Friday, November 11, 2011

In Defense of the Duggars

I like the Duggars.  There, I said it. You know the ones: the conservative reality television family who shoots out babies faster than a Whirley Pop.  The first time I watched the show, I desperately looked for cracks in the crystal.  After all, nobody could possibly live with that many children without a bottle of Jose Cuervo hidden under the sink.   And what the hell kind of name was Jim Bob?

It all seemed a tad askew.  Still, I kept watching.

And slowly, I started coming around.  The kids were really nice.  There was violin practice.  They bought used shoes and believed in living within their means.  Their endgame paralleled mine: release decent and self-sufficient children into the wild at 18. 

I started feeling bad for the Duggars during the media storm that followed a high-risk 19th pregnancy.  Michelle Duggar was criticized as being selfish and too demanding of her older children for having another child.  My main thought?  No woman with 18 kids can be called selfish.  As far as the argument that she was risking her life for another baby, I ask: how many women have been portrayed as heroes for refusing chemo during pregnancy?  For having babies at the expense of their own health?  So was it the sheer volume that people found offensive?  Michelle was following her religious convictions and therefore wound up with a boatload of kids.  Was the 19th life any less precious to her than the first?

I refer back to my blog on Let She Who is Without Sin Never Raise a Child: why are we moms so eager to take up pitch forks against each other?  Motherhood is truly a hard job that comes with little training and absolutely no directions. Even if we disagree with each other, why do we always have to be so anxious to burn each other at the stake? 

I felt even worse when I started reading about the public outcry as the Duggars recently announced a 20th pregnancy.  The majority of opiners have decided that they aren't being fair to their children, and that their devout Christianity reflects some sort of mental defect.  Everything about the family is being called into question and Michelle and Jim Bob are being painted in the same light as Octomom and the Gosselins. 

Hold on. 

This family, despite its numbers, has it together.  This is no Jon & Kate Plus Eight.  It is more like watching a reality version of The Waltons.  They talk kindly to each other.  They believe in giving of themselves to the community around them.  They have a strong moral compass. Everybody pitches in.  Everybody attends church.  Not one single Duggar teenager has been in a sex video, dresses like Britney Spears, or has acted inappropriately in any way.  19 kids and no scandals.  Think of the odds. 

So why so much criticism?  Initially, I did want to find fault.  It was due mostly to my own need to tear apart something that I am incapable of doing.  Was it jealousy?  Yup.  But what about all those media critics?  It can't be that they were just worried about those poor high-achieving Duggar kids who open doors for old ladies and save the lives of 6 year old girls injured in car accidents (click link - true story). 

It may not be my within my realm of ability, but no amount of editing can disguise the fact that the Duggars are doing something right.  Even if people disagree with their methods, the end result is what we all hope to achieve.  The Duggars have left a wonderful legacy of accomplished and considerate children.  

How dare they.


  1. I'm sure they're very nice people, but something my friend said when she was pregnant with #19 has really stuck with me: "It's not a clown car, people." I hope #20 goes well.

  2. Doing something right for now? There is always something
    In the closet, just hanging there.

  3. I agree 100% with you! I love the Duggar's! I would love to have children that behaved and appreciated each other and those around them like the Duggar kids do. I don't care what anyone says this is one tight knit family that prays together and stays together and it is completely uplifting to see those kids grow up and blossom, not by being forced to, but by being led to! May God Bless them always.

  4. The important thing to me about the Duggars is that they are not having a whole boatload of kids that they can't support.

    They have found ways to save and make money so that they can take care of their family.

    They seem happy, decent, and well cared for. So good for them!

    If Michelle wants to have 20 kids, then that is up to her and her husband. It's her body and her business.

  5. I think the Mom just has some essential brain wiring askew that makes children not as annoying as they are to the rest of us. What I do question is, why were they so surprised they were pregnant again? I wasn't.

  6. There are seven billion people on a planet that obviously isn't capable of supporting either that number comfortably or the billions more headed our way.

  7. Are they told to play in the middle of the street? It worked for me.

  8. I have never seen the Duggars. It sounds like they are doing a better job of raising their kids than I might be, though.
    However, I am automatically skeptical, perhaps unfairly, of a family that opens their home up to television and celebrity.
    But I can't really weigh in until I actually see the show.
    Well written, Marianne.

  9. I just came on this post and I love it. I have subscribed tp your blog. :-)

  10. Amen sista-friend. I want a large, ginormous army of kids myself and I sympathize with them. I wonder why it's so popular, in this day and age, to look down on big families? I have a girlfriend with 5 kids who catches un-bridled hell for having the nerve to HAVE 5 kids (much less PLANNED 5 kids) that she and her husband care for with absolutely no assistance from the government. And the Duggars do seem so well rounded and adjusted. Good for them, they're doing somethin right. The name thing drives me a little batty though, not gonna lie :)

  11. Thanks all for the comments. I won't respond indiviudally like I usually do because I think we're all over the board about the Duggars. For the record, my hits went through the roof on this story. Apparently, the keyword "Duggar" is the way to go for more traffic. So Duggar Duggar Duggar Duggar. Or maybe just all the Duggars read the blog?

  12. Mar, These folks ceratinly have given us quantity. Where they surpass all my expectations is quality. Here's hoping my two little souls add something beautiful to this world. I think if we, as Mothers, remind our children why they're so special and back it up with suppoert and education, we'll hit paydirt...eventually.

    Love you!


  13. The main concern about the Duggars is their beliefs. They are Christian Fundamentalist who follow the teachings of Bill Gothard and Quiverfull. The idea is to keep kids sheltered from what they perceive as worldly influences. The kids are homeschooled using Bill Gothards ATi booklets which leaves a question mark on what kind of education they get. The kids can't date , watch tv,or listen to rock music. Men are the authority in the house and strict gender roles are practiced. They also promote "To Train Up a Child" and other highly controversial books. I find keeping tight reigns on children produces the opposite results.Many listen to rock music and watch tv and are not corrupted. In fact, tv is why we know the Duggars. I was a fan too until I found out their beliefs. and talk about those who grew up grew up like the Duggars. An aKeller's brother in law has a site called IBPL Detox.

    Having this many kids is selfish when you don't consider them growing up without a mother and deny them proper education.

    Erica@I think why ppl raise cane when others have so many kids is they get huge tax breaks paid for by the government. So yes they may not get food stamps per se but are getting huge child tax credits and deductions. What if, heaven forbid something happens to one or both parents

  14. roddma - Thank you for an extremely thoughtful comment. I figured they were probably a bit fringe, but I still can't help but marvel at the good manners and civility of so many children. It just seems so rare in world where kids mimic the entitled smart-ass brats on the Disney channel while staring blankly at adults who ask "how are you today?" I will definitely check out the links.

  15. Thanks for writing such a nice and funny-sweet post about them. I agree! I'm working on a post about meeting them and will link this from it :)

    1. Can't wait to read it, Mom of a bunch of great kids! Thanks for stopping by!