Nineteen Reasons Why I am Digging the Duggars

Most days I can’t wrangle three boys and a dog, leaving me in awe of the Duggar family of “19 Kids and Counting” fame. Here’s why …

Mama Duggar pushed out 19 babies. Period. I could end the list right here but that would be no fun.

They built their own house. Not building like most people who periodically check the progress of the people actually doing the work. Themselves … BY HAND. And not one child walloped another child over the head with a hammer in the process. Truth.

After they built their house, they helped their friends, the Bates family, build their house. The Bates also have 19 kids (yes, really) and the misfortune of sharing the hotel name from the movie “Psycho.” Nonetheless, not one of the 38 children walloped another child over the head with a hammer in the shared process.

Mama Duggar found a style in 1979 and stuck with it. Talk about confidence. You have to be rocking some serious self-esteem to sport the same jumpers and hairstyle for decades.

They were smart enough to deduce that if you are going to support 19 kids, you better get a major television network contract pronto. I think they really believe God wants them to be on TV. I am starting to believe it, too.

They homeschool their kids through college. My favorite part about the good old U.S.A. is that handing over gobs of tax money to the government ensures that other people educate my children—seven hours a day, 10 months out of the year. It’s a good thing too because I barely possess the skills necessary for summer work supervision. #schoolteachersrock.

The children’s names all begin with the letter “J.” Yet, somehow, Mama Duggar never confuses them. Seriously? I call the boys by the dog’s name. Mark is Mac, Mac is Mark. Eventually I surrender and just call everyone in the family “babe.”

The children do not watch television, play video games or troll the Internet. Instead, they watch appropriate DVDs and have limited, protected access to the Web for learning. There would be bloodshed if we were left to our own devices. This disclosure should bring me more shame than it actually does.

Mama Duggar’s voice. It is like a lullaby. Soft, lilting and oh so quiet. It is the calm voice all the parenting books recommend so children are forced to stop what they are doing and strain to hear us. I have never actually heard this voice come out of my own mouth but, thanks to Mama Duggar, I now get what all those experts were talking about.

This is one good looking crew (not to be shallow). Maybe their eyes are brighter and they look healthier because they don’t eat school cafeteria food and aren’t constantly exposed to the unnatural glow of the computer and television screen.

They rock the homemade gift better than anyone EVER. Crafty and appropriate. Scrap books, sewing, they do it all. Well, they stop short of weaving a basket from twigs found in the backyard, but there is always next season. #itsgoodtohavegoals

They learn to read music, play instruments and sing at home. I think back to the 3rd grade recorder practices and cringe. Multiply by 19 and feel faint. The kids wrote and performed a dinner show for their parents’ anniversary one year. The show was impressive but apparently the dinner wasn’t. The Duggar parents called that horrible food a blessing anyway and didn’t ask for a Lean Cuisine as a back-up or anything.

The Duggars don’t drink. And they have 19 kids. This notion is a little out of my wheelhouse. Maybe if I didn’t drink I would not mix up my kids and the dog.

They leave the house. It’s really that simple for me. I would never leave the house. They have a buddy system so an older child is in charge of a younger one but it still seems completely overwhelming. Don’t even get me started on vacations.

Guys that want to date Duggar daughters have to get the girls’ phone numbers from dad. The ways in which I love this rule are endless. Papa Duggar is the gatekeeper and discards the weak by quoting scriptures. At that point a suitor is either heading for the hills or settling in for a courtship Duggar-style. Genius.

And speaking of courtships … I offer the side hug. The most awkward move on the planet and a staple of the Duggar courtship. This “buddy” hug is meant to keep tempting body parts from touching each other like they would in a more traditional hug. I think this is how they save money on the honeymoon. Does it really matter where you go if you haven’t even hugged or kissed each other until the wedding? Um, no.

Birthday celebrations. They have to plan 21 birthdays if they stick to only honoring the special day of everyone living there. Add in extended family, grandchildren and in-laws? Fageddahbout it.

The grocery store. Mama Duggar says her monthly grocery budget is $3000 and averages 3 dozen eggs a day. I don’t know how she stops shopping and cooking long enough to homeschool anyone. Maybe the classroom is in the kitchen. But if she uses recipes and “freezes beautifully” portions to teach math, we have moved into a whole new arena of resourcefulness. I just can’t relate.

Shoes. This is one aspect of their lives they don’t focus on during the show and for good reason. That house must be like living in the aisles of Payless. Shoes everywhere. All sizes. All colors. There is no shoe rack, basket or bin in the world meant to contain shoes for 21 people, most of whom share a room with another family member or three.