are living in very different circumstances around the world, you know, being able to relate to people's stories, you know, it's a really, really powerful thing. And that there's very universal themes in this area. Perfect. So how did you decide then after the book, what did you kind of progress on to after that? Tanya Williams 8:55 I think it was more I mean, initially, it was about promoting the book. And as I became, I suppose more involved in different groups and sort of chatting to more people I just met, you know, more, you know, people in the community and was sort of talking to them about different things. And, and that's when I started to start and think well ok, what can I do now? Like, what are the next steps here? So you know, I started doing interviews and so forth on on video interviews and putting those on YouTube and talking to people like, you know, Therese, who's, you know, creating the documentary 'My So Called Selfish Life'. And Marcia Drut Davis and people like that, who have been really instrumental and a big part of moving the movement forward. So it was just, you know, little things like that. And then I decided to create an online course for women who were undecided because I was getting a lot of people saying, I don't know, if I want kids and I don't know who to talk to about it. So that's where I created the Childfree Choices program, which is a nine month program on purpose this time, which went through the different areas that they needed to consider about what it looks like and what how, what it looks like from a work perspective and dealing with the pressure and having those difficult conversations and all those types of things. And then I sort of I don't know, it just progressed from there. And then one day, I was looking at something online, and I was seeing all these magazines and I went, the one thing we don't have is a magazine for child free people. Why is that? That is crazy. And then I noticed, we have all these magazines for parenting, and there's a magazine on just about every topic you can possibly imagine. And I went right, now, I've got to do something about this. And that's when I had the idea to create 'Childfree Magazine'. And we've just launched our second issue. And that's just been a massive learning curve. I've never, I'm not a publisher, I'm not an author. I mean, I'm an author, I'm not a journalist as such, you know, I had no idea I just jumped in feet first, and went I'm just going to give this a go. And, um, yeah, I've been really happy with the results and what the magazine looks like, and you know, the articles that we've gotten so far. So that was the next step, Margaret O Connor 11:04 Oh really amazing. And I know, obviously, I'm biased, because I have an article in the second one (laughter) but for both both issues, I really think are so amazing. And like, it looks amazing. All the images, you know, you're literally sounds so basic, but you're seeing images that look like you, you know, like, people out doing things, but just not the usual, maybe children focused or family family with children focused images. And all the articles are interesting (laughter). Like, you're not just flicking through looking for one that might be of interest to you. Tanya Williams 11:35 And there's so many, I've got so many ideas. And you know, other people were posing so many ideas that you know, that wanted to be part of it. And it was like, oh god, I wish I could just fit everything. But you know, and I mean, that's the brilliant thing, there's certainly plenty of content. And I was really mindful of the images that we were using and having different types of articles that sort of covered all different types and different aspects of the child free life and making sure that there wasn't a pregnant woman on the cover (laughter). All these types of things we get in a typical magazine, so it was very, okay, you know, we're so sick of seeing all that. This is all about childfree people, our lives, our challenges, our issues, and obviously some fun stuff as well. And that's what the focus was on both issues. Margaret O Connor 12:20 I do, I really like that, and like you've gotten, like, from loads of different perspectives, and you've Marcia and I think Laura Carroll had an article as well about ageing, or perspectives of being an older childfree person and then you do have the fun, you've the horoscopes and the childfree travel destinations. Like it's, it's all in there, really. And will there be a third one? Can you think about it yet? Tanya Williams 12:44 Look, I would love to but the issue, I suppose is I've bootstrapped this. So it's, you know, it cost me money to create it because we don't have sponsors. You know, this is not my full time job. This is a passion project, finding the time to even reach out to sponsors and advertisers is is very difficult. And I need to see the support of the childfree community. So you know, we haven't sold a lot of copies. So unless I sell the copies to go well there's actually an interest in this, then it's hard to justify putting more money into another one. So, you know, if we, if I do another one, that would be it would be probably early next year. But I really need to, you know, see the childcare community go yeah, actually we want this. So let's support it. So we can keep it happening. Because the feedback on it, the people have read it have gone this is fantastic, we want more, but we need more people to read it as well. So that is my challenge at the moment. Margaret O Connor 13:41 Okay. That's really interesting. I hadn't thought actually, about the sponsorship part, but you know, you hear I mean, we know the statistics, we know, there are a lot of childfree people out there. We hear a lot, that that market is not being tapped, you know, every other market is being tapped to death. And we're kind of going, you know we might have some money, we might have some time we, we might be interested in your products (laughter). But people don't really seem to notice that as a target market. It's really interesting. Tanya Williams 14:08 Certainly from marketing perspective. There's so many brands that don't understand that you don't have to market if it's a product for women. It doesn't have to have to be marketed to mothers. And that's a whole other topic there. But, and that's a big problem. Margaret O Connor 14:08 Yeah absolutely, it is interesting. Yeah. Okay, so look, I can unashamedly encourage people to check out the magazines, really, you know, both issues are really, really high quality and really relevant information. So I'll put a link into that at the end. And so yeah, you know, you're you're involved in lots of different things. So I know another one another project is kind of around the childfree people in the workplace. How's that going? Tanya Williams 14:50 Yeah. Look, it's like, I know that there's been so many people impacted by the choice to be childfree and how that's impacted them in the workplace. I certainly experienced that. I know a lot of people did. I recently did a survey called 'Childfree People at Work'. And I had 1000 responses to that in a number of days, I could not believe how quickly people were jumping in there going, hey, I want to have my say, I want to share my story and tell you what's happened to me. So that just floored me. And these were people from all over the world. So it wasn't just, you know, one or two countries, it was everyone saying, hey, I'm in Germany, aha, you know, I'm in, you know, South America, I'm in, you know, Australia. I mean, like, whatever. It was everybody saying, we're all experiencing the same issues. So to me, that was an that's an area that I want to focus on and help people navigate that. And what they do, and I see stories all the time in, in different groups of people that are saying, hey, this is what's just happened. And it really amazes me that it's allowed to happen. There are you know, even HR people that are letting it happen, bosses that are letting it happen and you just go how, you know, it's the rude comments and the statements. And oh no you don't have kids, so you're not a priority. And like just the blatant statements and stuff that are made that are wrong on so many levels. And just the, you know, the stats that came out of that, in terms of people who were, had experienced that and had left their job, or had thought about leaving their job, you know, close to half the people, you know, that were surveyed said, yep, I've either left a job because of it or thought of leaving. You know, it's just so there's, there's a lot of room there to do. So what I'm trying to do in that space at the moment is, I'm in the process of creating like a little free download for employees who are childfree to help them navigate it, I'm also creating a bigger version, around that, which will be a low cost thing that employers can buy, to help them to go this is how you need to be dealing with a situation. So from an HR perspective, and from a manager's perspective. So it gives them some back some practical tools. I've got a webinar that I'm the free webinar that they can, they can join and be part of. And then from there, I want to do workshops in the workplace as well to, to help people understand and the problem that we have often is, so many of the people who are making these decisions are parents, so therefore they don't think there's a problem. They go, oh, that's really been an issue. And it's like well, actually, you know, there's that one in close to one in four women are choosing not to have children. So there are going to be women in your organization that this actually impacts. And I had, I had a conversation I remember with a large telecommunications company here in Australia, and the committee that it went to was my I found out afterwards was all made up of mothers, went oh this isn't relevant for us. And so you've got 12,000 female employees. So you basically just want to dismiss it, because you're all mothers, it doesn't exist. And that's where we're needing education, and change. I did an interview, a podcast interview with a gentleman who was an HR person, and he said just from the content that I've been sharing on on Instagram, because we're connected on Instagram. He goes, wow, is it really made me sit back and think what I was doing when I was in that sort of role, and he goes I was guilty about some of the things that you were saying. And he goes I went, oh, wow. And I need to sit back and look at my actions. And we need to look at this and go, what do I need to do different moving things differently moving forward? And that's what I would like to see from the work that I'm doing there. It's just people going, okay, I acknowledge that maybe I haven't handled this properly. So how do I do it better? And how do I be more open for the childfree people that work in our workplace, and we will and we do better by them. So it's about starting the conversation in workplaces acknowledging that there is a problem. And that's, I think, a big part of what I'm trying to do. Margaret O Connor 18:55 Okay. So for some people, it's complete lack of awareness that they genuinely don't know, this is a thing. And then other people..I don't know is it fair to say it's a lack of interest or not thinking it's an important enough issue to consider? Tanya Williams 19:10 I mean, both of those things first, I mean, the first point is that awareness and going well this probably is an issue. It's something you know, by for some people in your workplace. The second is acknowledging that and going, okay, we'll acknowledge it could be a problem. And then I suppose the next step is, well, what do we do to make it better? That's what I'm trying to sort of bring as is those three touch points. So you know, and you know, and it's a worldwide problem, it's the same problem everywhere in the world. So it doesn't matter if they are in Ireland or, you know, Germany or Australia or Canada or wherever. It's, it's, you know, it's a global issue that, you know, we can address and I think it's an important one. Margaret O Connor 19:48 Absolutely. Do you know from the survey or the feedback, do women experience of more than men or is different? Tanya Williams 19:55 Yeah, yeah. Certainly, there were stories that came out of it from men who had been, you know, discriminated because they weren't fathers and so forth, and they hadn't got promotion because the father needed it more and, you know, all these types of situations, but definitely, it seems to seems to be more of a female issue. Because typically women are the ones that that will go off, you know, will leave the workplace and go and have children and come back and be on maternity leave, and all these types of types of things. And, you know, part of the problem is how we define family in the workplace, you know, family is typically defined as someone with children. So that's the first issue that that how we redefine what a family looks like. And I think if COVID has sort of taught us anything, it's it's taught us that family is not just blood relatives, you know, people have had to rely on friends and neighbors and people in their community to help them because their family lives in other countries or other states, and can't be near them. So that surely in itself is a is a red flag for these companies to go yeah, actually, we need to look at how we redefine family. And then the policies that are in place, you know, they're all geared around taking leave if you have children, where it's like, well, that's my stance is having a child is a life choice. Not having a child is a life choice as well. So if I choose to run a marathon, or write a book, or travel the world, they're life choices as well, but they're not acknowledged. But having a child is acknowledged, even though they're all personal choices, they all still impact the workplace. And that's that some people go well, why is it the workplaces job to fund that but it's like well, they do that for a life choice, which is having children, what's the difference? Margaret O Connor 21:41 Okay. So that life choice is prioritized over pretty much everything else? (laughter) Tanya Williams 21:46 Yeah, yeah. Margaret O Connor 21:48 Okay. So what, I suppose what would a solution be? Is is a more generic kind of leave system? Or..? Tanya Williams 21:56 Yeah Like I mean, I think I think what we need to have is rather than maternity leave, and paternity leave, and those types of things, or carer's leave, or, you know, whatever we want to call those different things is we just have, you know, a flexible leave policy. And that could be for, okay, well, I'm going to have a baby, or I actually want, you know, six months to go and travel or I'm training for a marathon or, you know, whatever, or I've got to, you know, move home and care for my mother who's ill, or, you know, whatever that might be, they're all life choices and circumstances and so forth. So I think there has to be a greater flexibility around, taking leave out of the workplace, and like, I'm not saying it has to be paid. But just the ability to go, yeah, okay, you can go and take three months off, or six months off, or whatever, just like a parent, and you know, a new parent can. So I think there needs to be greater flexibility. And we change, we need to change that terminology. as well to open that up. Margaret O Connor 22:51 Okay. That would be such a huge shift wouldn't it, like it would be a huge shift in mindset. Tanya Williams 22:58 The thing is, when you have the conversation, with people in HR, they all go, Oh my god, this is so huge, like this..but its not actually, it's just they are simple things that can be done, you're just making them over complicated. They don't need to be complicated. It is a massive shift in thinking. But in terms of what needs to happen, I don't think it's as complicated as they like to make it out to be. Margaret O Connor 23:21 Okay. And so I know I was part of you, you organized a conversation, among the other 5 million things you did in July, and on the international Childfree Day, you organized a panel discussion, which I was really glad to take part in. But that whole conversation was around this so kind of the big conversation of how we can move things on, kind of expand and progress the movement. And that was that was part of that discussion. So you know how to kind of go outside of our own, like, It's fantastic to have such a positive childfree community, but to expand outside of that, to branch out and kind of progress further. So yeah, I mean, that's, that's obviously a large part of it, but we covered quite a few topics that night (laughter). And, yeah, is that is that kind of your, your priority at the moment or your passion project at the moment? Tanya Williams 24:12 Yeah, I think my stance on this is, is we need to have bigger and broader conversations. It needs to extend outside of the childfree community if we want to see change happening. So you know, it's great that we've got all these you know, groups and books and podcasts and you know, movies coming out and all that sort of stuff is fantastic. And we've got all these childfree voices and everyone's you know, a lot of people got different platforms and different things that they are focused on which is which is great. But I think the next thing is well we need to go further than that, we need to you know, be looking at how we educate girls, not just girls but all children but it is predominantly girls around being allowed to have a choice around what they do with their body, how we educate them, what what you know, and that starts with things like the books that they're given, the stories that they're told, the way that the parents are framing conversations with them, you know, the education, all that sort of side of it. We need to be talking to parents, you know, and going, it's not an us versus you situation, it doesn't need to be like that, you know, we can have respectful conversations, we can understand each other's point of view. You know, one of the things I hate is people talking badly about parents and some of the names they use for the, the kids and stuff, it's just horrible and disrespectful and it's like well, if you want respect for your choice, you've got to respect their choice, you can't be calling them names and saying all these things, and then expect them to think that they're going to respect you. So there needs to be these respectful conversations with parent groups and so forth to say, you know, hey, this is what our choice looks like, and, and, you know, why are you so against that, and, and be respectful of, you know, the choices that we're making. We need to have, you know, conversations in the workplace, we need to be looking at government policy, you know, things like reproductive rights, where, you know, we've seen a change in government in the US where they, they know, they'll try to make big changes to laws that have been around for a long time. So, you know, you know, schools and how schools are, you know, educating children and stuff. So there's lots of different areas that I mean, too much for little old me to do (laughter). But I think we all play a part in just going a step further, and going well, how can I, you know, play a part in in the bigger change? What, what does that look like, for me? I mean, if what if every person did one little thing, then that can create a huge change. You know, and it's all about, you know, everyone being involved in, in this bigger movement to go, well, let's..if we want change, let's do something to make it happen and not complain about it. Because at the moment, it's like it everyone's whinging about it, you know, we complain, but well, what can we do? Well, there are practical things that we can start to do, that will make things better, you know, certainly for the next generation coming through. And hopefully, the generations moving forward, you know, even if it doesn't impact us directly, but has a positive change down down the line. And I think that's a great thing. Margaret O Connor 27:21 Yes okay, It's part of our legacy. But it does feel like things are progressing very quickly, even in, I'm going to say, kind of the last five years, like, or even seven years, like, yeah, suddenly, there are loads of books, load of podcasts, and you know, there are so many materials out there, if you're looking for them, or once you start looking for them, you'll find them really quickly. What are some of the things that maybe, you know, listeners could could do themselves in their own? What are some of those small things that people could do? Tanya Williams 27:53 I mean, a lot of them a little things. So in, I think the workplace, for example, if they're in the workplace, and they they overhear a conversation of someone that has been, you know, given, like a rude comment or a statement, you know, stand up for that person, you know, say, you know, by saying, hey, that's not okay. You can't say that to him or her or, hey, that doesn't seem very fair, or, or having just a little voice around it, and not just letting it lie and go, well, geez, I don't want to get involved in this conversation. Because a lot of people, you know, will do that, because they're in fear of their own job or whatever. But just little things like saying, hey, that doesn't sound fair. Not excluding people, you know, often you hear in workplaces, where mom groups get together at lunchtime, and they'll exclude people who don't have kids, because what would you know, you're you're not, you're not, you don't, you're not going to understand our conversation, or it's not going to be relevant. Little things like that have a big impact on other people. Certainly, you know, so little things like that, you know, when it comes to educating girls or interacting with girls think about the, the, the gifts, you might buy your, your nieces and nephews, you know, rather than buying them a doll, maybe you can buy them, you know, something that's a bit less, not less feminine, but you know, like, that's, that's not promoting motherhood, that maybe is more around education, or, you know, or something like that. So it's, it's those little types of things where we go, okay, there's a problem here or even you know, when it comes to, you know, policies and stuff like that, if things are happening in a local government, be vocal about it. And, you know, it could be sending an email to you to your local member and saying, hey, I don't agree with this, this law or this thing that's happened and this is why, because I think a part of it is is that people who aren't childfree, all the families and parents don't realize that there's a big movement, that like there are a lot of people who are childfree by choice. So it's it's sort of like a hidden underground movement, if you think about it that way, because it's not on their, their, their awareness in any way. So if we're more vocal about it, it becomes, you know, they become more aware of it and go, oh wow, there's actually more people than we thought that that was relevant for. So, particularly with governments, you know what, we just had our census here. And there was a lot of people saying in one of the groups, well there was no question, although there was a question for women around how many children you had, the men didn't get the same question. But it didn't ask if you were childfree by choice. It just said the question was, how many kids you had? So they were like, well, hang on, there's a problem right there. Because there it's not. It's not accounting for the people who are going well, yeah I don't have any kids. But that's by choice. Yeah. So yeah, so we're not they're not.. governments aren't documenting or collecting the stats they need to around this as well, which would help then market us brand products, it would help with people making decisions about what's happening in communities, and what's getting what's gets taught in schools, and all those types of things. So we need the data to back up what's happening, you know. Margaret O Connor 31:10 Definitely, yeah, because I think I was saying to you it is even different, how it is categorised between here and the UK, the census is different. And whether whether you regard yourself as childless or childfree or whether you get that option at all, is not consistent. So yeah, we're not.. Tanya Williams 31:27 You even mentioned data when we when we had our panel, about the fact that, you know, we need the data to back up, we know what people are thinking, we know we're out there, but unless we've got the numbers to show, hey, look, this is these are real stats, it makes it hard. Margaret O Connor 31:43 Yeah, absolutely. And they are all things. You know, it's not that you have to be out on the street marching, but like in your daily life, as we know, opportunities present themselves pretty frequently, where it's, it's just even that thing of switching the question from when to if, you know, that in itself is so huge, because it means so much, even just, you know, questioning that or highlighting that or just, well, what did you do at the weekend? Well, you know, I went and did these things are I didn't do anything at all, you know, as was just highlighting the options that are there is, you know, I don't think anyone's out to convert anyone. I think, you know, I say that a lot but it's really just highlighting the choice. And then people can make whatever choice is best for them. Tanya Williams 32:31 If you think about the questions you get asked if you go to an event with a work event or a private event, one of the first questions you get asked is also how many kids do you have? Why? Like, because that's just what's been done for so many years, where it's that it's now time to reframe that and go, no, that's yeah.. we don't need to be asking that question, because it's really not relevant. But yeah.. Margaret O Connor 32:55 I was talking to Ali, who she runs a Twitter account a few episodes ago and she was saying how, as well, she notices herself how she's become much less defensive when people ask her questions. So maybe before, you know, somebody might ask you a question that is annoying. And you have been asked 10 times before, and there's no reason for it to be asked. And, you know, you mightn't just be in the mood on that particular day (laughter) to give a mature response let's say, but she said that she's found it easier. And then that that in itself is kind of showing, well, I'm fine with this. So like whatever you're doing is your thing. But like I'm actually fine over here and that in itself says a lot. And it's just like, okay, well, this is what I'm doing, you know, what are you doing? You know, and so I know and I know, that can take practice, and it depends on the mood and the time and whatever else is happening. Tanya Williams 33:49 How the person asks that question is another thing as well, if they come at it in a really aggressive way, it's only natural that you're going to be defensive. Whereas if they, they seem to be quite, you know, it seems to be an innocent question there and they're open to a response, then it is easier to respond in a less defensive way as well. But yeah, that certainly that's a little thing that you can do yeah. Margaret O Connor 34:07 Yeah, I thought it was interesting. Yeah. Because I suppose that that gives a message in itself. Yeah. Fantastic. So yeah, and you know, it was a really and that panel discussion is available on your YouTube channel. So if anybody wants to watch it back, but there was, I mean, there was lots of very good practical suggestions on lots of things. And again, we might not get to do them all. But you know, there's huge potential, and I kind of came away from that. And I was thinking, gosh, yeah, there really is huge potential. And people are really creative. And as you said, there's lots of different ways we're approaching this. You know, there are films, there's photography projects, there's magazines and blogs and podcasts, you know, there...It's quite exciting really hopefully! And so, you know, in five or 10 years time when we're reviewing all the progress hopefully, there should be quite a lot. Yeah. Tanya Williams 34:58 Well, as you've said it feels like there's just there has been a big shift in the last few years with because we've just seen a number of things, you know, conversations and groups and everything increasing. So, you know, I think that's all steps in the right direction, and it's all positive. So it's just a matter of going well, let's just take that step further. Margaret O Connor 35:19 Brilliant. Brilliant. And yeah, is that everything you've got going on at the moment? Is there anything we have forgotten? (laughter) Tanya Williams 35:28 Is that not enough/ (laughter). I mean, I've been obviously, this is something that I'm really passionate about, it is hard to, to juggle all this with, you know, this is not a this is not I don't get paid for this work. So I have to put some sort of focus back on on earning an income and running my main business full time. But you know, I think, you know, if I can make an impact in these small ways and do that, then that's a that's a positive thing. But look, my message has always been around choice. And women having the choice to do what's right for them. So whether they want to have one child, 10 kids, no kids, do what's right for you, but be educated around what that's going to look like as well. Because I think too often, women fall into the pattern of, oh, okay, I've got married, now have kids. And then there's this whole, you know, this is just a natural progression. And without even, I've actually had people say to me, I didn't even think about it, I just did it because it was like a pre programmed thing. And I think it's just important for women to realize that, hey, it is a huge step to become a mother, it is a lifelong commitment that is going to change your life in every possible way. You have to be 100% in and if you're even thinking, oh, I'm not really sure, then it's probably not right for you to go and do that. But that's that's the choice you have to make. And that's the explanation, you know, and the education, you need to get yourself to figure out what's going to work for you, you know? Margaret O Connor 37:00 Yeah, absolutely. Well I think it's fair to say you've made a huge difference already. And I've no doubt we'll continue to do so. So watch out Australian workplaces, you're coming for them. (laughter) Tanya Williams 37:13 Workplaces around the world! (laughter) Margaret O Connor 37:18 Brilliant. Oh, no. It really is. It really is amazing. And I have to say, you know, you are very inspiring. You're always full of energy. You're always in great form. I'm always wrecked after talking to you because the time difference. Tanya Williams 37:29 Yeah because I don't have children (laughter). Margaret O Connor 37:33 Yeah, ah no it's fantastic. And I really, you know, honestly, I think the magazine is so amazing. So I really, really encourage people to invest in a copy of that because it really will be worthwhile. So fantastic to catch up with you and and on all the projects. And it's really exciting, really looking forward to seeing what other projects you come up with. So thanks a million. It was really great to talk to you today. Tanya Williams 37:56 Thank you, and thank you for all you're doing and for having podcasts like this that help you know people through this whole childfree world we live in. So yeah, back at ya! Margaret O Connor 38:14 Thanks very much to my guests for taking part and to you for listening. I would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for other topics you would like to see covered in this series. I would also love to build a community of like minded people, so please follow the Are Kids For Me pages on Facebook and Instagram if you want to find out more in this topic. I look forward to hearing from you and watch out for the next episode soon. Transcribed by

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Aspasia Bryant
Aspasia Bryant
Aug 21, 2021

Thanks for sharing. This was a nice, informative talk on a vital subject....................... from the Ozarks of the USA

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