Having kids is overrated:
- Having kids is a career killer. Any honest parent will acknowledge that they devote less time and energy to work after becoming parents. Employers know it too, so they're less likely to hire and promote parents, especially moms because they, on average, want to spend more time with the children, self-efficacy inhibiting helicopter mom or not. The term "mommy track" exists for a reason.
- Having kids burdens coworkers. When a parent says she wants to leave work early to see her kid's soccer game or drive her to ballet, let alone take the 12 weeks per year of allowed Family and Marriage Leave, her child-free coworkers must often pick up the slack. So child-free workers subsidize "the breeders," as author of No Kids: 40 Good Reasons to Not Have Children, Corinne Maier calls them.
- Having kids is a relationship killer. It stresses a marriage, dampens sex life, and impedes friendships both because of unavailability and because parenthood tends to turn one into a one-track-mind bore: it's all about the kids. Many moms admit that being a parent "turned my brain into mush."
- Having kids is anti-environmental. Greenies assert that overpopulation in developed nations is the #1 environmental problem.
"Spare me the pretensions of martyrdom and selﬂessness. There’s nothing selfless about having a baby. “You really want to be selfless? Adopt." British journalist Polly Vernon writes,
- Having kids often means giving up on yourself. Maier writes, “Children are often used as an excuse for giving up on life without really trying. It takes real courage to say ‘Me first.'"
- Kids aren't as reliably a source of joy as is advertised. Maier calls labor, “torture,” and breastfeeding “slavery.” Even the best kids are wildly difficult, especially birth to two. And large percentages of kids get more difficult as they get older: trouble with school, drugs, pregnancy, and the common "I Hate You!" syndrome, which only sometimes ends after adolescence.
Many parents count on their children to take care of them in their old age. In fact, so many kids are estranged from their parents. I know more than a few adult children who'd like to see their parents dead.
Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, reports that childless marriages are happier and that people derive more satisfaction from eating, exercising, shopping, napping, or watching television than taking care of their kids: “Looking after the kids appears to be only slightly more pleasant than doing housework." Ann Landers famously asked readers: “If you had it to do over again, would you have children?” Seventy per cent of respondents said “no.
- Having kids wastes education. For example, women now represent half of medical students yet most women physicians who have children work part-time if at all. With the shortage of doctors, that means that patients are dying or staying sicker longer because of the lack of doctors. If medical schools considered applicant's likelihood of having children, many lives would be saved. But fear of women's groups' ire precludes that.
- Having kids is wildly expensive. It costs an average American $500,000 per child, not counting college. Maier describes kids as "money pits."
Maier advises, "If you really want to be host to a parasite, get a gigolo.”
The book I think is best on being child-free is Two is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice.