Saturday, September 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes - If the Duggars Can Do it...

Linking up with the lovely Jen, as always!

So, I'm not sure if I've yet shared my love for the Duggar family, made famous by their show 19 Kids and Counting. But, I kind of love them (don't worry Kendra, I love Duck Dynasty, too!) and get some of my best parenting tips from their books and the numerous episodes that I've wholeheartedly devoured. I love their willingness to take a stand for life, even if people just don't "get it," and may even mock them. Brava, Michelle Duggar! (And excellent first name, if I do say so myself.)

In honor of their season premiere this week, I'd like to share with you the top 7 parenting gems that I've learned from the Duggars.

-1-

Children are beautiful.



Aren't they just beautiful???

When the Abbot and I entered marriage prep, I'll admit - I didn't see myself wanting a large family. I fully intended to practice Natural Family Planning, but I also envisioned only wanting a few children. Around that time, I first watched the Duggars, and I thought they were crazy!

But the more I watched, the more impressed I was. And the more my heart was touched by just how beautiful their family was! Add that to the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage and a very attractive husband who clearly needed to be given many smaller versions of himself (to make the world a more beautiful place, of course) and ta-da! Openness to life up in here. I don't think I'm as fertile as the beautiful Mrs. Duggar, but I certainly hope God will bless our domestic monastery with many more!

-2-

It is possible to take care of a baby.


Not only is it possible, but the Duggars show how raising a baby is really a joy-filled thing.

I had zero to no experience with babies when Sister Stinky was born. Do you know how I spent my time recovering in the hospital after she was born? Nursing and watching the Duggars on Netflix.

After watching a number of episodes I realized...if they can do it with that many surely I can survive parenting this first one.

-3-

It is possible to take care of MORE than one baby.


Do I even need to bother telling you how I spent my time recovering in the hospital after the birth of Sister Nugget? What's that? Duggars and nursing, you say? Bingo.

I am so inspired by how the Duggar parents nurture sibling relationships in their family, and I hope to continue to nurture a genuine love between the siblings in our family. 

I could try to put it into words, but I think that Michelle's explanation says it more eloquently than I could.

-4-

Calm. Calm. Calm.

The Abbot and I are generally pretty calm people. Yes, we three girls tend to have our emotional ups and downs (in our case it is a temperament thing, not a gender thing), but all in all, we try to maintain as calm an atmosphere as possible in our home. Does Sister Nugget cry like a banshee? Yes. Does Sister Stinky throw fits that blow out our eardrums? Occasionally. BUT, we have a rule in our family...no yelling. And when someone (save Sister Nugget who is exempt from this rule for the time being)...that is someone under the age of three...starts to act like the world is coming to an end, we review the family rule. "Do we yell in this family? No." 

And believe it or not...a big inspiration for this (especially on my part...the Abbot is naturally much calmer than I am!) was the Duggars and their efforts to stay calm with each other and their children.

-5-

"Buy used, save the difference."

This popular tip from the Duggars is one that took some time (and humility) to accept.

My family was frugal growing up, as was the Abbot's, but I don't remember shopping in secondhand stores growing up...at least not for things like clothes and basic necessities. When we were newly married I still insisted on buying things new, thinking that they were better quality.

But then, I discerned that God was calling me to be home with Sister Stinky, and I also was introduced to the wonders of secondhand shopping by some friends and...lo and behold I realized how much more sense it made for my budget! Our family could have the things we actually needed (and some extras) all while staying in budget. It was a gradual process for me. First, I bought some toys at a consignment sale. Then, I bought some clothes for Sister Stinky at a secondhand store. My final big holdout was clothing for myself...but I quickly realized that I could pay less money for better made, like-new clothes at a secondhand or thrift store rather than paying more for something that was new but poorer quality...and I was sold! I also love that, not only have the things I've purchased secondhand cost us less, but they also have so much more character! It's fun to find a toy that is unique or an article of clothing that was originally from a store I wouldn't normally shop at! 

-6-

God will provide.

For our second Christmas, the Abbot bought me the Duggar's first book and one of the things that really stuck out for me was how much they trusted God to provide. Their book is full of story after story about a time when they were lacking something, prayed about it, and God provided in one way or another. Our first two years of marriage we definitely had more wiggle room in our budget (and fewer mouths to feed!) than we do now, but I was so much more stressed about money. The Duggars definitely played a role in opening my eyes to the importance of allowing God to provide for my family. 

Now, I view secondhand shopping as part of that equation - since I never know what I'll find when I go to a thrift store. There have been so many times that God provided something for us that we wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise! 

This mindset also fills me with such gratitude when others gift us in some way - by inviting us to dinner at their house (or bringing dinner to ours), but sending gifts to our girls or passing on hand-me-downs, by helping our family in little or great ways when we're in a pinch - I am so much more aware of how God works through others to give us all we need. 

-7-

Raising children is all about formation.

This is the point that has most transformed my view of parenting, especially of parenting very small children. If my two year old throws a tantrum, I am not failing as a parent. If my baby is struggling to sleep, I haven't failed her, either. Rather, each and every moment is a teaching moment, an opportunity to form their hearts and minds and help them grow in holiness. For a baby as young as Sister Nugget, that means reinforcing for her that she is very much loved by her family in preparation for helping her to know the love of her heavenly Father. For Sister Stinky, it means transforming each moment of misbehavior into a moment of formation. "What did you do wrong here? What should we do instead?" This formation mindset is about training them and ultimately helping them to grow in holiness by letting them experience small acts of self denial for the love of others. Even a baby as small as Sister Nugget sometimes needs to wait a moment to eat, if Mommy is wiping a toddler's poop up. And Sister Stinky often needs to be patient and helpful when Mommy is feeding or diapering or holding the baby. And both need to learn, as is developmentally appropriate, how to respect their parents, each other, and others. 

In the Duggar book that I mentioned previously, Michelle Duggar talks about how they use potty training to teach their children to respond to their body's promptings as a step toward learning to respond to God's promptings in their lives. Isn't that beautiful? Even the most simple things a baby and toddler learns can help prepare them for following God's will in their lives. Even those little moments of forming them can lead to them developing traits such as compassion, patience, diligence, obedience, etc. It certainly makes the daily battles seem more worthwhile!

So far we're only 2 and counting...but I hope that our family will be able to set the same beautiful example for others that the Duggars do!



5 comments:

  1. I've also fallen in love with secondhand shopping, you're right sometimes you find great quality stuff that is less priced than new less quality stuff you would buy at a regular store. I also love #6, God will provide, it's hard to believe it sometimes but He does.

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  2. This is such a great post. I will definitely have to check out the Duggar books.

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  3. I love the Duggars so, so much, and for all the reasons you list here. We read both their books out loud as a couple and we still call unexpected/amazing thrift store finds "Pink blankets," and even pray for specific pink blankets at times. A little embarrassing to admit, but they have been huge role models for us as parents!

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  4. I just don't buy clothes, really....so I bum around in college and high school tshirts and one pair of $10 jeans :) I'm so classy, lol!

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  5. Beautifully put :).
    I too adore the Duggars. I remember the first episode I saw way back when was when their eldest son Josh, proposed to Anna. I remember thinking... all they did was hug? I remember researching (hahahaha) courtship and it was partially because of them that I became more interested in the Church.

    I pray everyday for my future children. I don't know Gods plan for me yet, but I would love to have as many children as he blesses me with.

    I think the Duggars are doing an amazing job :)!

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