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.
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.