I had my first baby at the beginning of a long, gray Minnesota winter. I’m pretty sure I spent 70 percent of my maternity leave
breastfeeding. I would nurse and sing, nurse and read, nurse and watch TV. I
watched a lot of television: every single episode of "Friends" and countless shows
about wedding dresses, wedding planners, wedding cakes and wedding fails.
Eventually, when I became desperate for something new to
watch, I turned on “19 Kids and Counting.” To be honest, my intention was
to make fun of it—the clothes, the chaos, the weirdness of it all.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, I ended up kind of
falling in love with this family, and in particular, its matriarch. Our
politics, spiritual convictions and hairstyles may be very different, but as I
watched episode after episode of that show, I came to admire her in a big way.
In fact, when it comes to people I’d like to have lunch with, she’s easily in
my top five.
Why do I love Michelle Duggar so? Why, when faced with
parenting conundrums do I ask myself, “What would Michelle do?”
Three reasons, people.
First, gentleness. Michelle Duggar is a gentle mother. In
all of the episodes I’ve watched, I’ve never once seen her yell or use harsh
words. From the oldest member of their camera crew to the youngest baby in her
home, she consistently treats everyone with kindness. And clearly, her children
are picking up on it because they are gentle with one another as well. Of
course, the eight-year-olds wrestle around and the toddlers scream—a lot—but as
they grow, each and every one of them seems to be taking on the same caring
manner modeled by their parents. In this increasingly competitive, angry, loud
world, her gentleness is a rare trait and one I’m sure she has worked hard to
cultivate. I want to be like that.
I plan to hold onto my short hair, skinny jeans and quiet politics, but when it comes to modeling gentleness, firm convictions and respect in my home, I want to be like Michelle Duggar.
Second, she stands strong in the face of intense societal
pressure. I cannot imagine living with little to no privacy, having my personal
life broadcast all over the world for people to watch and criticize. The
Duggars get a lot of heat—for everything from their politics and religion to
the way they handled the loss of their baby. They’re attacked from all angles,
and still, they stand strong. They hold tight to their convictions and live in
their truth. I want to be like that.
Third, she respects her husband. Let’s face it, Jim Bob is
goofy. He seems like a great dad and a great husband, but he’s just goofy. I
mean, the man eats BBQ tuna sandwiches and goes through more hairspray than all
of the Duggar girls combined. But Michelle consistently shows him respect. She
doesn’t roll her eyes at him or act annoyed when he tells dumb jokes. Instead,
she builds him up and honors who he is. The respect she has for her husband
seems to be trickling down to her children and teaching them to respect others,
too. I want to be like that.
I plan to hold onto my short hair, skinny jeans and quiet
politics, but when it comes to modeling gentleness, firm convictions and
respect in my home, I want to be like Michelle Duggar. I’ve seen few other moms
who can do it as well as she can. That’s not surprising though, considering all
the practice she’s had.
Oh, and Michelle, if you happen to be reading this, next time
you’re in Minnesota, I’d like to take you to lunch.