In Defense of Large Families, Part II

Last week I announced on Homemade Mothering’s Facebook page the impending arrival of our fifth (yes, fifth) bundle of joy. I want my small corner of the internet to be a place of encouragement and kindness, so reading everyone’s lovely words of congratulations really made my heart swell. It feels good to be surrounded by so much niceness.

So, I was a bit surprised to see this email from a total stranger pop up the next day:

Fortunately, once I emerged from my 20’s I stopped caring so much about what other people think of me and my choices so this random woman’s email didn’t get me down – it just made me feel sorry for her. I can’t imagine spending my time chastising a STRANGER’S decisions that have no real impact on me or my family, and I wonder what difficulties in her life brought her to this point. I wish her the best on her journey.

But, I get her point. More people = more use of natural resources. But unless this woman has absolutely no children (something I doubt, considering she is reading this “mommy blog”) her argument falls flat. If she is truly concerned about the impact humans have on our planet, she would have none of her own.  And, her argument implies that she has greater rights to the resources we all have to share. Why can she use the resources, but not my baby?!

Big families are incredibly resourceful and often use less “stuff” per person than a household with only a few people.  Thanks to generous hand-me-downs from friends and family, most of our kids’ clothes and toys are second hand.  And, in a household with lots of tummies, no food ever goes to waste. Larger families often have to make do with the same size home as small families, so the pull on natural resources to run the home is the same as any other family.  And, big families have to thoughtfully condense car trips to maximize time and effort spent hauling kids all over town. It should come as no surprise to any regular reader of my blog that we make a huge daily effort to reduce our family’s carbon footprint.

I hope our Baby #5 never feels like a burden to our planet. I hope she helps make this world a better place for everyone. I hope she feels pride in being part of a big family. I hope she finds friendship and support and encouragement from the four big siblings who are so excited for her arrival.


4-12-16 it's a girl! from maureen smithe on Vimeo.

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11 Comments for this entry

  1. Jamie says:


  2. Meghan says:

    Wonderful news – congratulations to your whole family! From a non-mommy reader of your blog, I myself have learned a great deal about reducing waste from you and am very appreciative!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I’m happy to share this world with as many thoughtful, kind, energetic, sensitive and compassionate children as you want to have – if she is anything like her mother, father and siblings, I have no doubt she will make a beautiful mark on our world!

  4. Sheila says:

    Congrats on the impending birth of another child! It is a miracle to conceive & bring to life an independent human being with all the potential of Albert Einsteim-Louis Pasteur-Gloria Steinem-Abraham Lincoln-Ghandi-Mother Theresa-Babe Ruth-Maya Angelu-so many more but most importantly YOU!! The potential is endless when such awesome nuturing parents & siblings are there for each other! The person who commented to the negative of a 5th child could not have come from such a welcoming family & community as the people who surround & support you. Carry on & God Bless!

  5. Jessie Jay says:

    Why do you assume all your blog readers have children? I have wanted children for many years, and follow your articles.

  6. Lauren says:

    Glad you posted this response. We have four blessings, and have similar comments on our family size. We also have a small home, small yard, and use a lot of hand-me-downs. We plant a garden every year to help with food costs and try not to waste anything we are given. And the world is not overpopulated. More and more people are having fewer children. There is a great documentary speaking to the actual statistics the prove we are not overpopulated. Its called Demographic Winter. I don’t think anyone should be wasteful, but more children is not the cause of that problem. Enjoy your blessings!

  7. Erika says:

    Congratulations! We have five of our own and love our chaotic life.

    I take heart knowing large families out there will outlive those that resist the beautiful gift of life.
    Please don’t be discouraged about sharing more about your life with your readers. Families like ours receive great encouragement from knowing that there are others out there who are trying to follow the same path.

    Great blog! Go Irish!

  8. Coriander says:

    Woohoo! Congratulations! How wonderful, another baby girl of yours coming into the world! I hope she arrives a hearty eater and an excellent sleeper!

  9. Lorrie says:

    Maureen, congratulations! I love to check in on your blog from time to time, and have used so many of your wonderful recipes and eco-friendly tips. I think that the world will only benefit from having more of your kids around. You’re raising stewards of the Earth, who themselves will go on to make a positive impact on the environment, and educate their friends and families with the knowledge you are passing to them. Hugs!

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