Home motherhood/family/parenting Appetites for Big Houses Growing, Families Shrinking

Appetites for Big Houses Growing, Families Shrinking

by Kelly Crawford

This was the title of an article in our local paper. It makes me sad. It has for a long time, as I observe bigger and better houses popping up everywhere, while those of us who have chosen bigger families get the battery of “how do you afford them” at every turn.

Says the paper, “In this country, bigger is better….this is true for houses and this is true for automobiles.” One interviewee stated: “Our kids have more stuff…they need more living space”. Yes, I’m sure it’s more stuff that is making our kids happy. Then could you explain the current suicide rate among young people in this “bigger and better” country?

“We can’t afford more children“…meanwhile, mom drives her new car, dad drives his new car, and they have another one for, who knows why, they eat out 5 times a week (because of course mom doesn’t have time or the energy to cook), they pay out the nose for child care (only the best, of course–what else would good parents do?), their 1.3 children have every gadget and gizmo known to man, they live in a house twice the size they need, the list goes on.

And their children? I suppose they’re just happy enough to have a house big enough to house all their “stuff”…no matter that Mom and Dad are hardly ever in the big house.

How can it be that we (as a nation) can’t see obvious hard facts right in our face? Because despite that everyone at some time or the other has said, “well, money doesn’t make you happy”, the same one will turn to the parent of a large family and shake his head…”tsk, tsk, I don’t know how you’re going to afford them”.

It’s funny, the “bigger, better” people aren’t being checked on their lifestyle choice. No one asks them if they can afford that bigger house. Imagine walking up to a friend, relative, or perfect stranger, and saying, “How do you afford to drive that giant SUV? Did you have to borrow the money for it? What are your monthly payments?” Or what about, “Wow, this house is so big. You must be in debt up to your eyeballs!” Or, I know a good one… “Is this ALL yours? Bless your heart!”

No, we don’t say such rude things…we just tolerate them of others.

Another quote from the article: “The growth in big houses is fueled by suburban home buyers seeking luxury, rather than big families needing space.”

It went on to say that American homes are twice as large, on average, as those in many European countries, despite the falling number of members per household.

Does that make you feel sad to be an American?

I’m sorry if this blog is laden with sarcasm…I guess this issue is just a real prickly one for me. And of course the disclaimer to allay some of the hot comments: Not every American household looks like the above described. It is a generalization of the mainstream of the population. And I’m not against big houses. We are in fact, presently planning to upgrade to a much bigger house…but with the intent of filling it up with real treasures, not hay and stubble.

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Carmen June 14, 2007 - 8:34 pm

Last week I posted on my blog a rant (if you will) about t.v., contentment, etc. I posted your post on my blog and referred folks back to this post. It’s funny how our neighbors (who have the same size house and are expecting their first) are so amazed at how we fit 8 of us in our house! It all boils down to priorities and contentment.


Anonymous June 15, 2007 - 8:42 am

This is a very difficult part of my own life. We have a large family, and I would like to have a large home to go with that. (I guess by European standards, we do already have a large house.) It is the nagging of our culture that distracts my Christian spirit into going against what I should. I should be content and see things in the right perspective, not of this world and its materialistic ways. I have thought that we as Christians need to be investing in other ministries, with our money, not just in the stuff of this world, i. e. houses and possessions. We need to be helping the needy and spreading the gospel. That is our calling, too. Most of us Americans are not needy, but greedy, and I do have a problem with that, myself, as I have said. At least, I have recognized it and can work on it. We all need to pray for each other in this area.

I once was watching the Larry King show, and they aired a brief tour of his home. He and his beautiful wife each had their own very large bedrooms. I assume that they were the only two living in that mansion. Status symbol, I guess. I think it strange that many older folks, when their children have grown and gone, move into a larger house–alone.
You made good points–especially that–HOW DO PEOPLE AFFORD THEIR LUXURIES?! MOST AMERICANS ARE IN DEBT–SOME “UP TO THEIR EYEBALLS”, and then, there are some who are just wealthy and do spend a lot on “stuff”.

Hannah June 15, 2007 - 3:34 pm

Love it, thank you. Do you address the need for adoption in your “pro large family” posts?

Word Warrior June 15, 2007 - 4:10 pm


I never have posted about adoption. I have many close friends who have adopted families, and I grew up in a home where my parents kept foster children my whole life and we “adopted” two of them, not legally, but in every other way.

But in my own family, the Lord has never led up to adoption, and I basically don’t have the wisdom or experience from which to speak on the issue. But I would gladly welcome others to share their wisdom and insight!

BTY, did your CD arrive yet?
Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous June 15, 2007 - 11:44 pm

I hear what you are saying here. I don’t want to sound rude or try to guess what you mean, but the last sentence or two kind of threw me off. You mentioned filling your house with the right kind of “treasures” meaning children. Right? Well, didn’t Jesus say our treasure should be in heaven? Where are treasure is, there is our hearts also? I dont know you as a person, but I know that some people dangerously put such a value on their children, that the Lord gets second place.

Word Warrior June 16, 2007 - 8:48 am


I certainly agree with you about the danger of allowing children to become more important than the Lord. In the comment that I am going to “fill my house with treasures”, meaning children, I AM referring to “heavenly things”. We view our children (i.e. their souls) as a “mission field” if you will, as much as any other person who is in need of a Savior. So to have our treasures in our children, is to have our hearts there, which, for me, is to “set my affection on things above”. In other words, my children’s SOULS are my treasure, given to me by God to store up as treasures in Heaven. Hope that clarifies!

Kimberly April 28, 2008 - 7:42 am

VERY good post!

The verse “godliness with contentment is great gain” comes to mind. People don’t realize how content they COULD be if they would just trust the Lord.
We have been poorer than we ever have been financially but happier than we’ve ever been.

Anonymous April 28, 2008 - 7:43 am


Jennifer November 2, 2010 - 1:05 pm

I always found it odd how the rich people had so few children. Huge house, two kids! Strange.


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