Thursday, October 27, 2011

we've got kids

A phone conversation with my mum when Poet was about 6 weeks old:

Mum: "How are you?"
Me: "Good thanks Mum."
Mum: How are the kids?"
Me: "What kids?"
Mum: "Your kids."

I remember holding the phone away from my ear and saying to Daniel: "Shit! We've got kids!" This concept, or reality, was probably harder to get used to than when we first became parents. While saying out loud that we were parents to children was difficult, the transition, from the 3 of us to the 4 of us, has been really smooth. I think that has a lot to do with our babymoon and the fact that we don't try and squeeze too much into each day - sometimes getting a load of washing on is good enough (we aim high here!).

So, now that we've got the picture perfect pigeon pair, most people presume that we're done.

"Oh no," we say. "We want four."

Yep, Daniel and I would love to have four kids. Our only concern is whether we can afford four kids. I know money doesn't make the world go 'round but there's no denying that it plays a pretty significant role in our lives. For instance, 2 litres of organic milk (currently $5.29) is not going to go far with four little ones, is it? My solution? We'll buy a cow.

So, while pondering the realities of four children today (an interesting thought process to have while at the hairdresser and spending the first hour ever away from Poet - and subsequently realising that four kids probably wouldn't allow me the pleasure of having my hair done at the rather expensive salon I go to) I stumbled across an article about families. And the gist of the article went something like this:

Is it environmentally-friendly to have more than two children in this day and age?

One interviewee said: "No! The world is full enough. We have no more room for the little tuckers."

And the family advocate, unsurprisingly, said..."Yes! A family of four who grow their own food and raise their children with an awareness of healthy, eco-friendly living is far more essential than the family with one child, a slew of technology and the desire to consume, consume, consume."

So while there were a lot of generalisations and only two perspectives, the article got me thinking and still has me wondering.

I'd love to hear what you think...

top photo: "Che waiting for an ice-cream"
bottom photo: "Poet in her cocoon (with new Ikea spotty quilt)"


  1. that's an interesting one. i'm from a family of four and we did go through some tight times .. i was talking to mum about this recently when I became vegan. she was asking me how much non-dairy milk costs. when i told her she was like 'there was no way we would've been able to support the four of you growing up on a diet like that ..'
    x georgi

  2. Well we have three little ones, and I'm positive that we do more to help the environment than most of our friends with 1 or 2! We would love to have four too, but I have to admit with our eldest at school this year it feels like we always have our hand in our pocket! I think you learn to adjust though. It's important to me that they have the opportunity to do some out of school activities, as I feel like I missed out not getting to do those things as a kid! Our youngest is our 2nd girl, so she lives in handmedowns and doesnt cost much at this stage, but I wonder if that will change as she gets older....rambling now....will be interested to read other responses! Oh, and we used to get the pigeon pair thing all the time. When we announced number 3 I found it quite hurtful that ppl even questioned why we would want another! x

  3. I have four children and money is tight - especially now when we are starting to help out with uni fees. However I would advise you to go with your heart here. Better to have times of struggle than to be constantly looking for that child you didn't have.
    The other thing that having no spare cash means is that you have to think about your priorities. My children have never had huge numbers of christmas presents but as a result they have learnt the value of things and what they really love when it comes to christmas are our little traditions that involve little money & lots of family. I have just checked this with my 14 year old who has said that on balance he would rather have lots of siblings than lots of things! Of course more money would be good too!

  4. if you have 4, i'll have four. That'd be fun, what, with you and I both in our 3 bedroom homes. Party on our street.

    see you in the labour sweet, darlin'.


  5. When I studied Sociology, we did a lot about the family unit and I used to think that the idea sounded very cool as I have never known what it would be like (coming from a family of divorces etc). I was always for a big family but now having 2 children, I'm kind of thinking it is enough as then we can go and travel and give experiences to the 2 we have and not the four we can't afford. And we can be self-sufficient also. That's todays decision anyway. It'll probably change again next week! I hope you buy the cow anyway :)

  6. I love this post. Firstly that photo of Che...pricelesss, sums up the emotion of a kid waiting for icecream perfectly. Secondly, how weird is it to realise you're a mum of two! "We have kids" is phrase my husband and I are still getting used to. Lastly, family is so valuable. The more well brought up, polite, considerate and environmentally friendly children there are in the world, the better! Procreate away I say! ;-)

  7. I remember our first 'kids' conversation well too! We had the girl/boy pair and people were genuinely shocked when we announced number three was on his way. Most people assume he was/is an 'accident'!!! Three kids is perfect for us... might have considered the 4th if I felt my body could do it though! I love reading your blog, especially the journey of having a new bub. x

  8. We would love to have 4 kids too, but I am quickly realising that what I want in life and what I will get are very different things. (Since losing Grace, I will have to spend any future pregnancies on full-time bed rest.. thats 9 months flat on my back! So I may have to adjust my expectations of having a big family, which is heartbreaking for me, but anyway..)

    I totally agree that a family with 4 kids who are eco-conscious would be less of a burden on the earth than a family with one kid who lives in a westfield bubble. But, either way, it's not a decision that you have to make right now.. i'm sure you guys will know when your family is full (so to speak).

  9. My husband and I have talked about this very thing, he initially thought it would be irresponsible to have more than one, but being an only child and hating it, I always wanted at least two. We've reached the conclusion that two ir three are right for us (we just have one now) but that it's HOW we raise them that makes a difference on what kind of ecological footprint our family leaves behind.

    We are very aware of our choices as consumers, we bike a lot for transport, we support local farmers, we try to live as 'green' as possible and we will raise our children to respect the world they live in as well.

    So my answer is, it's not how many but HOW you raise your kids. So have four :)


  10. i have this conversation with myself we have two right now-- 3 yrs and 18 months, and we also planned to have 4. but i think about finances, space, my dwindling independence, my desire to go back to work--not just for money but for me, and on and on. i've decided to leave it to fate for now.

  11. We have 4 right now, and contemplating the idea of adding 5th baby some day. There are lots of things for us to consider when it comes to expanding your family, but whether or not having more than 2 kids is environmentally friendly is the one we don't buy into. Religious beliefs aside, we are a lot more environmentally conscious and a lot less wasteful than many child-free or 1-2 child families we know. And we are at the point where we'd love to buy some land, grow as many things as possible to sustain ourselves, in addition to recycling everything we can think of (which we're already doing).

    So even though right now we're still undecided about 5th baby, it's mostly because of health and sanity concerns :)

  12. I have to agree with the second sentiment. We have 2 boys, 3 1/2 and 21 months with number 3 on the way. We grow our own food, hunt our meat, eat vegetairian twice a week, use cloth nappies, husband bikes to work and I don't drive at all and would eventually like 4 children. We have friends who have no children (yet) who have more environmental impact on our earth and yet they would still argue otherwise.
    I totally agree ~~ it's not about *how* many children you have, it's how you *raise* them. :o)

  13. I think about this question a lot.Mainly, what does it mean to bring more children in to this world? How will impact our life, finances, dreams out side the home? How will it impact the environment? What does it mean to be the youngest of... (4, for you at least:)

    Certainly this is a big decision for you and your family. But I think you are on the right track beginning to ask yourself those hard questions.

    p.s. I wish I had a more definitive answer, I too am asking myself the same questions!

  14. Oh yes, buying a cow is a smart choice indeed! or simply making soy, rice , almond, oat or any other kind of milk at home... I think it´s true, a concious healthy happy family like yours should have no reason to stop growing

  15. After reading your blog for a while now and never commenting, i think i will on this topic. We have 3 boys and would love to have another baby. People always ask, "So are you going to try for a girl?". "No, i actually prefer another boy." is usually my answer. I think that whatever choice you make it has to be for the right reasons. If you feel that you're not finished having babies then you'll always have a small piece of you that lives in regret if you dont fulfill the need. My boys are creating such beautiful memories together now which is worth more than all the money in the world. You always find a way to survive if thats what you want the most. Enjoy your kids xxxx

  16. What a great post Jodi. A topic I often play over in my head until I feel dizzy. We always wanted 4 children too, now we have 2, we're going to be pretty happy if we even get to 3 children. I guess perspective changes along the way somewhat, with many influencing factors that override our decisions.
    I am the youngest of 7 children and my parents brought us up with a strong awareness of the environment, to be conscious of wastage and to live happily on the simple things. Having a family of more than 1 or 2 children definitely doesn't render you an environmental vandal. As you said, it's all about the approach. I say, if it's right for your family, go for it my friend :o) xo

  17. I had my long awaited 2nd child (another beautiful boy) a few weeks after you had Poet and I remember my partner and I saying 'the boys this ....' or 'the kids ....' and then turning to each other and saying the same thing as you 'we have kids!'

  18. Oh man this is such a tricky topic! I love the idea of having a big family (3 or 4 kids someday) but I do think that having any more than 2 kids isn't good for the environment. My mom always explained it as replacement, as in, you replace you and your partner and that's it. But like I said, if I ever do want to have more than 2 kids it's not a decision I'll take lightly. Would love to hear more of your thoughts on this Jodi! x

  19. do what i did and go for the middle ground and have three!! lol
    seriously though, i am one of six kids and things were really tight, but life was really good.
    like i said, we have three kids. none of them were planned. after our first my husband went to uni. when he finally finished we were going to have more kids, but i figured perhaps i would work and we would buy a house, pay off hecs etc...
    then along came our second and a couple of years later...our third. some days i don't think i will ever own my own home, or be financially secure but to be honest i would never, ever, ever trade my kids in for any of it. each one has brought new blessings into our lives, each one has made me grateful for all that we have. having more kids and less money has made me a baker, jam maker and camper and i like what i am. to quote kate (fox's lane) we are famillionaires - rich in family :)

  20. truly, it all really depends on where you live and how you live. financially it is a huge worry which is why we only have two babes, although i could not pass up a baby bonnet at the op shop last week. ya know, just in case. sometimes the heart trumps all. x.

    ps. che...melt.

  21. I was the person who thought 2 children was the ecologically sound choice. Then a friend put forward point two about, 'yes but if you raise them to change the world etc' and that seed grew and grew and now our final baby, number 3 is on its way and it feels really right. How on earth we will afford to feed 3 teenagers, well, perhaps we could share that cow....

  22. We have five and are planning one more and get criticised for it all the time. But given that we have what is considered these days to be a large family I think makes us more aware of our ecological footprint than families I know who have one or two children.

  23. Two children is an accepted norm, but as soon as you have three (or more!) questions are asked and eyebrows raised.
    I ignored the eyebrows and went for it anyway and would not change that decision for the world. Three beautiful girls who I know are going to change the world for the better - they already have just by being here in my opinion :)

    It does cost more, the more kids you have, and that is a very real factor to consider... we've struggled,and there will be tight times ahead, but you get through if that's what you want.

    A comment before mine says it perfectly: Follow your heart.
    That is all you ever really need to do.


  24. I agree with Kristi. The heart decides in this matter. And the financial strain...well, we can always want for less and change those budgets.

  25. Deep down I would want the four my Fiance and I had always said we'd have. In reality both pregnancies and labours were far from ideal. Money, eco-liiving, consumerism? What about love? I look at both my boys and I wouldn't trade them for a mortgage free home, uni degree or dream convertible. Life is loving and loving is living.

  26. Hi Jodi,

    Interesting ideas being expressed here.

    Although I felt blessed with two children I just knew I would regret not having at least tried for my precious third (born January 2010 shortly after I turned 42). I now (foolishly perhaps) feel like a real family and so very, very happy. However I also feel the very real weight of the responsibility of being a parent of three. It is quite sobering at times. Being a parent to a 15 year old, 7 year old and toddler is a wonderful challenge but I have slowly and surely learned to give up the hope of being in some sort of control. The house is often a tip and yes, money is VERY tight. Who cares? We have three awesome kids.

    Stephanie (who on this Friday evening in France is craving a little me time tomorrow).

    ps We revel in simple pleasures and the children are perfectly happy that way regardless of their ages.

  27. We plan on having at least 3 children and one day would like to have a few acres of land we could grow our own fruit/veg and meat on.
    I don't think it's not environmentally friendly as long as you're living a sustainable life or at least making some eco friendly choices.

  28. Hi there. I'm one of 4. My sis has 4, as do many of her friends, and my bestie recently had her 4th. They say the big family is coming back into fashion :)

    I am constantly amazed by how the logic is outweighed by the heart in these matters. Even when I'm up to my eyeballs in the mess and chaos of three small children, half-wishing for the day they're a bit more independent, completely wishing for more sleep, more time, more spare money, more calm, I still yearn just a little bit for just one more...

  29. I think the best parent moment ever is when your kids actually start playing together! It has to be the most tender moment and inexplicably epiphany-like!

    My husband and I wanted 5 kids when we got married.

    We have 3 kids. I would love more. And sometimes I sooooo wouldn't. It's not the money (although of course it is as well) but HOW we make money.

    My husband is a chef and is away from home all day/night and every weekend. He's brilliant at making the short time he has with our kids (and with me) quality time but it is just that - little time.

    I teach Lit at a private high school 70kms from home and although it means I get the same holidays/school hours as the kids do at their schools (nearer to home and public) work always ends up taking up my time and more importantly my energy and patience.

    I wouldn't have more children at the moment not because I can't afford to buy organic milk but because I can't provide them with the attention they deserve in order to be able to afford that organic milk (which we can't really anyway!)...I'm tired and not the kind of mother I want to be.

    So my advice is if you have support and help around you that gives you the space to work, raise your family and ENJOY it then that is what is most important.

    Overpopulation is far too big a problem to resolve or justify our desires to have a big family. Of course it isn't environmentally friendly to have big families even we grow our own vegetables and have a few chickens. Our kids will grow up. They will become adults with their set of needs and desires and may want to raise their own children and have their own cars etc! In truth I don't think you can make yourself "feel better" about this one unfortunately! I know I’ve tried! I worry immensely about all this - especially for my kids. Something I didn't do when my husband and I were married and planned our 5 kids!

  30. hi jodi, this is a really hard one, it's something that we have discussed as well. we are actually toying with the idea of fostering, long-term/permanent if we go the way of a third child, that way we can give an existing child a chance of an awesome life with an amazing family. There are no easy solutions to this one; pros and cons on both sides but what a great thing to chat about, thanks

  31. oh my friggin goodness, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this post. First of all, that first pic... awesomeness. Secondly, I know exactly what you mean... going from 0 to 1 was like WHAT!?!, while going from 1 to 2 was super-smooth sailing. Third, YES to big families. We want, too. Let's all do it together. Money/schmoney. And you just gave me another great reason: eco-friendliness. Never thought of that. So true.

    x Isa :)

  32. every morning i wake thinking something very similar, or at least "when did I grow up?!".
    pop over to my blog for a little giveaway if you get a tick. x ashley

  33. I don't think the head decides such matters at all. This one is for the heart alone. x

  34. We wanted 4 and then I had a daughter. Now it's 3. Your kidlets are so beautiful Jodi, it would be a shame not to have more! xx

  35. Four would be lovely. But in my case, not very practical. As it is with three our house is already too small. Four would also mean a bigger car. Sure, it is great to strive to be as self sufficient as possible but I'm finding it so hard just to get a half hour to spend in the vegie garden. With each baby there is less and less time for yourself.
    I agree with the family advocate you mentioned as I think the importance is on the consuming rather than the number.
    Looking at your little one wrapped up I feel as if I am missing the baby stage already as mine approaches 1. But they are only babies for a short while and babies do grow up. The number decision is such a hard one isn't it?

  36. I would have to agree with the family advocate. Teaching a child or in this case children to be sustainable is far more eco-friendly than the alternative. I have three little ones and one of the things I love to teach them is to be earth conscious. So go for it!! Have as many as you can handle is what I say.

  37. I love your blog. It is very wonderful. As for kids I wrestle this day in and out in my head. I have 2 and have always wanted 4 or 5. But now with my 2 I feel very content and want to give them everything they need physically and mentally. Everyone is different you just have to take them one at a time. As far as environmentally... I think it's all about how you live and teach them. in many ways 2 could be more environmentally friendly and vice versa with four. Thanks for sharing your blog!

  38. I don't think you can ignore the toll that a bigger family has both on the day to day and on the issue of overpopulation.

    I don't think the raising the kid in a sustainable way is a good enough answer. You have to admit it's kind of selfish and if it's out of love or yearning, I get it but please don't say that 4 eco-minded kids is better than none. In terms of resources none is better (I know that's not a logical argument to mothers who love their kids).

    I think that everyone raises their kids in the way they see best. Of course if you have four, people will criticize but don't say you did it to have a troupe of eco-warriors. You did it because you wanted that family - and that's that.

  39. It's now actually called in the US GINK - Green Inclinations No Kids........

  40. We need more people raising children to look after and care for the world. They are the next generation, we need as many of the wholesome kind as possible, have 12!! Seriously though, it's a hard call to make, me and Mark are always debating it at the moment, I want 3/4 he wants 2. It's sad when it's all about the money x

  41. This is one that my husband and I battled with all last year. I've always wanted kids, and I wanted to start around about now. Last year he decided that he didnt want to have any as it was so bad for the environment. Many tears and long conversations later we're going to have one. It's hard to compromise when it comes to children. My argument was always that we (environment conscious, well educated rardyrar) where the type of people that should be breeding. Our children will be excellent citizens. Anyway, good luck with those thoughts, Id be interested to hear what comes to you! *s*

  42. I think you should stop when your family feels complete. I agree with Maxabella... this ones for the heart.

    Also agree with Tammi - I imagine having a larger family would create more awareness of environmental responsibility... whereas smaller families mightn't even give it a thought. x