Someone alerted me that Dr. Phil was doing a show on the childfree today and that I needed to watch, so I taped it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it, as Dr. Phil is almost as bad as Oprah for pandering to stay-at-home-mommydom, but I decided to risk it and made sure to have the barf bag handy.
It wasn’t a great segment but it wasn’t terrible. It was a short, maybe 6-minute segment squished in the midst of telling other (un-related) stories and a series of in-show commercials for ABC primetime shows. (groan)
The couple described themselves as “childless” rather than childfree, leading me to believe there will be a follow-up episode three years from now with them holding their new baby after they’ve seen “the light.” Time will tell. But for this show, they told Dr Phil about why they don’t want kids and how his mother is putting pressure on them.
The segment started out making them look incredibly dumb. The first thing they said about why they don’t want children (for now) was,
If we had children it would limit our ability to watch certain movies.
This immediately made me think of the Jeff Foxworthy routine where he says, And you know the thing is, southerners are as smart as anybody else in this country, our only problem is we just can’t keep the most ignorant amongst us off the television. That’s the truth. I mean, every time we have a disaster, they never film a doctor or a lawyer, they always get that woman in the muumuu and the sponge rollers.
Did Dr Phil and his staff specifically look for a couple who would lead off with remarks like that to diminish the childfree choice? I know, I’m not supposed to attack other childfree people, but let’s be fair. If he had on some ditz talking about why she just has to have kids, and the first reason for having kids out of her mouth was, “I want kids so I can go play at Chuck E Cheese!” we’d all be going, “Oh what a dumb bitch! You’re going to create a human being for THAT reason? As if you can’t go to Chuck E Cheese anyway!!”
And conversely, if someone’s first excuse for not having kids is that they want to watch R rated movies, they are going to look like dumbasses. Everyone, parents and non-parent alike are going to think, “Really? REALLY?” I know that in our childfree communities we joke that once you have kids, you no longer get to have any fun or do anything anymore, but you people don’t really believe that, do you? People with kids watch R rated movies all the time – probably more than we do. There are still two couples left in the United States who get a sitter and go out to see their R rated movies at the theater, sans kids. A few dozen rent movies and watch them after the kids are in bed, and the rest all just watch the R rated movies with their kids! So… judges? Yes, we’re all in agreement. That was the lamest ass reason not to have kids I’ve ever seen. Did they have to say that?!
I’m fairly certain that this was spiteful editing by someone on Dr Phil’s staff, wanting to make this couple look dumb and idiotic, but honestly, if I was going on Dr Phil, I wouldn’t list all the little piddly reasons I don’t want kids. I’d only tell them the important ones. This way they wouldn’t have the opportunity to lead off with a dumb reason like that and make me look like a fool. Just last week I was talking to a friend who was complaining about her kids and I laughed and said to her, “This is why I don’t have kids! I don’t have to share any of the good toys with them!!” and while there is some truth to that, I wouldn’t say THAT while being interviewed for a national television program. Even if it’s a valid reason to not want kids, there are bigger and better issues to be addressed. Helpful hint: On national television, you’re kinda representing the childfree community at large. Try hard not to look stupid. Just saying.
Dr. Phil redeemed himself a little by being supportive of their choice (although he did take time out to talk about how he himself used to not want kids but he “saw the light” and the wax nostalgic about how wonderful parenting is and how he’s looking forward to his first grandchild being born. *gag*).
Two quotes I liked hearing from Dr Phil, that I’m sure his primary viewership is foaming at the mouth over:
1) There is a fair amount of research out there that suggests there is a significant percentage of mothers who regret it.
2) I totally believe… if you aren’t really just hot to do it, you shouldn’t do it.
Of course, then he ruined it by advising them to re-evaluate their choice every year. *eyeroll* To be fair, if you do consider yourself “childless” it couldn’t hurt to re-evaluate the choice from time to time. Still, if someone had told Dr Phil that they couldn’t wait to get married and have kids, he would never tell them to re-evaluate their choice every year. So it seemed a little obnoxious here, but whatever.
The segment was mostly a drive-by and had its good points and its bad points, but if you missed it, it was no big loss.
P.S. If you’re wondering about the Bratfree website, it’s down because the domain expired yesterday. I have no idea if she just forgot to renew it or if she plans to let it go. You’ll have to check back in a couple of weeks to see if it’s back up or not.