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Quick Comeback Needed

December 11, 2007

I consider myself a somewhat”green” person. Not as in Little-Green-Man-from-Mars (although there are days you probably wonder…) but “green” as in reduce, reuse, recycle. I’ve gotten our family down to one trash can per week and most of that trash can is directly related to having two in diapers. I take my recycling to the inconvenient drop off place, I’m obsessive about turning lights off, and I even hang my clothes outside to dry in warm weather. I’m fairly educated on topics such as global warming and the ozone layer. Still, I really need your help with a snappy comeback.

A friend of mine is pregnant with her fifth child. She was out the other day and it came up in conversation with a stranger. This stranger asked if it was her first. When she explained that it was her fifth the person’s response was: Have you thought about the impact that five kids will have on global warming? My poor, 3 months pregnant, chock-full-of-hormones friend almost cried right there. She couldn’t even think of a response.

Since the paper by Britain’s Optimum Population Trust essentially dubbed large families an eco-crime, there’s been a lot of discussion on the topic. I can tell you that her family is the one that buys in bulk, uses locally grown fresh produce, wears second hand clothing, spends less time traveling because why would you want four kids in the car for any length of time, and just spends less money on non-essentials in general.

If anything, a family with lots of kids has less money to go around and is less likely to consume resources. I know that since the babies arrived and we ended up on a tight budget I’m way more conscious about using the right light bulbs, turning down the heat, and using the car less. This saves me money and has the bonus of conserving our natural resources.

So now I’m curious. If you have more than one child do people ever talk to you about the environmental impact of your family? How do you respond? As a mother of twins I feel like many of my “mother of multiples” friends have big families (side effect when pregnancy is a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deal.) Got any snappy comebacks?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Perky permalink
    December 12, 2007 3:43 am

    I think the only appropriate response is, “Wow. Are you always so rude?” and then excuse yourself and walk away.

    You’re not going to change their opinion of the effect of your fertility upon the world no matter how snappy a response you come up with. The only effect you may be fortunate enough to have is to teach them to keep their big trap shut!!!

    Amazing! People can be so darn rude!

    Hell, I’ve been known to THINK some pretty nasty stuff, but I’ve never actually SAID them to a stranger (or a friend, for that matter!)

  2. mama k permalink
    December 12, 2007 10:32 am

    ewww. That is just plain rude.
    I am pretty crunchy myself, but there comes a point at which you have to actually live your life. You cannot completely eliminate your “footprint” you can just do the best you can.
    Not to mention that with how trendy this green thing is right now anyone who’s seen Al Gore’s film thinks they are a freakin expert on the environment. Whatev.

    I like what Dr Sears said when people would comment on his 8 !! kids. He just told people that “The world needs my kids.”

  3. Pam permalink
    December 12, 2007 11:19 am

    “Hey, the more children I have the more chance I have of cancelling out your vote, d***head”.

    Seriously, you can’t even begin to have an intelligent conversation with someone like that – they are just RUDE.

    When I was pregnant a colleague at work told me rather loudly & in front of other people that I was having an “anchor” baby (I’m not American). I just laughed at him but it hurt my feelings.

    Hopefully those people don’t have children.

  4. Domestic Goddess permalink
    December 12, 2007 6:40 pm

    How’s about, “My reproduction is none of your business.” or “Stay out of my uterus.” If they are politically aware, chances are they already know the second one.

    Rude bastard.

  5. Saly permalink
    December 12, 2007 9:23 pm

    Wow. I can’t believe that someone would be so obnoxious as to say that!!

    I don’t have a snappy comeback though….and nobody has ever said anything like that to me.

    I’m worried about the comments in general when we start telling folks that #3 is on the way!

  6. Morrisquads permalink
    December 13, 2007 3:26 am

    “Have you thought about the impact that five kids will have on global warming?”

    Yes. Hopefully they can warm your cold heart.

  7. Mommy Brain permalink
    December 13, 2007 7:22 pm

    Thank you for all of the great comments (and laughs)! One of my friends (mother of four) was very interested to hear the responses. Her favorite was the “Yes. Hopefully they can warm your cold heart.” response from morrisquads. Too funny and a way better response than a puch to the nose.

  8. Lucy T permalink
    December 13, 2007 11:59 pm

    If she doesn’t think her fifth child will have an impact on global warming, then his comments should roll off her like water. So, no comeback needed.

    HOWEVER . . . how about . “My fifth child will have the same impact on global warming as your own presence on earth does. Are you thinking your life is more important than the life of the baby in my womb?”

  9. carrie permalink
    December 14, 2007 12:04 am

    OH MY…”warm your cold heart.”

    That says it all right there. Perfectly.

  10. Mommy Brain permalink
    December 14, 2007 4:11 am

    Even if she is concerned about the impact a fifth child will have on the environment, at 6 months pregnant it’s too late to do anything about it. And even if someone is concerned that other people having large families impacts the earth, it would be far more helpful to suggest ways to conserve than to berate her for something she can’t (won’t) undo.

  11. Lucy T permalink
    December 15, 2007 2:13 pm

    Not sure I was clear. I am NOT concerned that her fifth baby will have a negative impact on this earth, so my advice is for her to ignore him. I seriously doubt he is concerned about mankind. I imagine he is concerned about himself. If he were truly concerned about people, I think he would have been kinder to her (which is also your point). I believe each new life has the potential to positively impact our world to a degree that far outweighs the potential to do harm. Like you said, the baby is already conceived. For him to say something now is absurd, as absurd as someone suggesting he remove himself from this earth because his footprint might have a negative impact. What a nasty man! She also could say to him what I overheard a teenager say to his parents yesterday, “Stop pushing your agenda on me!” Yikes!

  12. allmomshops permalink
    December 15, 2007 5:10 pm

    I would have to agree that the only comeback would be something along the lines of commenting on their rudeness, that they have no right to comment, or simply telling them that maybe they should consider having no children to make up for it LOL!

    As the mom of 6 children (can anyone say twin surprise?) I am thankful that I have never run into something like that! I can also agree that as a rule there is a lot of sharing a lot of hand-me-downs, a lot of stretching to make things work. I know for a fact that I spend less on groceries and much less on non-essentials than most people with 2 or 3 children!

    I am much more eco-conscious with my 6 than I ever was with my first 3 . . . I had never thought about it before though! I’m sorry your friend had to go through that poor thing!!!!


  13. pkzcass permalink
    December 18, 2007 7:58 pm

    Me being me, I’d have just said, “Are you always so f*ckin rude?”

    But I like the warm your cold heart comment too.

  14. Mommy Brain permalink
    December 19, 2007 5:07 am

    Sorry Lucy! When I wrote this I debated whether to actually post it because I knew that there are people out there who feel that abortion/national population policies are the way to go. I didn’t want to start a debate and just want to share my outrage while getting some creative feedback. Which means I read your comments the wrong way.

    Your thoughts on new life are phrased so beautifully and I’m glad you “wrote back.”

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