Cheaper by the dozen? Try 16 kids
Leada Gore, Editor
They call themselves "The Duggar Family."
There are 18 of them – a mom and dad and 16 children. Dad is Jim Bob and mom is Michelle. The children are Joshua, 17, John David, 15, Janna, 15, Jessa, 12, Jinger, 11, Joseph 10, Josiah, 9, Joy-Anna, 8, Jeremiah, 6, Jedidiah, 6, Jason, 5, James, 4, Justin, 2, Jackson, 1 and Johannah, five months. (If you can't tell, the Duggars like "J" names. I bet Jehosophat or Jingle Bell is next.)
The Duggars live in Arkansas and are the focus of a cable television show I caught recently. They are deeply religious, eternally peppy and amazingly calm.
The show focuses on – what else? – the family's 16 children and how they manage things such as money, time and childcare.
Dad Duggar sells real estate and apparently is doing quite well in the business, considering the family's average grocery bill was $600 every two weeks. Mom Duggar homeschools her brood, so in addition to handling the household, she also makes sure they know their ABC's. Each younger child is assigned an older child as a buddy, mainly I guess to avoid Mom Duggar just yelling "hey you!" at a child.
Each child is also assigned chores, covering such things as organizing the pantry, taking out the trash or, worst of all, the laundry. Mom said she and her assigned helper do about 10 loads per day.
The show about the Duggars was fascinating. It turned surreal, however, when they revealed they were living in a three bedroom, two bath house while they completed their 7,000 square foot dream home. They were doing all the work themselves and even though there were lots of helpers, even the best six-year old isn't much help when it comes to putting a roof on.
So, for some three years, they lived all together in the little house. There was so much togetherness that during their time at the rental house Mom Duggar wound up pregnant two more times, producing Jackson and Johannah.
The show ended with the Duggars moving into their new house. It featured eight washing machines and dryers, a commercial kitchen, a 300-square foot closet shared by the entire family and two giant bedrooms, one for the girls and one for the boys.
The parents also had a cozy room, something the designer said she wanted to make "romantic" for the two of them. I don't think they need any help there.
The Duggars won't say if they are through with their family and aren't counting out another one or two "J's" down the road. You can think of them this week when you're in the middle of driving the carpool or picking up the kids at ball practice and think that things could be a whole lot worse. About 16 times worse, to be exact.