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.


Filed under children, Soapbox

20 responses to “20 And Counting! Are You Freakin’ Kidding Me?

  1. When I saw this in the news yesterday, the only word that came to mind was “insane”. How there is “time” in the day to be a parent to 20 is hard to explain (you did a great job) .. but, how do you afford 20 kids? Did they inherit millions? Does one of them work out in the world somewhere earning great pay? (that makes explaining “time” even more difficult) How much does it cost on average to raise a child? I think large families are great if you can do it well … but, 20 children is not large, it is crazy.

  2. It really does take a whole village to raise a child. I need my support people with my ONE child. So, where’s this village that will help the Duggars? The two times I’ve seen this show (2 hours I’ll never get back) I haven’t seen any village. In fact, with the homeschooling, they’re even more isolated than the “average” family. I’d really like to see what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling… who’s losing their shit and so on.

  3. Oh, my head ( and lady parts) hurts just thinking about it! I think when you could start a professional sporting team and staff an airport with your kids, you know you’ve gone too far!

  4. The emotional toll would be too much for me. Then, as Bearyweather said, how on earth do you pay the costs? Can you imagine grocery shopping for that group? How many carts of food would it take? What kind of vehicle do you need just to carry the groceries home? Much less how does the whole family ever go somewhere together? I’m pretty sure Disneyland would be out of the question.

  5. BeckySefton

    I’m one of 9. With the exception of my brother and I, our first name initials are all different: a decision my mother consciously made. M, S, E, J, I, C and H.

    Due to family politics my mother only has E, J, I, C and H living with her.

  6. I am a happy only child raising a happy only child. Big families confuse me (that would be over 2). DH came from a family of 7 kids and longed for more attention and one on one time. I have a girlfriend raising the nicest 5 kids–they all get along, play well together, and are a joy to be around–if you asked how she does it…she would say time…lots and lots of time. Twenty children..how would you even remember their names?

  7. I’m one of 4 kids, and that # worked just fine, though I suppose we were considered a big family. But 20 is just crazy. 19 was crazy as was 18 and 17 and and and….This is all about the TV show, the money that produces and the infamy it gets them as well. Have never seen the show, don’t plan on watching it. I hear they’re really nice people. But maybe not so smart. On the other hand, when the parents need help in their elder years they’ll have a big pool of grown kids to help them. Maybe not so dumb after all.

  8. I don’t think one-on-one time with their children is the goal. I’m guessing they think that in the day to day life of managing a large group, the children pick up what they need to know. I guess you can teach to groups. I just don’t think it’s fair that older kids have to parent younger kids, nor that individual voices are lost (heck, they don’t even get their own initials), nor that the family seems to be about the size of the family rather than about the qualities of the family.
    #20 is a guaranteed additional season, so I guess there’s that.
    But how is this couple finding canoodling time? Seriously. And where?!

  9. They need a better filter bubble. One that stops sperm.

    One thing is for sure. Hoarding is getting out of hand! These guys need to collect stamps or coins or something.

    The J-name thing ices it. They are insane. Children are not fashion accessories.

  10. Oh yeah. Almost forgot. Maybe they should have taken The Long Way Home.

  11. Saw this. Couldn’t believe it…

  12. OMG…180 months of being pregnant? AAAGGGHHH!

  13. This family goes against everything I believe in. 20 kids is wrong for a variety of reasons, but overpopulation of the planet and the inability for two parents to truly care about and invest time in that many kids is high on my list. I firmly believe that they have a sickness or an addiction, just like any other. They are addicted to having children and also probably the attention they get for having such a big family. The dad couldn’t even name all of his kids when asked. How sad is that??

  14. It’s funny. When I hear people say they have no issues with the Duggars because they’re not asking anyone else to raise their children or have the same number of children, I agree. When I hear people saying the Duggars must be out of their frikkin’ minds, I also agree. And yeah, all J-names? LAME. Especially since there’s no Jane. 🙂

  15. Jayne

    I’ve forever wished that I had 3 children but I lost one (during pregnancy) and my overbearing mother dissuaded me from having another – more fool me.
    As I’ve got older I’ve started to think that my kids are good as anyone else’s but the old eco-schmeeko me (1970s vintage – before it became de riguer) knows that the world already has too many mouths to cope with and ideally we should do no more than replace ourselves.. (And I know this is a whole other discussion because we in the western world … well certainly Europe … are actually declining in numbers).
    *BUT* (…don’t you just love this punctuation?…) when I see stories like this it makes me want to both scream and bawl and cry pathetically at the same time. To have *20* children is self-indulgent in the extreme and downright irresponsible in an overcrowded world. What if we all behaved like that? Well, welcome to the world of Soylent Green eh? The fact that they all have names beginning with the same letter? Yes definitely weirdsville after 19 of the little blighters. However, I have to defend myself a leeetle on the name thing as my girls are ‘Samantha’ and ‘Sophie’. I was aware how the S[+Surname] was maybe problematical with both of them but weirdly, although I had planned other names, I just knew post birth that *that* is what they should be called. (And therein lies *another* blog post …and quite a spiritual/new age one at that). 🙂

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