Episode 292 of The Reality Check is here! First Darren examines whether parents are more or less happy than people without children. Next Elan looks into the whether or not Alcoholics Anonymous is effective. Lastly Adam takes on claims that Harvard has books in their library which are bound in human skin. Pat just looks for opportunities to mention that he is quitting smoking.
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Are Parents Less Happy?
Is Alcoholics Anonymous Effective?
Science Based Medicine – AA is Faith Based Not Evidence Based
Scientific American – Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?
Cochrane Review – Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programmes for alcohol dependence.
Cochrane Review – Effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions in primary care populations
Wikipedia – Effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous
Psychology Today – The Surprising Truth About Addiction
Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Are Books At Harvard Bound In Human Skin?
Myth About Harvard Book Made of Human Skin Debunked – Boston Magazine
Old Books, New Technologies, and “The Human Skin Book” at HLS – Et Seq.
The Skinny on Harvard’s Rare Book Collection – The Harvard Crimson
Anthropodermic bibliopegy – Wikipedia
Three Books at Harvard University Are Bound in Human Flesh – FEARNET
Just catching up on some podcast listening after a busy week and wanted to say that I thought this was an excellent episode. As a parent of 5 and 2 1/2 year old kids, I can add my own anecdotes to the research presented by Darren. To be totally honest, I do think that I am generally unhappier now than I was before kids, but I think there are a couple of specific reasons for that. First, I am a fairly introverted guy and enjoy a lot of quiet, individual activities like reading, gaming, and model building. Now that I have kids, I have a lot less time for those hobbies and have to spend more time in noisy group play with the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it and love spending time with the kids, but those things can feel draining and I don’t have as much chance to recharge with my own hobbies.
I think the other big unhappiness factor can around money. Having young kids is expensive, especially in Canada where outside of Quebec, childcare is not subsidized and can be difficult to find. My wife and I have been tracking our money fairly closely, and we have been spending at least $1500 a month on non-discretionary costs childcare, after school activities, and kid-specific necessities like diapers. Most months, we spend more on our kids than we do on our mortgage and it can leave our finances fairly tight.
I definitely don’t regret the decision to have kids, but this past winter was one where I definitely felt the gap between my life with kids and the life some of my childless friends and coworkers are living. I know 6 couples who took trips to warm places like Hawaii, California, and Mexico and came back tanned and refreshed and this was one of the first times in the 5 years since my oldest was born that I felt a bit of resentment.
The last thing that comes to mind is around my job. My workplace is better than most at supporting people with kids, but everyone above me in the hierarchy either have no kids or have adult kids who have grown up and moved away. When people plan things, they often forget that parents have less-flexible schedules and have responsibilities they can’t just postpone, like picking kids up from school. Juggling those things is definitely a big source of stress in my life, it was so much easier before I had kids where I could just stay until I finished what I needed to do.