I’ve seen so much hatred directed at Michelle Duggar for her extensive collection of children (and her burning desire to have just one more despite her rather advanced maternal age), her polarizing views on religion, courting, the role of men and women, you name it. I agree with some of it- I really don’t understand her way of thinking on many things and I think it’s sort of sad that she seems to value herself only as a maker of babies. However, my prevailing thoughts are usually centered around wondering how the ever-loving eff she does it?? Yes, I know- she has a passel of teenage daughters who help look after the little ones. But even so- she has 19 individual humans that she made and even if she only devotes 30 minutes total per day to each of them, that is pretty much all of her minutes! I only have two children so my questions are numerous for how she gets through typical parenting scenarios that I find to be challenging. I want to know how Michelle Duggar would counsel me on the following:
1. After School Insanity
There is always that special time between getting home and eating dinner where my kids are basically stalking me like feral cats- demanding drinks, snacks, assistance with butt wiping, homework, breaking up fights, the list goes on. It makes it feel like I have 60 kids instead of just two and I am pulled in every direction. I know the Duggars homeschool but I still cannot imagine how evenings flow with an entire classroom’s worth of kids- what does she do, make them take a number?
Our kids are five and six and sometimes, our bedtime routine from start to finish takes well over an hour and then there are the callbacks- one more sip of water, one more hug or kiss, identify that scary shadow, tell me again about where Spiderman lives- the requests are innumerable. I know a lot of her kids are older but even with just half a dozen under the age of ten, I feel like it would stretch for hours!
3. During a Stomach Virus
Oh, the dreaded puking/pooping plague. When my children are afflicted at the same time it plays out like a scene from The Walking Dead. Fluids everywhere, shrieks and cries, stains on every available surface, me hiding in a closet. Think of the logistics of 21 people in one household and a rampantly contagious stomach flu. I end up feeling like there are not enough towels in the world and I only have four people in my house. Despite the fact that they have a mini-laundromat on their family compound, it still takes a lot of time to do all that laundry. Ma Duggar, do you hire drifters off the street to come in and switch out the sheets?? Tell me your ways!!!
Now I know they go by a far more modest budget than most of us and don’t have the same “needs” as a typical family in modern times but even with just $50 spent per kid that is still a small fortune and a lot of gift wrapping. I went through 75% of a block of Cracker Barrel Vermont Cheddar, an entire bottle of wine and managed to watch “Its A Wonderful Life” twice in a row and was still only half done wrapping the gifts for my children last year. Does she exist in a time warp where every minute counts as a whole day, in the manner of Santa? It boggles the mind!
5. Remembering Things
This is a big mish-mash because it blows me away how she does this- remembering the things your child is afraid of, their favorite books, what outfit has that button on it that digs into their sternum and they just can’t ever wear it again, what dinner they love on their birthday, etc. How do you remember all the finer points of 19 different people and still retain even a shred of available brain space? I know people giggle about her vacant-eyed stare and tranced-out demeanor but imagine how you would look if you had to keep track of life details for 19 people? I think I too would end up keeping the same hair-do for 20 years and going to my Happy Place while the chaos swirled around me.
So I salute you, Michelle Duggar. Whether we agree on much or not, I do have to admire the fact that every night, you go to bed worrying about 19 kids when I can hardly keep track of my two. You may in fact be full of super powers and maybe instead of judging you we should all start the slow clap that you haven’t packed your bags and ran away from home yet.