Daily Archives: November 9, 2011

20 And Counting! Are You Freakin’ Kidding Me?

The Duggars announced yesterday on the Today show that they’re expecting again. For the 19th time. (They had twins in 1998) Adding the 20th child to their family.

20 children.

Except that his name isn't Timmy. It's probably Justin or Jackson.

And if that isn’t freaky enough, are you aware of the names they’ve chosen for their children?

Joshua. Jana. John-David. Jill. Jessa. Jinger. (Jinger? Seriously? Where in the world did you find that name? Surely there were other J names to choose from. Oh say, like…..) Joseph. Josiah. Joy-Anna. Jedidiah and Jeremiah. Jason. James. Justin. Jackson. Johannah. Jennifer. Jordyn-Grace. Josie.

I’ve always thought it odd when parents went a little overboard with an overtly common thread to their children’s names. For instance, naming all of your children after nature: River, Thorn, Brooke. Or months or seasons of the year: June, August and Summer. (Yes. I actually know this family.) And of course, naming your children with the very same initials.

I haven’t formally studied this naming phenomenon but it has always struck me as odd. A couple of kids with the same initial? Not a big deal to me. A little lacking in creativity, I think. But no biggie. 

But 19 (soon to be 20) children with the same initials? That’s just weird.

And weirder, or should I say more disturbing, is having 20 children in the first place.

I thought I wanted a “large” family. Five children. That’s what I was aiming for. Didn’t happen. And I’m OK with that. My three keep me hopping and happy. I know a family with 8 children. And I’ve witnessed a lot of love but a lot of struggle, too. Children clamoring for attention. Children taking care of children. The older ones seem to be beyond their years – and sometimes, not in a good way. The middle children sometimes seem disconnected. And the youngest? A little too clingy. But overall, their family works for them. Despite my judgements on their choices. (Which I keep to myself, of course.)

But 20 children? Seriously?

How in the world can two adults give each of their 20 children the amount of quality time a child needs to develop into a self-assured, confident, happy and well-adjusted adult?

Assuming the parents sleep an average of 6 hours a night, that leaves 18 hours to: bathe, feed, clothe yourself. We have 17 hours left. With a work force of at least 14, let’s say that housework is done in another hour. Down to 16 hours. Food preparation, meal time and clean up for three meals must take as least 4 hours. Homeschooling takes a minimum of 4 hours per day, by law. Twelve minus 4 is eight. Then there is the care and breastfeeding of the littlest ones. Minus 2 hours for physical care. Kids need time to play. Even if you rotate who plays when, I’m sure there is a lost hour or two in there with mom and dad refereeing fights/disagreements or fixing XBox controllers (I do this daily. So, I would know).

We’ve got 4 hours for some quality one-on-one time with each child. (I realize they have four children over the age of 18. I’m including them in the mix for at least a phone call from their parents if they live out of the house.) 

Four hours divided by 20 is 12 minutes per child per day.

12 minutes to devote to each child. And that breakdown doesn’t include the hour of exercise, the 15 minutes of reading/meditation, the extra 15 minutes locked in your closet to get a few moments peace that each parent needs to stay sane.

20 and counting?

Sounds like just another form of crazy to me.

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