1. Christina

    I could not agree more!!! Your blog is so well written – dans les deux langues! I share your opinions, and only wish I had started younger so that I could also raise a “large” family of responsible, compassionate global citizens. Bravo!! 🙂

  2. Jennifer

    Right on!

    Previously, worries of overpopulation was one of the reasons that we wanted a small family, but recently I’ve learned a lot more about global population, and I realize that it isn’t really that much of a concern. It’s way more about the way we’re using our resources, not the number of people. I have a small family and we want to downsize because our 3 bedroom home is too big for us. My mom (who lives in a 3000sq/ft home and spends $900/month on winter heating!!!!) tried to tell me yesterday that 2 bedrooms is too small for a family of three, because there’s “no room to put your stuff” and no room to “have your own space”.

  3. Right on!

    Previously, worries of overpopulation was one of the reasons that we wanted a small family, but recently I’ve learned a lot more about global population, and I realize that it isn’t really that much of a concern. It’s way more about the way we’re using our resources, not the number of people. I have a small family and we want to downsize because our 3 bedroom home is too big for us. My mom (who lives in a 3000sq/ft home and spends $900/month on winter heating!!!!) tried to tell me yesterday that 2 bedrooms is too small for a family of three, because there’s “no room to put your stuff” and no room to “have your own space”.

  4. Jaclyn

    Oh my goodness, this is the best thing I’ve read in AGES. I want to boil your post down to bullet points, print it on business cards, and pass them out to the strangers who make those comments to my modest family of six.

  5. I now have 11 kids, but have been getting “family size” comments since I was expecting my third. However, people have given up on me and now mostly keep their opinions to themselves but not all their observations…. I did enjoy your post and look forward to seeing more! Congratulations on your beautiful family.

  6. Val Sawczuk

    I also have 11 kids. My youngest is 22 but I did get the comments and most of them were just cruel. I also agreed to an interview during a March Break one year. It opened me to ridicule and really bothered me until I came to the realization that people were just jealous. They wished they could have had a large family but they let society talk them out of it. I really enjoyed your article. It confirms what we have always believed which is that “all is provided”.

  7. Kristy Jeske

    Ahhhhh! Amen sister! That’s all I can say. LOL! From a mom of 7, thanks for stating the truth on this matter. 🙂

  8. gailf

    Great post! I have two children, now nearly grown, and I live in a three-bedroom house built in the 1930s. Most houses on my street are smaller and they ALL held families bigger than mine when they were built. I met someone who used to live down the street in a slightly larger house than mine — the couple had eight children. Most of the people I went to school with live in houses at least double the size of mine, and bigger than the house down the street that once held 10. Whose carbon footprint is bigger, pray tell? People had a lot less stuff and did lot more together back then.

  9. Mom of eight :). The view out of our window looked a lot like yours – now we are on a farm, still in a regular sizd house, butroom to play without worrying about disturbing anyone. I love Alberta – much more large family friendly, but Vive La Quebec, and Felicitations on a great blog post, saying things i think All the Time!

  10. Hello, yes you made some good points here. I agree that most Canadians live way to ‘big’ for their needs. As we become ever more aware that our resources are limited the resource consumption argument is much more relevant than perhaps the birth rate argument, because lifestyle dictates much of that consumption burden. You hit the nail on the head that suburban homes built for 5 will be generally as energy consuming regardless of number of individuals in the house.

    That being said, large families do consume more water, food and other material resources (which you acknowledge with your garbage concern). As many large families seem to be reading this blog I appreciate you made that point, and it is good to be aware of these things so that recycling, and waste is consciously thought of and reduced. No need for paper plates when you have so many extra pairs of hands to wash dishes. And kids can be encouraged to take short showers to improve water conservation etc. This would be a way to ‘offset’ the number of people argument.

    On a global scale I worry that your analysis of birthrate is a little under researched and under-thought. I am no expert but from my reading, as a researcher studying an aspect of climate change I can tell you that over population is a global problem with immense local implication. While you may be right that Canadian fertility is below fecundity estimates, it does not mean that our population is not growing. You cannot ignore or deny that immigration is a large part of our nations population growth. Canada is not an island with closed doors. We allow immigrants in, as we should because of humanitarian reasons, and this is a large factor in our population projections. If every Canadian started having large families, and immigration continued to increase our population would rise exponentially undoubtedly. Its good to be aware of these things. This is not an argument against large families, its a reality and something that deserves deeper thought and analysis.

    I grew up in a household of 2 and was always sad that mom and dad didn’t have 3-5 more of us so I could have lots of siblings to play with. Her stories of childhood were all about the amazing times she had with her 7 siblings. I wanted this too. But as an adult, retrospectively I have realized that I did have that just in a different way. In my suburban neighborhood with neighbors meters away I usually fond friends to play with. The people I depend on are a mixture of family and friends. Some of my childhood girlfriends are as close to me as my own sibling. The tight sibling bonds are still made, only now its across blood lines. I am starting to realize that maybe to have that sense of community that a large family traditionally brings maybe what we can do is be better neighbors and better friends. Just a thought I am playing with.

    Good article non-the-less! And you have a beautiful family!

    • Thank you for your message! For sure, demographics is a more complex subject than I make it to be in my post. Like many topics, it is not only divisive but polarizing and polarization is always the enemy of a balanced and thoughtful approach. It seems that we are either social conservatives with a large family and therefore believe that environmental degradation is a sham, or we are left-wing tree huggers with no kids, a cat and a Prius and we think that people like me are killing the planet. I would like to see my children grow-up in a much cleaner, gentler, simpler and more sustainable world.

      Many people seem to make the argument that large families by definition reduce, reuse and recycle. Not necessarily! There is definitely more water flowing at shower time in my house! But my point was that there is simply not enough of us large families to make a difference, either in birth rates or environmental degradation. For sure if everyone did like us, it would be different. But it’s a big “if”: not only are people not doing like us, they are taking the opposite path.

    • AT

      “That being said, large families do consume more water, food and other material resources (which you acknowledge with your garbage concern).”

      Not necessarily. I have five children, so a seven-person household. We put out a small fraction — perhaps a quarter or a third — of the garbage that our neighbors with two and three person households do. They have twice a week pickups and overflowing bins; we have a single weekly pickup and never fill the trash.

      I do tend to be thrifty, but I’ve not yet figured out what all their garbage consists of. What are two or three people consuming so much of that the remnants take up two huge bins each week?

      Honestly, the demographics and economies of scale are such that the large-family-shaming that the author and others experience is little more than spite and irrational anxiety.

  11. Miquela

    I absolutely love this post! I love the points you make about our urban sprawl and covering our agricultural land. I actually live near you and this past spring, when my husband, my baby and I were out walking our dog in the area behind you house, we found your husband and many of your children out picking up the insane amount of dog feces left behind by other people over the course of the winter! Your children were doing it with wonderful smiles on their faces and such a beautiful spirit of service. We were absolutely blown away and thanked them all profusely for this service. We would have stayed to help but we were expected somewhere, but we made sure that on our next walk we brought some extra bags to clean up any more that we saw lying around (and there was plenty!). Anyway, it takes a very special group of people to care that much about the environment that they would go out and clean up other peoples’ messes (and it really drives me crazy that people don’t pick up after their dogs), ensuring that those feces did not make into the nearby lake and helping that lovely natural area stay clean and stink-free. I would say that is the more important “environmental impact” of your big family.

    • Hi Miquela! Thanks for your message! My husband and my kids told me that someone had thanked them for picking up the dog poop. It’s funny because the way this all started is that my oldest daughter had let the dog out our back door to go pee in the bushes and she also pooped. Then it got covered in snow. So initially, the goal was to pick up whatever dog poop we had missed during the winter. We ended-up filling 7 garbage bags!! It’s just crazy! Obviously it wasn’t all from our dog. People are just so lazy.

      Thanks again and don’t be afraid to come by and say Hi next time!

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