Monday, September 20, 2010

Duggar Advice: What Have We Learned From Them?

We've touched on this in several different posts, but life being what it is, this topic has come to the surface so I thought we could talk about it. I've recently gotten Zephyr potty-trained, for the most part. Granted she refuses to pull down/pull up her own pants, but she isn't having accidents and she's sitting on the adult potty, so I'm happy.

This process has been long and hard for me. I tried several different techniques from books and talking to friends. I think it's important to give Michelle Duggar some props too, especially since I read her advice first and then didn't use it. She writes that she waits until the child is able to pull up/pull down their own pants (getting them on backwards is allowable hahaha) and she doesn't like using the small portable potty chairs. Well I didn't do either of these. We went through a long phase where she would go by herself when she needed to go in her potty chair as long as she had nothing on the bottom half of her body. If she had any kind of pants on, she'd wet them. Finally, somehow, we got past that and she wore underpants only. Then we added pants. Then we took her seat and put it on the big potty (the first time was traumatic, but now it's just fine.) And here we are.

I can see her reasoning on both counts. She had 17 kids when she wrote the book (pregnant with #18--she was born as they concluded the final chapters.) With that many children, having to take a child to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes and take their pants down and back up would be next to impossible--even if someone else is helping her (the child's buddy, for example.) And I also understand why some people don't like the potty chairs. They are kind of gross to empty and clean--it never fails how careful you try to be, they always seem to splash...bleah. She also pointed out that the child likes to try to "help." Zephyr tried to help many times and the mess was frightening. But on the plus side, they are the right height, the right size, and less intimidating than the big thing that flushes loudly. We moved to the big potty as soon as she stopped wetting pants because I wanted to be able to leave the house without pull-ups. Now that she's comfortable on the big potty, she will go on one no matter where we are.

So now that I've shared that story with you, let's talk about other advice or examples the Duggars have shared with us and we've used. I have always shopped similarly to them--discount markets and buying in bulk, buying the store brand (the name brand stuff shown in their pantry during the moving in show was donated to make the pantry look "full.")

We don't buy a lot of used things, because we don't buy a lot of things period, but we do hunt down the cheapest price for things we do buy. When I do shop the used market it's often from a favourite used book store in Portland, Oregon (from their website since I don't live there anymore) and eBay (although eBay doesn't have as much used stuff as they did when they started.)

I do go to local thrift shops when I need things for Zephyr and I have found many nice dresses at a particular one for me. I've even found very nice pants for my husband to wear to temple. The only thing I haven't found (and I have gone to 7 local thrift shops looking) are used shoes. I have never found any used shoes in my daughter's size--most of the stores I went to didn't have any selection at all, even for adults. I'm still kind of amazed as to why that is. So I find her discounted shoes at Ross or DD's. When we lived in London I bought and sold (after she outgrew them) designer baby clothes off of ebay, usually selling them for more than I actually bought them for. I tried doing that once we moved back here and most of the name brand designer stuff didn't sell or sold too cheaply, so I gave that up.

I keep telling myself I'm going to do the Proverb-a-day, but so far I haven't made the time to do it. We have, though, become much more observant in our Judaism and that has made our family more cohesive.

Every time I raise my voice I think of Michelle and remind myself to dial it down. I am hoping that calm and quiet will counteract the hysterics of a 3 yr old who doesn't want to eat her chicken.

I have tried a few of their recipes, but I rewrote them and personalized them a bit.

So while I enjoy them and am fascinated with them, I'm not the best follower in their way of life. What advice from the Duggars have you used and found helpful and successful?


  1. Well, I haven't used it yet, but I like the idea of hanging the kids' clothes in the laundry room (provided there's enough space, that is). No matter what size family you have, this sounds like an easy way to deal with laundry.

    I don't like many of their recipes; too much canned soup-bases and cheese. I'm honestly too afraid to try the tator tot casserole.

    I'm a babysitter, and I often do what you do, Marybeth, before I yell at one of the kids-- think of how crazily calm Michelle is. I'm no big fan of hers, but I really admire how she manages to calmly and effectively discipline her kids.

  2. I'm very unorganized so I would like to try her storage system that she talked about in the book.

  3. I try to follow the 'praise your children 10x more than you correct them' and I try to lower my voice and remain calm at all times like Michelle. (Of course that's only possible with the Lord's help! I personally could NEVER do it)

    I also try to always project that having lots of children and new babies are the most wonderful thing in the whole world and that there is no greater gift than children/new babies and motherhood. I think I've been successful in that one, b/c my beautiful daughters (ages 12, 10, and 7) all want 'at least 20' LOL My 5 yr old boy tells me his wife had better want at least 47. LOL!!!

    Mrs P

  4. We use the chore cards, the laundry soap, the each one help one, other than that it wasn't Michelle or the Duggars that taught the tricks to me ;)

  5. I now utilize a family closet and it has shown me how many clothes my DH has when he says he has none!! It's a lot easier to keep track of who has what and weed out outgrown clothes when they are all hanging there! Each person has a box for undies and another for socks. All socks are tossed into a bin and sorted when we have time. I am trying to get a specific type for each person, one day I'll just toss them all and buy 3 dozen!! LOL

    I no longer have broadcast TV and it has changed the way we think. I homeschool my kids now I wanted to do it eyars ago when my son was little but was talked out fo it and I see the change in him so much!

    I do buy used first before I go new and even then I bargain shop thru the stores online to see who has the best deals.

    I am trying to get the storage system going it does require time and lots of boxes but I have loads of totes no longer used for clothing that are slowly being utilized!

    I wish in soem ways the Dugagrs had been "found" earlier, it may have changed our lives earlier and prevented some issues we had.

    We paid off our house and we do have car loans but are working at paying them off. My DH realizes that CC's are not free cash and has changed hs way of thinkign and is paying his off.

    We have changed the way we think and I have realized that the person I was trying to be was not me and I am happier in my skin now. I am envious to a small degree ebcause I wanted a large family but my DH was brought up to beleive 2 was enough (well we have 3) and there was enorous pressure on me to have only 2!

    I do try to be less impulsive in my reactions to thigns that happen and know that some of it is the stress i live under but we hope to change that soon.

    I have learned the biggest lesson is that it's OK to be different even if people do not agree with you.