The Duggars of TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting fame seems like the picture perfect family in many respects, but what goes on behind closed doors?
A lot of things you might not expect, according to a surprising new expose.
With 19 children to raise (or at least 15 now that a handful have reached adulthood), one would think Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar would be exhausted, 24/7.
Not necessarily, though. Their maligned ace in the hole: Jana Duggar!
It's the put-upon eldest daughter who's exhausted from a lifetime of raising the kids, and some of the other older siblings, who do most of the babysitting.
“Jim Bob and Michelle have what they call the ‘buddy system,’” an insider says of the household's inner workings, and that system works as follows:
“Each of the older kids gets paired with a younger kid that they have to watch over and help out. It’s great for them, because it’s like they have a set of free nannies.
The kids, however, "don’t really have a choice" in the matter.
Jana Duggar, as a 23-year-old, often gets saddled with even more responsibility, as she's managing the managers as well as her own little buddy.
“Jim Bob and Michelle have been known to go out on date night and leave all the kids at home with Jana in charge of the house,” the source says.
“They’ll be gone for hours, during which she has to watch over everyone. She does it with a smile, but it’s sad. It’s not like she ever gets a date night!”
She's not even allowed to date, according to some reports.
There's only so much one beautiful young woman can do, too, because of the sheer numbers involved. When the parents are away, the kids run wild.
If Jana can’t whip something up for all of them to eat, which is a tall order, "they’ve been known to just have snacks like pretzel sticks and yogurt for dinner."
“They bounce off the walls!” the source claims. “They are allowed to ride their scooters in the house, and even put the youngest kids in a wagon.
"They drag them around at high speeds. It seems like they pretty much do whatever they want. They even have an indoor slide and rock climbing wall."
"It’s amazing that no one’s ever gotten hurt.”
Or that Jana gets no credit for it.
To their credit, there has been no sign of abuse, mental or physical, or rumors of any legitimate scandals with the family, despite its increasingly high profile.
While to a point, you can't expect a family that large to coexist without a level of chaos thrown into the mix, you have to wonder about the toll it takes on Jana.
With Josh Duggar married with children, Jill Duggar marrying Derick Dillard and Jessa Duggar set to get married November 1, Jana's plight seems even sadder.
To see the family as they want to be portrayed on TLC, watch 19 Kids and Counting online to catch up on their comings and goings, then comment below:
Should Jim Bob and Michelle cut her a break and bring in some hired help to keep the kids in line instead of their vaunted buddy system? Discuss!