Every year around Mother’s Day, the morning shows trot out some family that’s got like a thousand kids and give them all kinds of congratulations and gifts, like they’re some shining example for the rest of us to admire. The cheerful morning anchor always asks the mom, who usually has really bad hair and looks like she’s been “rode hard and put up wet” (as my own mother would say), really basic questions like How do you manage so many kids? and then laughs weakly as the beleaguered mom says it’s all about organization and, of course, Faith with a capital “F.”

Dad (never much of a looker himself) is always real puffed up with pride – See what I can do? – and sits back, “allowing” mom to take all the credit for popping out so many puppies.  The kids (also with bad hair) smile in their Sunday best and don’t say much.  The interview ends with some big gift from the show, like a trip to Honolulu or a gift certificate to Target or some shit like that.  Everybody’s happy.

This year was no exception.  Friday morning’s Today Show was the last regular episode before Mother’s Day ’08, so they hauled out the old Duggar family.

Jim Bob (ugh, hate him already) and Michelle “Birth-Control-Is-For-Sissies” Duggar have 17 kids, their own reality show (naturally) and, as we’re informed between segments at least seven times before the family actually shows, a Big Announcement this morning!

There’s a quick story about their lives at home — the family car’s some kind of mini-bus, everyone’s homeschooled (like you didn’t see THAT coming), and all the kids’ names start with the letter J, from oldest Josh to baby Jennifer — even one girl named Jinger, prounounced “Ginger,” which makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

Of course there’s lots of talk about faith and how every child is a blessing, yada yada yada. Jim Bob (perhaps the most redneck, yokel name you can give a person) has served in the Arkansas Congress (Arkansas? What a suprise) and ran for the U.S. Senate once.  I’ll give you one guess which party.

When the family finally shows, there are so many of them they can barely fit on set, and it’s kind of hard to pick out the parents from the kids because they all just… blend. Meredith struggles to introduce them all, opting for the roll call system. She pronounces “Jinger” just like it’s spelled, which makes me chuckle with smug satisfaction.

Since it took half the segment just to introduce everyone, Mer has the kids offer up their lame-ass Mother’s Day gifts quickly (a necklace and some clothes, woo friggin’ hoo for someone WHO SQUEEZED YOU ALL OUT, YOU UNGRATEFUL SWINE), leaving Jim Bob (really, dude, if you weren’t already an asshole for having 17 kids, your name would make you one) and Mrs. “My-Boobs-Can-Reach-My-Knees-At-This-Point” only a couple of minutes to make their Big Announcement.

You don’t have to be Einstein to know that the Big Announcement is that these happy bunnies are expecting #18, and they “surprise” the rest of the litter with the news on-air. All the kids pretend to be shocked and thrilled. I really don’t get how this could be a suprise, given that this woman seems to be in a constant state of pregnancy. Seems to me, it’d be a lot more surprising if old Jim Bob excercised a little restraint and kept Mr. Winky to himself, climbing off the old hobby horse for a while.

But, whatever.

Meredith offers seemingly sincere congratulations and the segment ends, with Jim Bob (seriously, I bet he can play the banjo) and Mrs. “Stretch-Marks-Are-My-Friend” receiving half-hearted smiles and congrats from the kids.

So — Am I the only one completely freaked out by this?  Does no one else believe these people are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and should be locked up instead of celebrated?  Isn’t anyone else annoyed by the fact that these people are congratulated on national television for not knowing when enough is enough?

(Not to mention the weird “J” name fetish. What the fuck is THAT all about? Jesus? Please tell me it’s not Jesus.)

In this day of global uncertainty and depleting resources, it’s reckless and irresponsible to bring so many children into the world.  I’m scared enough for my ONE son’s future without having to worry about the Duggar family taking over the country with the same ultra-conservative religious views as their parents.  Not to mention the serious health implications that can result from so many pregnancies — the more children a woman has, the higher the chance of birthing complications, which would seem to be of concern but apparently isn’t for Mrs. “Gonna-Keep-Trying-Until-We-Have-An-Elephant-Baby.”

It pisses me off that these people are considered news.  I’m supposed to be impressed with Jim Bob (dude, you might be a redneck) and Mrs. “Vagina-Doubles-As-Clown-Car” because they made the careless decision to squeeze out 17, now 18 pups?  How is this a good thing?  And using their faith to justify overpopulating the earth with their seed is just so… wrong.

Usually I’m a big believer in minding one’s own business when it comes to the personal family lives of others.  I certainly don’t want anyone else judging my decision to have only one child, or the fact that I let him eat french fries and watch way too much SpongeBob. But how can I NOT make judgments about these people when they appear on my TV every year, like clockwork, trying to make me feel family envy because mine is so small and theirs is, well, so BIG?  (That’s what she said.)

I just want to celebrate my Mother’s Day in peace, with my one little child who’s better-looking, smarter and loads happier than all of those Duggar kids combined. I don’t want to be reminded that people like the Duggar family even exist.

That’s what I want this Mother’s Day.  Is that asking so much?

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10 Responses to “Mother’s Day Edition: People with 17 children FREAK ME OUT”

  1. “Go forth and multiply,” so says the faith… like, 3000 or so years ago when the world population was only a fraction of the US population. This concept is very obsolete. It’s not only expensive, it’s not only disadvantageous for the world’s resources, it also deprives children of sufficient emotional care from their parents ‘coz mom and dad have to split love into 17 parts, and not the typical 2 or 3 parts. I bet most of the kids in this family are ignored, and these may have serious implications on society (I bet at least one of them may be psychologically damaged by this setup and is already a potential criminal. No kidding). What the hell were the parents thinking?

  2. I KNOW!!!! I remember seeing these people LAST YEAR and I just thought, oh, please kill me if that ever happened to me! It is a little–ok, a lot–sick to me that these people are just kind of trying to set a ‘personal best’ record by seeing how many kids they can have. I mean, geez, I’ve got ONE now and that’s PLENTY to be going on with for now. 17?? What, do they have a farm that they need cheap labor for? It’s just kind of gross.
    Happy mom’s day to us moms with REASONABLE amounts of children.
    (oh and I totally agree w/ you on the whole depleting resources thing…)

  3. thebenevolentdictator
    May 11th, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Amen. Every time they dig this family out of BFE, Arkansas, it drives me crazy. And a reality show? They may saw all of this is for religion, but it sounds a lot more like exploitation to me.

  4. OMG, I was totally going to tell you about the “Vagina: It’s not a Clown Car” poster thingie I saw on MySpace featuring this family but you already knew about it. Because you are SMART.

  5. Faye – I don’t know what they were thinkin, but I love your icon.

    ~m – Gross is an understatement. My husband grew up on a farm and there was only one of him – somehow they got by. It’s all done in the name of God, which I find terribly disturbing. The “J” stands for “Jesus,” I guess.

    Ms. Benevolent – THe reality show is the most upsetting part of this for me. They’re going to encourage other families to breed like bunnies, too! It was one thing with the “little people” – that was pretty much exploitation too, but they can’t really market being a midget (my apologies if that is a politically incorrect term)

    Mag, Dammit – I didn’t see the MySpace page but great minds think alike! It was the first image that came to my mind, sadly. P.S. Love your new header on your blog! Give ‘em all the finger!

    Thanks you guys for visiting!!

  6. oh my god, you are so funny! TOTALLY agre!

  7. I thought this was a good post too!

    As a Christian, I have a problem with the Duggars for a variety of reasons. People see them on TV and some think that all Christians are like them when they are a gross misrepresentation of Christians, even those who choose to homeschool. Most of us Christians don’t have a goal of producing a record number of children.

    The thing is that I don’t believe the Duggars are “allowing God to control their family size”. I think it’s more likely that they are PLANNING on getting pregnant ASAP after they have one baby. I can see how damaging this could be to Michelle’s health as repeated pregnancies so close together cannot be good for you.

    I just hate this subculture of Christianity that the Duggars belong to that says that if you don’t have upwards of 4 kids you are not accepting them as a “blessing”. I consider myself blessed to have only one and if God grants me another in the future I will be very happy. But truthfully I could not see handling more than 2 or 3 given the family situation and how crazy everything is being a military wife. Children are no less blessings because you have fewer.

  8. I had a classmate in high school who came from a 20 child family. There’s probably not many more than 20 good birthing years, so that means this mother was perpetually pregnant for at least 20 years. Jesus H. Christ!

    My classmate also aspired to have 20 children herself. Holy fucking insanity, Batman!

  9. Morbid curiosity and boredom drove me to check out their website. Apparently they used to be “normal” and used the pill before and after having their first kid. During round two of using the pill she got pregnant and miscarried. Their reaction to this was to feel they were selfish, to blame and went against God by using birth control and it was implied that they felt the miscarriage was a punishment for it. And so they decided to “make it right” by letting “God” decided when and how many they have from that point on. Thus we find out what happens when a species that generally has 12-13 mating opportunities a year doesn’t use any method of preventing procreation.

    I love finding stories about people like them to send to Baby Sibling who is helping to raise Middle Sister’s daughter. Niecey can be a bit of a handful and taking care of her makes Baby Sibling not really like the idea of making me any nieces nor nephews in the future. With how much work ONE child is for her hearing of people who have a ton of kids freaks her out, it is amusing (to me, her not so much).

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