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We Want to be "The Next Duggars"

By KateTietje |

Okay, does that sound dumb?  I only partially mean it.

Recently it was announced that Josh and Anna Duggar are expecting their second child — a little boy.  Of course, expecting a second child less than two years after their first, and being so young (they’re only 22) has opened up a huge backlash.  Are they planning to follow in their parents’ footsteps?  Will they have a mega-family too?  And if they do…should they?

But you know what?  I get it.  Because I want to be like them too.

When my husband and I were dating, we talked about having kids.  We both had always wanted kids so that we’d have them was a no-brainer.  But how many, and when?  I said I’d always wanted four.  (Though in my very early dreams…like when I was 7…I wanted 10.)  My husband said he wanted 5.  I said done.  Granted, there was a lot more to the conversation than that, but that was gist.  I still remembering having the “biggest” conversation about it, as we drove together to an outdoor concert venue to watch the Cincinnati Pops play John Williams.  It was wonderful.

Anyway.

Our families smiled and nodded.  Sure, five kids.  Right.  See how you feel after you have a couple.

Well, then our daughter was born.  About a month into it, my husband said, “This is fun!  Let’s have ten!”  He was kidding…sort of.  And then he wasn’t.  It was several months later when we learned about “quiverfull,” which states that every child is a blessing from God and to be cherished.  They don’t use any birth control (even natural family planning) and accept as many children as God gives them…or doesn’t give them, in some cases.  They don’t use fertility treatments, either.

We talked and prayed and decided that that is where our hearts are.  And so, here we are, expecting baby #3, and fully prepared to take any other child that we get.  And no…we won’t take only biological children.  When our kids are older and we have more experience as parents, we’d love to be foster parents…to teenagers.  I don’t think I could handle the baby/little kid years, somehow, as a foster parent.  But the idea of taking in a troubled teen speaks to me.  I’d like to be old enough to not look like a teen myself, and have had experience raising at least one before I do it, though!

We’ve shared this decision on my blog (and we’ve been heavily criticized).  But you know?  This is what is right for us.

I admire that spirit in the Duggars too.  They stay true to what they believe in, even though they’re well aware that many people disagree.  In many circles, it’s almost considered common knowledge that they’re wrong.  That, to me, is crazy.  They’re different, but they’re not wrong.  They’ve made their choices, and they’re living with them.  They deal with the criticism gracefully.  They are a happy, close family.  They are debt-free and self-sufficient.  What’s wrong with that?

I’m sure some of you can come up with a whole bunch of arguments, none that I haven’t heard before.

The one way that we differ strongly from the Duggars is in our use of resources.  We choose to cloth diaper, and do other things to reduce our use of disposable items.  We’re “eco-friendly,” if you will.  We also choose sustainable, local foods much of the time (the Duggars’ recipes on their website are a study in canned foods and other “standard American diet” type fare), and plan to buy and run our own farm.  Writing here is bringing us ever closer to that dream.

But no one is perfect.

And so, although we don’t really want to be the next Duggars (I don’t know if I could honestly handle 19 children, nor do I want a TV show about my life), I can understand and appreciate their lifestyle.

What do you think?

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About KateTietje

katetiejte

KateTietje

Kate Tietje is a food blogger who focuses on natural food and cooking. In addition to Modern Alternative Mama, she has contributed her writing to the Parenting and Pregnancy channels on Babble.

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28 thoughts on “We Want to be "The Next Duggars"

  1. bek says:

    You go girl! Forget anyone who criticizes. If God is calling them to a different life, so be it! You keep answering His call for your life – oh, and good luck! ;) I am “baking” baby number 2 currently and my ideal number is already starting to dwindle ;)

  2. Tracy says:

    I totally agree with you. The Duggars are living a Christ centered, Christ-like life and most people disagree with them. We as Christians are called to stand out and the Duggars certainly do!
    I know that they don’t eat bacon as it is listed as unclean in the Bible. Unfortunately, they substitute icky Butterball turkey bacon with all of the nitrates. Ew! Maybe they will further their research into healthy, clean, God given goods.

  3. Megan Alba says:

    Kate, I love your heart! I’ve been following your blog for several months, and I know you have a heart for mothering. Regardless of how many children God gives you, you’ll be a great mother!

  4. Jessie says:

    I am surprised that Josh and Anna are getting backlash for having child #2 at the age of 22. I am expecting baby #3 within the next few weeks. I am 23 years old. I had my first 2 children when I was 20. And no they are not twins. Baby #1 came and 10 months later baby #2. I dont think they are wrong or that anyone else who makes the choice to have children are wrong. I am not perfect..but I am learning as I go the same as any other parent out there. One thing is true I love God and I love my kids. The rest we can always figure out right?

  5. Honey says:

    As a momma with 12 pregnancies and 3 babes I LOVE the Duggars large family too. We want to have 6 children still…and our oldest is 12 now. And we started at 20 & 25…just babies ;) !!

    I always wondered as I would watch the show with all the paper plates (maybe they’re biodegradable or composted) and styrofoam cups (grr!) why they do that and how expensive it HAS to be.

    I’d like to encourage you to check out EC’ing (elimination communication). We spent only $40 on cloth diapers and a few potties. With ec’ing you’re not even using the extra water and electricity resources which is so great. And, it draws your relationship closer and stronger with your babes as you learn the tiniest detail about them.

    I think people should have the number of children they can care for and want. I grew up in a family of 4. My dad was home every night and the whole weekend. I see Jim Bob giving more attention to all those kids more than my dad ever gave to my brother and me…after all he needed to ‘relax and watch tv’. My husband who works 12 hours 7 days a week (and has for the past 3 years MANDATORY) and works from 2pm-4am. After sleeping until 11/11:30 he’s up and interacting with us all…so 2-3 hours we get with him each day. He plays, reads, INTERACTS with all of us. So yeah…some people can’t handle having 2 kids…and some can handle 19.

    Honey

  6. Amanda says:

    I agree with you about the Duggars. They are taking care of their children just fine and I see no reason why they can’t or shouldn’t be allowed to have as many children as they want. Who are they harming?

  7. Deb says:

    If your heart is leading you to have lots of children – go for it. I love the fact that you would also consider fostering – so many abandoned and mistreated kids need love and a home. My only beef with quiverfull is the way they view girls – they are raised to be nothing more that subservient baby factories. :( At least – that’s my opinion from reading the Bill Gothard materials. Aside from that – I say follow your dreams and if you change your mind once you hit a certain number – that’s ok too.

  8. Jen says:

    I really admire the moms with many, like the Duggars. Don’t listen to negative comments. Focus on the positive. There is a lot of positive! There are many people out there like that. Just find a good support network. Our families also look at us like we’re “crazy”, but I find other supporters and resources to turn to. I’ve read many great books on large families. The world is designed for families of 4, but it is definitely possible and wonderful to have a large family. Everyone looks at us like we are crazy with our 4 under 5, but we are happy and feeling complete. If we had better resources and more stability we’d probably have more. I love the quiverful approach that every child is a gift from God because they are! We also are considering fostering or adopting later on, but for now we are happy. You’ll know when you’re family is complete. Until then just cherish every moment. Good luck!

  9. Tricia says:

    I agree with Deb. I’m not against the Duggars. In fact, I have grown to like them very much. However, I worry that their daughters are being taught that their job is to have/take care of babies. These teen girls have a buddy system with their younger siblings. If I had a gang of teen girls helping me, I could have a ton of kids. But I do not, and even if I did, I would not expect that level of ‘help’ raising my younger children. Additionally, I also wonder how much individual time each of these kids gets, and the potential damage Mrs. Duggar is doing to her body with all of these pregnancies. But to each his own. If they are happy, then so be it.

  10. Anna says:

    I don’t have a problem with the Duggars. I find it odd that so many people are wondering about how much “attention the kids are getting” in a family that large …when we live in a culture in which most mothers are back to work within a year (or earlier) of having a child. So it’s somehow acceptable to get out, work, and spend time away from your child, but it’s not acceptable to have a large family take up all of your time and attention? Plus, their kids seem happy, content, and thriving.

    I find it baffling that in an age of “tolerance” we’re only tolerant of certain people and certain beliefs.

    Kate, not to trying to be rude– but that is an awkward position with your skirt/shorts… ;)

  11. Jan. says:

    I’m not a person you’d call particularly religious. I can’t see myself making my family planning subject to a religious set of rules and I am not a big fan of the Duggars. That being said, we have 4 kids, and are planning on more. We do well enough financially, are still very young (28 and 34, respectively). I can’t see why we should stop growing our family when it gives us such great joy! Naturally, I get why some people love having big families, though I respect people who choose not to (I grew up as a single child). I tip my hat off to anyone who enjoys that great journey of having kids. However many or few they may have. All I know, is we want more. :-)

  12. A.Roddy says:

    Yes but you must think logically, If something happened to you and your husband and you couldn’t work, you divorced or worse who would take care of this many kids? It creates a possible tax payer burden.,Where do you think your child tax credit, food stamps, wic comes from? The taxpayers thats who. the Duggars are are exception but for everyone like them theres a quiverful family on food stamps.I don’t feel the need to emulate what I see on TV. Kids aren’t collector dolls you can set on shelf. Quiverfull makes me think of Andrea Yates. She couldnt handle five and Rusty neglected the doc warnings on her mental condition because relgion ruled.What smart person would actually choose this life in the 21st century for ‘religious purposes’? You would think we had learned our lessons from Jim Jones, Yates and Waco. The Bible was a different culture then. I view Quiverfull like getting tired of an computer or cell phone only a few months old and wanting another when they both are working fine. They think about another child and the current one isnt even 6 months old. What aren’t the first 2-5 doing for you to make you want another?

  13. L Stokes says:

    You might want to do a little more research about the Quiverfull movement before broadcasting that you’re one of them. It is part of the Christian patriarchy movement, which teaches that men and women have separate roles in the home and that these are mandated by God. Men are the leaders, the decision-makers, and the ones who work outside the home. Women are completely relegated to the home-maker, child-rearing sphere and must “submit” to their husbands. Think about that for a minute – that’s fine if that’s what people choose, but to be told you have NO OTHER CHOICE because God says so is a little draconian, don’t you think?

    It isn’t enough for this movement to impose this on their own members – they have a very active political agenda and would really like to impose this on everyone (which is my strongest object to them – fine to have your own morality, but no way you’re going to impose that on me). In addition, there are many accounts of abuse, both physical and mental, that Quiverfull wives go through (see nolongerquivering.com), and since all they can do is “submit,” there is no support system, no help for them. Also, all those children, whether you intend it or not, are going to be a drain on any state or local political system. You can’t possibly pay college tuition for all those children, and the less education they receive, the more likely they will rely on public assistance or remain in poverty for much of their lives. Additionally, we’re going to face an energy crisis and a overpopulation problem in the next 50 years, and your many children are really only adding to that burden. So, if you really want to be eco-friendly, stop at 3 or 4, and raise them right. I’m sure God would thank you for being a good steward of the earth and of your children.

  14. KateTietje says:

    I should probably mention we only very, very loosely “subscribe” to the quiverfull movement. Pretty much as far as “children are blessings from God.” We don’t follow — or believe — that women have no use outside of the home (or I wouldn’t be blogging here) and would never train our children to believe such. We want them to feel free to choose where THEY want to be — and if our girls want to go to college, so be it (there are college funds already started for the two we have). If they don’t — we don’t feel they should HAVE to. But, it’s entirely up to them.

  15. Bunnytwenty says:

    Kate, you do run the risk of being lumped in with people with some pretty backwards ideas about women if you use the word “quiverfull.” It doesn’t seem to gibe well with your beliefs, aside from being Christian and involving a lot of kids.

    With that said, I’m sorry people are being so nasty on your other post. Stay strong, keep blogging!

  16. lisa says:

    Ummmm: If you can’t love the two you have, what are you going to do with a third? There are no do-overs in children. Each is a separate, wonderful being…worthy of love and caring. If you can’t deal with a “less than perfect” birth experience, can’t deal with an independent child…..quit now, while you are ahead.

  17. L Stokes says:

    Katie, you don’t subscribe AT ALL to the Quiverfull movement, and if I were you, I’d be very careful about associating yourself with them (as another commenter also suggested). The very core of their belief system – and this includes the Duggars’ beliefs although they don’t say it openly on their show – is this idea that women are just baby machines. So if you’re not down with that, you’re not in the Quiverfull movement – you’re just having as many babies as you can.

    In light of what you’ve been writing about your ambivalence about your first child as well as the point I made before about having so many children, I really wish you would re-examine why exactly you want to just keep having them. If children are blessings from God, then tend to the ones you have. In a culture where we over-consume, over-produce and never deny ourselves a single indulgence no matter how wasteful, I feel like people lately are including babies in that over-consumption. If you have trouble bonding with your daughter, would having another and yet another and yet another really help your relationship with that first one, or would it just be a way to never truly deal with the issue? Or (even worse) would it just increase your stress level with ALL of them?

    Watch the Duggars more carefully on television. Michelle never really seems to engage very intensely with any of her children, and her older girls are pretty much 24/7 babysitters, working in an industrial kitchen to try and feed them all. Kate Gosselin’s family life imploded – partly from chasing fame, and partly, I think, from the stress of caring for so many children all the time. At the very least, if you are going to have many children, adopt. There are so many kids who need good homes and good parents, and there’s no need to produce more if you want to have a large family. Just please think about it.

  18. SarahMC says:

    Why would someone who professes to be “eco-friendly” want to have that many kids?

  19. Rebecca says:

    I wonder if Michelle Duggar has a favorite?

  20. Marie says:

    The reason they are “wrong” is because they are having tons of kids without thinking at all about whether it is actually good for the kids are not. They pass off parenting responsibilities to older children, denying those children their own childhood and denying the smallee children their right to have actual parents. I mean, for goodness sake, these kids have a SIGN UP SHEET they must use if they want to actually have a conversation with their mom or dad. That is terrible parenting.

  21. Ireene says:

    Good for you! I love the Duggars. Everytime I hear someone complain about how many kids they have I ask “which one of them would you rather not have on this earth?” Hubby and I are not planning on that many kids, but we do want a lot of them. Parenting 150 years ago looked a lot like Duggar families. Those parents stayed together, the kids were better behaved, less selfish and they did incredible things at very young ages. Finally children are a blessing a gift and a treasure from the Lord! As a mom of two and dreaming of more I say go for it!

  22. Pam Brown says:

    You’re very ignorant if you think that buying locally grown food and limiting your use of disposable products will off set the ecological impact of having many children.

  23. Mssarcia says:

    I think the Duggars are great. They do such a good job with their children.
    Too bad they’ve influenced Octomom to have so many children. She wants to be rich and famous. She’s a total lost cause.

  24. Just Me says:

    The older Duggars don’t get a childhood/get to be kids/teenagers because they have to constantly take care of the younger ones. I know I would definitely rebel if my parents decided everything for me…I can’t wait to read about one of the Duggars rebelling.

    Also, the Duggar kids are sheltered too much from the real world – the world outside their home. They all say they want to be firemen and nurses and have occupations that require you go to college. Do they realize that they will eventually have to leave their home and associate with people that are not are not home-schooled or Christians? Are rude? Not kind? Disrespectful, etc? They are raising their kids to have a skewed view of reality. They don’t prepare their kids enough for the real world.

  25. clara says:

    I can totally appreciate where you’re coming from. I’m a no-artificial BC using Catholic & am open to life too, but…when the current baby is weaned early to get pregnant with the next one, that’s missing out on a big part of the natural order. It also bothers me immensely that in the Duggars ( & in many mega households) older kids are raising younger ones. In the Catholic culture we are supposed to evaluate our whole family & really contemplate whether its a good idea to bring another kid into the family..not have kids just b/c we can. For some families that may mean 1 or 2 kids, others may be fine with 10. Its not a competition, each person is their own person not an object, which is how it can be in some huge families.

  26. Maggie says:

    The Duggars are completely irresponsible and ignorant. From what I’ve seen on TV, the parents barely take care of the younger ones and put most of that responsibility on the older children, without stopping to think about what the actual children might prefer. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be 1 of 19 kids. No matter what you say, you just cannot personally connect and bond with each child like you would if you had less. It’s not a matter of being a good parents or no, its a matter of time and attention. You cannot give 19 children the attention each one deserves. As for the older children, they should be allowed to be kids, enjoy their childhood, and not be bogged down with the responsibility that belongs to the parents.

    Furthermore, the world is grossly overpopulated, and anybody, ESPECIALLY an American, who strives to have as many children as possible, is being incredibly irresponsible and disrespectful towards every other person on the planet. The “eco-friendly” myth is bullshit. Cloth diapers won’t save the world. You probably think happy, “sustainable” meat is real too.

    I dream of living in a secular world where shit like this doesn’t even come up.

  27. Melissa says:

    How can you say that you want so many children when your in the current situation you are in? Knowing which child you would choose to save if it came down to it, I can’t inagine how you would be feeling with even 3 children let alone more. I feel sorry for your daughter now, and the children to come. All i can say is good luck and i hope you sort your issues out before you have any more.

  28. Tshipe says:

    I think if you are responsible for your kids, that’s fine if you want to have many. I don’t understand why people have to be so nasty mean on blogs. Would they really talk to someone like that on the streets or in a cafe? Or are they cyber-bullying?! Grr.
    I’m sure you’re not trying for as many as you can, but that you are open to however many God decides to bless you with. That is a huge difference. I love how hatred don’t even fully read the article!
    Hope things go well for you!

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