More women than ever are choosing not to become moms. Society needs to be OK with it.

Hannah Blum is a 39-year-old corporate executive living in San Diego, California. Motherhood isn't her thing.

Sadly, she keeps encountering people who want to offer their sympathies to her — even during a routine trip to rent a movie at Redbox.


Hannah chooses not to have kids, and she's a very happy woman. All photos are from Hannah Blum and used with permission.

"After a bit of small talk with the guy in front of me in line, I told him that I didn't have any kids," Hannah said. "He was shocked that a woman like me didn't have kids and looked at me with pity to say he was 'so very sorry.' But actually, I just don't want kids."

You're a mom? Cool. We all love moms. But what about the women who choose not to be mothers?

It doesn't matter if its online or offline, it's almost impossible not to see imagery of motherhood at every turn.

America loves moms, as we should. GIF from "Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream."

Witnessing a woman caring and nurturing her children is a beautiful sight, and the world is undoubtedly a better place due to the great ladies who take motherhood seriously.

But more women than ever are choosing not to be mothers at all. In fact, the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey in 2014 noted that over 47% of women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 44 do not have children — the highest percent since the government began tracking that information.

Sadly, stigmas exist about what it means to be a child-free woman in America, so I asked Hannah to provide her thoughts on the situation.

1. She doesn't want any pity.

Experiences like the one at Redbox happen quite often, and when Hannah's child-free life is revealed to people, they react as if she revealed a terminal diagnosis or that she has a screw loose instead.

"Wait, you don't have kids? Sorry about that." GIF from "The Steve Harvey Show."

"It's not that I'm unable to have children or can't find a man," Hannah said. "I'm just extremely happy with my current lifestyle, and it's frustrating when society doesn't understand that."

2. It doesn't mean she hates kids.

Hannah grew up in a family with six children. Not only that, but by the time she was 15, she babysat her 2-year-old twin sisters and her 3-year-old brother while her parents enjoyed a their weekly Saturday night date. She loved it.

"I bathed them, sang to them, read to them, fed them, kissed their boo-boos, you name it, I did it," Hannah said. "And it was fun for me."

Even today, Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends' kids. She's even pretty good at soothing crying babies because she had plenty of experience when she was a teenager.

In other words, she loves kid time but doesn't want it all of the time.

Hannah enjoys spending time with her friends' kids, Sadie (left) and Dana.

Today, she enjoys coming and going as she pleases, sleeping in on weekends, and watching her beloved New England Patriots play football uninterrupted. "I'm thankful that I can enjoy my friends' kids as often as I'd like, but I also enjoy some me-time," Hannah said. "By not having kids of my own, I have that choice."

3. It doesn't mean she's selfish.

This is the big one.

Oftentimes Hannah and her child-free friends are labeled as selfish. Being a good parent means putting your kids' needs before your own, right?

Hannah looks at it a little differently.

"I'm the friend who will pick you up in the middle of the night because your boyfriend broke up with you," Hannah said. "I also volunteer many hours a week cleaning garbage from our oceans, working at homeless shelters, and raising money to find a cure for cancer. That doesn't seem all that selfish to me."

Hannah (center, red shirt) pictured at the national leadership conference for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2014. She's the chapter chairperson for the San Diego-Hawaii region.

Shouldn't we celebrate people who don't want to be parents?

Parenting is hard. People with and without kids know that. Moms and dads deserve all of the credit in the world for taking on such an important task.

But if an individual feels that he or she doesn't want to raise kids, shouldn't we be glad they realized that before trying to have a baby?

That alone makes the world a better place.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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