One Duggar flies the coop and another arrives! The large family known for their TLC show, The Duggars: 17 and Counting has had an eventful year. First born Joshua got married in September. (Tune in tonight to watch the wedding, which includes the 21-year-old's first kiss with his wife, Anna.) Then just before Christmas, baby Jordyn made her debut as number 18!
Despite their hectic lives and sleep deprivation, parents Jim Bob and Michelle took time to write a book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! and carved time out of their schedules to talk to me about it. While their oldest son settles down to start a life and family of his own, Jim Bob and Michelle still have plenty of charges. They shared their thoughts on the future and how they are preparing their offspring for the real world. Aside from helping build the home they live in, the Duggar kids have been taught everything from plumbing to tile work and learned about politics while sitting in on committee meetings when their father was a state legislator in Arkansas. Other youngsters have the business inkling having built and sold bikes and eventually motorized vehicles for as long as their parents can remember.
lilsugar: Josh is now married and living with his wife, but in regards to your other children at what age would you encourage them to move out and become independent?
To see their answer and thoughts on modest dressing and setting their girls up for success,
Jim Bob Duggar: When each of our children move out really has to do with what the Lord has in store for their lives. I would not want a married son or daughter living with us I mean unless it was a crisis type situation. I'd want them to have their own place because they are their own family unless maybe at an older age we may be living with them (laughs).
Michelle Duggar: At this point, I don't think we have anyone who wants to get out and thinks we're driving them nuts. Even Josh and Anna, they come this way and accompany us on some trips.
Jim Bob Duggar: As far as my children, my goal, especially for my sons is to be able to develop skills so they can hopefully provide for their families in the future. I also want my daughters to develop skills so they can provide if they had to. Some of my daughters may get nursing degrees. My sons, it really depends on their interests. My second oldest son (John-David) really wants to be a pilot so instead of him moving out on his own and spending all his money on paying for his apartment and expenses, I'd rather him go and save up and get his pilot's license and then start saving up for a house or make some kind of investment in business where he doesn't have any overhead so he can save up money and really get a good start.
Michelle Duggar: We taught our children from the very beginning that you never stop learning in life. School is never over. When you have that perspective, it's not the traditional way of viewing it. There are people who are out there and they are professionals at what they do and if you are a hard worker and have good character — are honest, responsible — there's many people that would be glad to have someone like that to work along side them. You can gain skills while you are being paid. A lot of trades, you may decide you like this right now, but go to work with somebody who does that and you'll find out if you really like it. There's so many people who go to college and turn right around and not use what they went to college for and this way, you're thinking it through.
lilsugar: In such a progressive society where many parents, especially mothers, are encouraging their daughters to be tough enough to make their own way in the world, your show often features your girls taking the homemaker and child rearing roles. Do you think they will be able to provide for themselves if they don't marry?
Michelle Duggar: Our girls are go-getters. No matter what, I know they could do that if they wanted to or needed to, but in their hearts, they would love to marry and lord willing if they had children to stay at home and raise their families. I've got a couple of them talking about going for their real estate licenses and about getting their CDL licenses because they want to be able to drive some of our big equipment. Believe me, my girls are not Namby Pamby. They've got goals and the desire to do things.
lilsugar: Do any of the girls object to the modest clothing? I liked Jessa's quote in the book that said teenagers all wear the same thing and nobody is bothered by it.
Michelle Duggar: We do a lot of that the perms and make-up. I think it was our producer who said the girls have sort of their own thing going, it's a "modern modest". That's a good way to dub it I guess. I told my kids, (growing up) I mowed the lawn in a bikini and had no idea what I was doing to my neighbor's husband across the street. No wonder the woman hated our family — you know? And, I think I had no clue as far as the responsibility I had in that the way I dressed caused men to have struggles. They (the girls) want to dress modest to draw attention to their face and not the other parts of their bodies that seem to be uncovered now a days. As far as wearing dresses, skirts and things, that was a conviction that the Lord placed on my heart and he knew the struggles of my heart from growing up Whether my girls continue that in their lives, it's up to them.
Check out what Michelle had to say about feeding her large family, shedding the baby weight and her basic beauty secrets. If you missed the first portion of the interview, check out these posts. For more information on the Duggars, check out their website.