Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Duggar Advice Line: We Love You, But This is What Bugs Us

Most of us here have a genuine affection for the Duggars, a few of us don't, so this post will be of particular delight, but in any case, we're going to switch places with the Duggars and instead of letting them advise us, we're going to advise them. From reading the comments on different blog posts, even the most devoted of fans have certain things about them that we wish they would change. I'm not talking about their faith, their convictions, their deep moral fiber. We can't change their religious convictions, their beliefs in home-schooling, their beliefs in birth control, or desire to see their children court (even though they've said they can date if they want to.) But there are things in their day to day lives, little quirks that we've all mentioned here and there that it's time to put in one place, so let's do it now! Here's your chance to add your 2 cents!

Your Food Budget: My big Duggar advice bits have to do with their shopping budget. I know they have more to spend and probably don't need to be as frugal as they once did, but frankly, they still do have children in nappies that won't be 18 for....18 more years, so saving money on food is always a good idea. I wish they would stop buying those small cans of beans and start soaking beans in their crockpots that they are so in love with and cooking them the next day. They would save soooo much money and it wouldn't be any more work than opening up 16 cans (I've read the recipes, they're opening up way more cans than they need to!) I also would love to share with them my recipe for pizza dough--the amount they spend on frozen pizzas they could make a ton of home made pizzas with their commercial kitchen with very little work, especially with all that great equipment--I do it by hand and it's not that big a deal! Some argue that gardening wouldn't save them any money, but done right, and with proper canning and freezing, they'd save a fortune! If they learned to raise their own animals and slaughter they'd probably save some money there too. Or they could be buying in bulk from a butcher--sides of beef or pork--if they aren't already why aren't they sharing the news--they tell us other ways of saving money?

The Kids' Futures: During one of the 1 hour specials, each child was introduced, along with what they wanted to be when they grew up. Since everyone in Duggarland still thinks that the grownup teens still want to be what they wanted to be when they were little kids, it might be nice to set the record straight and fill all the fans in and tell us what the kids want to be now, if anything. Do they still want to be chefs, beauticians, midwives, pilots, missionaries, nurses, firemen, policemen, etc. Or have they changed their minds, as kids often do!

Your TLC Paycheck: We totally get that this is ABSOLUTELY none of our business, but since none of us will shut the heck up about it, clue us in on what kind of green you're getting from TLC and where it's going. Or at least insinuate what is going on with TLC. Is it a family thing? Is each Duggar paid individually? Do the kids over 18 get to do whatever they want with a paycheck? Ok I admit this question goes far out of bounds of politeness, but Duggarphiles really want to know and it bugs us that we don't.

Impartial Editing: While we love you, you may notice you get some bad press. Unfortunately Michelle gets called some very rude names--bad mother being the nicest of them. And most of us personally think it has to do with poor editing choices. We're all mothers and we know she does more than her fair share of the work in that home--unfortunately the camera doesn't seem to show any of it. Especially this season all we've seen is her coming and going to the hospital, or hooked up to a milking machine, yet we all know she's doing far more than that. It would be nice to see some of it to prove to the world that she still is a mother to the rest of her children--afterall it IS reality TV is it not? I'm also of the opinion that Josh must have ticked off someone on the TLC editing staff, maybe because he's getting paid as a video/audio guy, because they constantly show him in bed just waking up, giving everyone the impression that he's a lazy, no good, do-nothing.

TELL US: We understand that there are things that happen in your lives that we will never get to see and you don't want us to really see. We know the kids have friends and lives outside the show, but you can just mention that and let it go. Because NOT saying that leads your detractors to believe that you're keeping your kids trapped at home and that your raising them in some kind of cult. We all know that's not true, that you're trying to preserve some kind of private life for them that's seperate from the show, but just mention it---"the girls were off with their friends last weekend." It's not something you'd film, not people we'd see, but it's something we'd know. And it would shut up those nuts who think YOU are nuts. We also know that there are things you do film....around. For instance you went to church with the Bates but the sanctuary was practically empty. That smacked of people not wanting to be filmed. Either don't film it, or mention it, because it looked really really bizarre and almost WORSE than not showing it at all. Some things need more explanations than you're giving. Oh, and we'd really like some explanations about things like Josh's house--was it a gift or did he buy it? Does he rent or own his car lot space? What happened to all the cats you've had over the years--that's a lot of cats in such a short time?

DON'T TELL US: On the other hand, some things we don't need to know. Those of us that have been watching since the first 1 hour special understand that you've had cameras in your face for years now and you probably don't remember they are there anymore. We also have gotten to know your personalities a little bit and know which of you speak without thinking sometimes. Just remember, sometimes you can keep certain things to yourselves. Conception dates being one of them. While it didn't bother me, I got it, you weren't talking to us, you were talking to your son and his wife, remember that the cameras ARE following you and remember up above---impartial editing.

Above all, we love you and look forward to the pleasure of sharing your lives as long as you continue to allow us to glimpse into your world.


  1. A small piece of advice:

    Consider, just consider, that there are a LOT of wackos out there, that are dont' just think you're nuts etc. They are downright violently opposed to the lifestyle you lead, think your kids need to be 'rescued' and wish you harm. They had fits of magnificent proportions when you had baby 19, thought it 'served you right' and say things like 'they should have never conceived Josie' and that if Michelle or Josie had died, it would have been Jim Bob and Michelle's own fault.

    So consider that when you make a decision about doing more seasons of the show. Because while I love and enjoy watching you weekly, and appreciate that there is a show I can allow my kids to watch and not be worried(and they love seeing a family that's 'like us' on tv) about what they see (since the 12 yr old can ff the commercials), I think that it would likely be better if you went back to twice yearly specials or soemthing.
    I LOVE watching them weekly but I am thinking it might be better for the kids and their safety if they didn't have a weekly show.
    Mrs P

  2. Mrs P - I would at least like to see them install a state of the art alarm system on that big house. Maybe they already have one and we aren't aware of it ... but if not ... I think they need one.

    My advice probably comes way to late. But, in the 16 Kids and Moving In special they were riding in the bucket of an earthmoving piece of equiptment. Although I grew up on a farm - I still do well to identify a combine from a lawn mower, lol ... so I don't know what it is. (Maybe a backhoe). They need to realize how quickly something can go wrong with that type of machinery. It's not a toy (for adults OR children). I have lost two friends on similar equiptment - both working on their own property just as the Duggars were. I hope they operate heavy equiptment more safely now than they did in that episode.

  3. I totally agree on the budget saving stuff - but also realize we all have things we are willing to be frugal on and things we aren't.

    For me I would love to see them using modern cloth diapers. They are as easy to use as disposables and with the great laundry room they have at the house - a couple extra loads of laundry a week would be minor. With the "All in one" diapers available now (no plastic pants -- look and act like disposables, but made of cloth with a soft leakproof exterior)They move from a basket by our changing table to baby, to diaperpail (lined with a washable liner) to washer, back to basket.

  4. I'd have to agree with the cloth diapers...the only reason we never used them with our 1 child was that we were living in Central London when she was born and we didn't have a dryer (technically we did but it didn't work properly) and if it was raining and I had to hang clothes inside it could take up to 3 days for clothes to get completely dry--so we'd need about triple the normal amount of nappies a regular person would buy if you had a working dryer---and at UK prices the initial investment was just more than we could handle. In the states we still don't have a dryer--we hand dry everything and it can still take 2 days for clothes to be completely dry. With California prices for electricity I don't see us ever using a dryer and making the investment for another child should we be so lucky, although it would be nice.

    However with the Bates I think they should make the switch--as their financial situation is far more "dire" than the Duggars--they actually do qualify for food stamps whereas the Duggars obviously don't. The Bates however refuse the "hand out." I think the Bates would save a lot if they made the initial investment in cloth nappies and they'd have that money to spend elsewhere in their budget.

    The Duggars would show the world that they care about their "carbon footprint" if they'd make the switch, and since they are doing so much laundry anyway, it really wouldn't make that much of a difference. Plus they do have those nice new water-saving appliances that also save on electricity. Plus their hot water comes from wood-burning heat and they get their wood from their own property most of the time anyway. That ice-storm have them at least what, a year's supply of hot water?

  5. Thanks MaryBeth!! Once again you have out done yourself. I have been wondering about many of the topics you have posted.

    I see nothing wrong with courtship...but I still wonder if Josh had dated, would the others consider the same. Are they gonna do the same because Josh did it? Will they save that first kiss because Josh did or will they remember that their parents and grandparents kissed before their wedding. I'm just asking. Would be nice if they would talk more about it.

    I know we don't have a right to know EVERYTHING about this family, but a lot of the questions fans have been asking aren't at all intrusive. If you can talk about when a baby was conceived or give birth on TV...then I think it's fair to ask when and if your kids get to interact with other kids. An example would be Jason being invited to a birthday party. I know the siblings close in age will go with him. Nothing wrong with that. "ALL" the older girls have to go to keep the kids in check? Do all of them have the same friends? If so, that's good because all of them can hang around together!

  6. Angie,

    Our family has a lot of the same beliefs as the Duggars. My kids generally don't get invited to birthday parties as a 'just this child' invite. We have whole families as friends of our whole family, and we invite ALL the family--mom, dad, and kids to all birthday parties. This way is so nice, and the kids learn to socialize with all age groups, not just the kids their own ages.

    Our pastor's 13 yr old daughter put it so nicely when she was talking about her birthday party and her mom asked 'Who are you wanting to invite?' and she said 'ALL the kids at church, even the babies, b/c they are ALL my friends' and then she went on to add that she wanted the moms and dads too, b/c they were also friends of hers. (there are only 10 other kids at church, so this wasn't some gigantic party LOL)

    It seems like the Duggars are kind of this way too, that they invite whole families, or at least mom and kids to their birthday parties, etc. I'm betting their friends do the same.

    Mrs P

  7. Thank you Mrs. P. I'm just assuming ALL the Duggar kids have the same friends. You said this way helps the kids learn to socialize with all age groups, not just their own ages. This is a very good thing...but it appears that the Duggars only "socialize" with friends from their church group. Does your daughter have other friends who don't attend your church? Are "church" friends all she has? Please understand that I'm not saying it's wrong for her to just invite church friends. It's just that...all my friends didn't attend my church. Some didn't go to church at all. I learned very early how to "socialize" with people of ALL groups.

    If a Christian friend(someone that JB and Michelle trusts) invites ALL the "older" Duggar girls to a slumber party, would it be wrong of them to not go because they can't take the younger kids with them? I know they LOVE their family and I LOVE mine. Do they have to ALL go EVERYWHERE together ALL the time??

  8. I think it's important for the kids to have individual friends, unless of course they are friends with the same kids legitimately. Sending them along to "keep track of each other" is just weird to me, that's what the adults of the other children are for.

    As you may well know we attend an Chassidic temple, but are Orthodox--a minor difference. Chassidic Jews do tend to keep their children isolated as the Duggars do, but more so. Most Chassidic children aren't allowed to socialize with non-Jewish children and date a non-Jew? Forget it! Chassidum don't consider converted Jews "real" Jews. So if you think the Duggar kids are sheltered--ha! That's why we've kept Orthodox and not moved to the Chassidic way of life, we worship there because in our home town we have little choice--no real Jewish choice here. Our daughter will attend a Reform preschool and have many more Jewish kids to socialize with, but interestingly, our Rabbi doesn't consider "reform" to be "real" Jews either. I find that funny since I was raised Reform. But I want her to be able to have a religious upbringing with a religious education and be around children and our temple doesn't have any children in it so frankly, that's our only option in the town we live in and we're very impressed with their school. I'm hoping she'll make lots of friends and be invited to birthday parties and grow up with them through the years and no, I won't be a sheltering parent as my Rabbi and his wife are, although her father and I will be counseling her to marry within her faith when the time comes.

  9. My gripes are really with tlc.
    It anoys me that questions are asked of the kids that put them in an embarassing situation - one example that occurs was surrounding the whole NIKE thing - they asked Joy-Anna why and even on another occasion I think they asked JoHanna why she covered up an image on tv. I mean - yes we'd like to know, but not in a way that makes them look rediculous.
    I wish we saw them cooking recipes that weren't all tins or convenience. They do do some - if you look at some of the book recipes they make things that I would buy cos making is too much effort.
    At the same time instead of using tins of condenced soup why not just make white sauce with all the flavourings you can do. It's easy, quite quick and lower fat if you used skimmed milk.
    I think that tlc edit the shows sometimes in order to raise speculation and that bugs me.
    Oh and why is it too much bother to use a commercial dishwasher to clean plates. I've used them and they are easy, quick and dry plates too so it's got to be better than paper plates.

  10. To answer the question posed to me:

    Yes, my daughters (and sons) have some friends who don't attend our church. They aren't very close friends, so yes, their close friends that they see most often are church friends or cousins, etc. Normally these friends wouldn't come to a birthday party, just b/c we don't see them all that often.

    Now, our families(My husband's family and my family) are not anywhere close to as conservative as we are. Some are not Christians and do not attend church. They are around them frequently and have no issues with it. They are decent moral people, and all. :) LOL But they aren't as conservative as us. When our kids want to know why Cousin so and so can do XYZ and they can't, we answer depending upon age. For younger kids, it's more of a 'Our family does not do blah blah blah' For olders, we try to get into the reasoning behind our decisions and the Biblical tie in that we have for our decisions. The cousins would attend birthday parties etc, but of course their parents are invited too.

    And on the slumber party thing, well, we don't do slumber parties, so that's a non issue. Our kids don't sleep over at anyone else's home except grandma's and that's only once in a blue moon. :)

    They do go over to play with the next door neighbor nearly every day, and the pastor's wife has babysat for us or had them over for a playdate, etc, many times. But it is only a few people we would allow our kids to be with without us.

    Mrs P

  11. Marybeth, I was reading what you wrote about encouraging your daughter (when she's MUCH older!) to marry someone of the same faith.

    I wholehardedly agree with you. I've watched young couples "fall in love" with someone outside their faith, and it's probably the single biggest problem they have later in life.

    Although I'm sure you'd be disappointed, would accept your daughter's choice practicing a different faith when she's of an age to make those choices for herself?

    It's not any of my business, so you don't have to reply!

  12. I would have to say that if my daughter accepted a new religion whole-heartedly then yes, it would be ok with me. If she was staying Jewish and he (or she) was staying a different religion, that's where the problems start, having a common faith is what helps bind you together.

    I was adopted (born a Jew) but I was raised by Christian parents and I know it does hurt my mom that I'm not a Christian now. But I can't help it that at my core I'm a true Jew and those are my true beliefs. If my daughter did convert to another religion, I would accept it, but would hope that when she came to visit she would still honour ours (I don't force my Jewishness on my parents when I visit, so I would hope she wouldn't force her new religion on us when she visits.)

    I would also explain when she's older that I had 2 previous marriages where I didn't have any common faith and that didn't enhance the relationship at all (back before I knew I was Jewish and was attending church--both refused to go.) Like the Duggars, I would let our daughter learn from our experiences but still live her own life.

    My husband and I do tend to be very open. He's Euopean and I was raised to be liberal in my acceptance of people. I've dated Baptists to Muslims. I will say that since I've been married to someone who shares a common faith it is MUCH more wonderful than being married to someone you don't.

  13. Marybeth,

    What a kind and loving mom you are.

    I can tell you answered my question with sincerity and gave it some thought, thank you.

    I am very critical of the Duggar family in most areas. But I do believe that if one of their children wanted to marry outside their faith, they would accept it. I think it would be much harder for them if a child determined he or she was an atheist or agnostic.

  14. Thanks Mrs P. :)I have a better understanding now. Hope your daughter gets invited to a slumber party one day! Ha Ha. Just kidding.

    I'm happy to say I know a few people who have been married to spouses who don't share the same faith. It is possible...but it's not easy. I can't say I know what it's like because everyone I've dated came from a Christian background. Never been asked out by someone Jewish or Muslim. Still waiting...

    JB and Michelle would be concerned I'm sure. But, I also believe they would accept if any of the kids married outside the faith...or married a Christian rock star. :)

  15. Can I comment on the marrying outside their faith?? For a fundamentalist Christian, we would see it as a sin to marry someone who wasn't a Christian. The Bible tells us to not be 'unequally yoked' with non Christians, and this includes marriage to them. Therefore, it is better to limit your 'courting/dating' to Christians only.

    I am sure the Duggars have 'qualifications' for the men that will come calling on their daughers, as I think all parents do. I think that most modern parents just think they have no say so in it. But the Duggar girls have been raised to respect and honor their mother and father's opinion and I truly think that if Jim Bob and Michelle told them that they had prayed over a certain young man and really had reservations about it, the girls would respect that and trust their father's opinion on it.

    I 'dated' like 'normal' people. I was not raised the way I raise my children. We were on the conservative side of mainstream Christianity when I was growing up. I wore pants, cut my hair short, went to public school, etc. I was raised more like it seems Jim Bob's parents raised him and Deanna--conservative Christian, but not nearly as 'radical' as we are now ;) LOL

    I still had my husband ask my father's permission to marry me. My dad liked my hubby so he said yes, thank goodness. I am nor sure what I would have done if he'd said no. I was definitlely not a respecter of my father's opinions at the time.

    And even as mainstream Christians, we were always taught not to date or marry non Christians. Most Baptist denominations, and other 'conservative' (that being a relative term, b/c I've seen some churches in some so called conservative denominations that are NOT what I consider conservative) denominations teach this.

    Mrs P

  16. Mrs P. do you visit A Pondering Heart as well? I was reading some of her comments and came across another Mrs. P. Just asking. I enjoy reading there as well.

    Yes I agree that Christians are commanded to marry other Christians. Other religions teach the same. But, LOVE is a powerful thing! :) You just never know.

    Really doubt any Duggar kids will marry outside their faith. The pressure to please their parents would be too great. There are many people who love and respect their parents...but what if you are an adult as well. If you are well past you still have to seek approval? Can you still respect your parents yet not agree with them?

  17. No, I don't believe I've ever heard of that blog.

    Mrs P

  18. I have to admit to being a bit bewildered by their spending practices myself.

    Ok someone said something about making white sauce and seasoning to replace cream of soups. Please tell me how. Will it taste as good?

  19. I actually made their tatertot casserole with a homemade cream soup recipe found in the "Tightwade Gazette" instead of canned...much cheaper and tastes better than canned...canned cream soup smells gross to me...but you can make white sauce easy and you can add all kinds of flavours to it once it's made to make it any kind you want--sauteed mushrooms or celery, or garlic or see? and it becomes a million different sauces and adds so much flavour to the casserole! I wouldn't make it with a plain white sauce, myself. You could even make a plain white sauce and add grated cheese!!! If anyone wants the recipes we can add a thread for that :)

  20. I came across your blog earlier today, and have been reading it all the way through; it really is quite thought provoking, and well done!

    In terms of the marrying outside the faith thing, I wanted to comment. I am Lutheran (German family, need I say more?), and while it has never been said directly to my sister or I that we must marry someone else who is either Lutheran or willing to convert, when I became engaged to a Lutheran man, the sigh of relief was rampant. The fact that my fiance's family had attended church with my family during our younger years (they switched churches because of health reasons for his mother, to another church closer to their family home), and that the families still knew each other played a huge part as well. They knew the man that I was marrying had values and morals that could be depended on, since they knew his family had instilled them into him.

    My sister is dating someone who doesn't attend church at all, and while my parents and grandparents believe she needs to make these decisions on her own, you can tell from comments about my relationship that they wish her future marriage is to a "nice Lutheran boy" (a direct comment from my grandmother!).

    So, while we may be part of a more liberal sect of Christianity, the marrying a person of your faith idea is still very concise. And, IMO, one that should be; having a common faith and strength in your belief system not only serves a great purpose early on, but during all walks of life. I can't imagine sharing life's memories with someone who doesn't have the same concrete faith foundation that I have; there would be no purpose, it seems, or driving force behind the relationship. Just my thoughts, anways!

    In terms of questions to ask the Duggars, I would really love to ask them more on courting. I mean really delve into the details of what they believe. Having been a person who dated and can see the upside of courting and protecting my child, I would very much be interested in learning the ins and outs of it all. I think the other thing I would really like to ask them is about ATI/IBLP. I have looked on the ATI/IBLP websites, and really feel a pull to learn more about it (though I think we would end up in the more "liberal" section of ATI), but don't know where to turn for help on instituting it. It would be really helpful to hear from the Duggars on how they got started in on it, and what changes they made early on to make ATI principles important to them, especially for me since my fiance and I have seriously talked about homeschooling our children. Any thoughts from anyone?

  21. I just discovered your blog and I am very interested in all that you have to say! I LOVE watching the Duggars and I am always intrigued by their very unique lifestyle.. I am also very interested in understanding your thoughts on your food budget! I have been married for a few years now and we are planning on starting a family in the near future. I have a great deal of interest in keeping a low food budget and have become this process through couponing, but am looking into gardening, your pizza dough recipe, and raising your own food, etc. Do you have a farm? What is your pizza dough recipe and a few of your other favorite recipes? For someone just starting in gardening, where would you suggest I start first? Thank you so much!!!! I look forward to reading many more articles that you write!

  22. I am not a gardener, but grew up the child of i ate a lot of home-grown veggies and fruits...i've always felt that if you had the space and time and man power to do it, and you were of the frugal mind, why aren't you doing it? So that's why I wonder why it took someone else to grow a garden on the Duggar's land...

    where we live we can't grow a garden, we're moving soon and hopefully we may be able to grow a small patch, but it will depend on the soil...however we will still be able to get veggies from my mother's garden :) ...and learning to can is a lifelong skill everyone should know so when you do get a bounty from someone ELSE'S garden, you have the skill to preserve it (how many times have you been offered a free load of zuchini for example?)

    i've been thinking of starting a thread for recipes if more people are interested...i'll kick that idea around and if i can come up with enough recipes to put up that are "duggar style" i'll put them up for everyone :)

    i'm glad you enjoyed the site i hope you stay and post often!!

  23. What specifically is different about 'dating' vs 'courting'? (At least in this context.) Recipe sharing is great, especially if it all comes from the garden or the FM- processed food is less healthy, more expensive, and doesn't taste as good.

  24. Colors: dating would be dating different people, either one at a time--different relationships, seeing where they go, breaking up and moving to the next, or casually dating more than one person to see if that could go to something serious....courting would be only seeing one person in a serious way, knowing it would lead towards engagement and that being your only relationship (unless of course it sours and one of you changes your mind)

    i'm still thinking about the recipe to approach it...

  25. wow! a recipe link would be amazing! i love easy recipes (and prefer when they dont cost very much)

  26. One other thing I as curious about is why on so many of these shows like 19 Kids, Little People, The Gosselin's, is why the kids never seem to have sheets or a real blanket on their bed. They all show shots of them, at home, sleeping on the plain mattress, LPBW does it also in the messy boy's room. Just curious.

  27. they make about 25,000 to 75,000 per episode.
    theyre loaded with money.
    not like youd ever know because theyre all so humble :)
    <33 duggars