If you’re a fan of her family’s reality show, then you’re probably aware that Michelle Duggar is a mother of 20.
(She and husband Jim Bob adopted their nephew, Tyler Duggar last year.)
It’s true that no one in their right mind would dispute the fact that Michelle is mother to a genuinely insane number of children — but there’s some disagreement regarding just how much how much mothering she’s actually done.
Yes, depending on how closely you pay attention to the Duggars’ social media accounts and Michelle’s comments on child-rearing, you might fall into one of two schools of thought regarding her skills as a mother:
There are those who feel she’s the uber-mom, named not for her weekend ride-sharing gig, but for her astonishing ability to attend to the needs of double-digit offspring without letting the least of her children feel left out.
And then there are those who believe that Michelle is essentially running a child-rearing sweatshop or pyramid scheme, essentially passing off the demands of the household to her oldest kids, who then burden the younger kids with those duties once they’ve been properly trained.
And what does Michelle have to say about these controversial practices?
Well, as the folks at In Touch Weekly point out, she just can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with her division of labor.
“The little ones love to help,” Michelle once stated.
“They have such a servant’s heart.”
Yes, there’s nothing kids love quite as much as being servants.
Fortunately for Michelle, it seems all 20 of her children have the exact same disposition and none of them would prefer to be outside playing with their friends or otherwise being children.
The Duggars are taught from a young age that chores are second only to procreating on the list of acceptable activities to be engaged in when Jesus comes back.
As such, when they take on a new responsibility because the previous laborer left the nest or simply became too decrepit, a sacred torch has been passed.
That’s 9-year-old Jordyn Duggar doing her first load of laundry.
The family made a congratulatory video to mark the occasion of her completed training.
Jordyn inherited the duty from Joy-Anna Duggar, who in turn inherited it from her grandmother.
“This is my jurisdiction, Grandma washes it all and I do put it away and…do the shoes,” Joy-Anna once remarked in one of the Duggars’ YouTube videos.
To ensure that all of the tasks around the Duggar compound are properly completed, the family has designed a strictly-enforced system of rewards and punishments.
An important part of this system is the chore pack, explained in the video below by top enforcer Jana Duggar:
Yes, when they’re finished with their chore pack, the Duggar kids report not to their parents, but to their older siblings.
It’s a system that brings to mind the prison practice of allowing more seasoned inmates to run the cafeteria instead of the guards.
It also might help to explain why Duggar children are so quick to start families of their own and fly the coop.
Perhaps Joy-Anna Duggar married Austin Forsyth at 19 because she fell madly in love … but even if that’s the case, the possibility of escaping laundry duty may have also factored into her decision.
And why would Jana Duggar remain single and resign herself to such brutal conditions?
Well, there’s something to be said for being at the top of the hierarchy — as well as for the power of Stockholm Syndrome.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.