Is Child-Free the Way To Be?
You can listen to Episode 2 of Rosie & BJ Save The World with the player above or by clicking here.
In this episode of Rosie & BJ Save the World, the two co-hosts advocate for living a child-free life.
They argue that overpopulation contributes to the climate crisis — “The planet was not built for this many people,” BJ quips. “We’re overbooked like a New York City restaurant at 7 p.m. for dinner.”
Speaking of dinner, Rosie sees the child-free argument similarly to the nuanced approach to eating meat. Instead of being an omnivore-hating vegan, or a vegan-hating omnivore, a nuanced viewpoint calls for a decrease in meat consumption to reduce pollution.
“We’re not saying don’t eat meat — we’re saying limit,” Rosie explains, “That’s what I’m encouraging with the child-free view. You don’t have to have five kids, it’s not 1950.”
The co-hosts discuss the role advertising plays in priming the culture to idealize nuclear families.
“Children’s products are one of the biggest money makers,” BJ explains, “For about 40 years now we’ve been pumping that well and priming the pump with ‘You should have kids,’ and ‘Kids are great and look how wonderful they are.’ Advertisers discourage the discussion that we’re having on this show.”
Rosie and BJ suggest those interested in parenting do research on parent regret, societal pressures, and any unresolved personal trauma that may drive their desire to have kids.
Using herself as an example, Rosie admits she wanted to have five kids. But therapy made her see the issue quite differently. “I realized that I still had so much more work to do for myself. If I had a kid, I would just be putting all of my issues onto them.”
Consider the alternatives, people: Go to therapy, get a pet, freeze your sperm or eggs. There are many options to consider before making an 18-year commitment to raising offspring. And if someone does decide they’re ready, BJ and Rosie suggest adoption over procreation.
Rosie concludes, “I think what we’re saying is know why you want to do it and make sure you’re good before you do. You don’t have to be perfect, just be good.”
Quick Hits for Saving the World
🌎 Talk to people who have older kids about their experiences and if they have any regrets about being parents. Don’t only ask new parents in the cute first or second “chapters” of their parenting.
🌎 If you really want kids, consider adopting a child — don’t think of adoption as a last resort.
🌎 Parents are not automatically experts in parenting. Parenting is like a job, and parents need to constantly learn approaches for how to parent better.
🌎 Related to the point above: Go to therapy. Society’s jacked.
Resources for Saving the World
📚 “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, 1936.
⭐ Sprout.io allows you to search topics and organize results into saved categories.
📺 How the Egg Freezing Industry Preys on Fertility Fear, from “Adam Ruins Everything” on truTV.
📺 George Carlin on politicians using children as rhetorical shields.
📻 Abortion and Crime, Revisited, an update of the controversial study included in a “Freakonomics” chapter.
📑 “Mothers Who Regret Having Children” article in Marie Claire.
⭐ [Serious] Parents who regret having kids: Why? a Reddit thread.
📚 The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children, by Dr. Shefali Tsabary.
📚 “Adult Children of Alcoholics,” by Dr. Janet G. Woititz EdD.
⭐ NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness, a society that advocates for placing severely mentally ill people, not just ones that have threatened to hurt themselves or others, into mental health facilities.
📑 Having Kids Makes You Happier, But Only When They Move Out, an article in “New Scientist.”
⭐ Out of The Box, Rosie’s other podcast.
Support and Subscribe to Rosie & BJ Save the World on Anchor, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Top quotes from the episode:
[2:26] Rosie: “Parents and other people that have kids should listen. Child-free people are not the enemy that you need to recruit to your club. We’re actually helping to make space in the overcrowded world for your children.”
[7:47] BJ: “The planet was not built for this many people. We’re overbooked like a New York City restaurant at seven o’clock for dinner.”
[20:55] Rosie: “The only two right reasons to have a kid are that you are completely comfortable and happy in your life, and that you would like to help another human being reach their fullest potential. I think very few people have those reasons.”
[39: 54] BJ: “Children’s products are one of the biggest money makers. For about 40 years now we’ve been pumping that well and priming the pump with ‘You should have kids,’ and ‘Kids are great and look how wonderful they are.’ Advertisers discourage the discussion that we’re having on this show.”
[50:08] Rosie: “I think a lot of people think child-free people hate kids and we can’t stand them. Sometimes, I feel like I love kids more than people who have kids.”