It's no secret that the Duggars have basically always relied on their older kids to raise their younger kids. When you have 19, things can get pretty out of hand, after all — so much so that getting some QT in with mommy often means scheduling out your allotted five minutes a week ahead of time. But considering the fact that poor Jana Duggar seems to manage it all as a one-woman team these days, we forget that it used to take a whole force of older Duggar daughters to keep the household running smoothly. And that, if they all had to leave for some reason, things basically just fell apart. "They don't get away from the home that much," Josh Duggar told cameras.
And then we remembered what a s–tshow planning Josh and Anna Duggar's wedding was. There was plenty of cringiness surrounding their courtship as the first of the Duggar courtships to be broadcast for viewers at home, but one of the wildest parts (other than that awful not-quite-kissing on a Merry-Go-Round video) was the fact that, while getting ready for their big day, Josh took little sisters Jana, Jill Duggar, Jessa Duggar, and Jinger Duggar down to Florida with him. He only had three months in between proposing and his wedding and he needed them to handmake all of the bridesmaids' dresses, take engagement photos, and organize everything else necessary for a wedding. And along the way, they left their parents to try and actually be parents. And, uh, it didn't go great.
This was all the way back in Season 1 of 19 Kids and Counting — aka back when it was just 17 Kids and Counting — and, despite having two fewer kids than they do now, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar still hadn't quite gotten a handle on how to manage their kids on their own (or, you know, hire a legit babysitter instead of relying on your teenage daughters). And it's clear to everyone involved exactly what's going on. "At home right now, it's probably pretty hectic," Jill explains to a producer with a cringe.
Cut to: A baby cries. One baby crawls on top of another baby. A tiny Joseph Duggar explains, "Things get pretty crazy at times," and then promptly gets whacked in the head with a pillow. Jim Bob says, "This kind of reminds me of going back in time back when we had a whole bunch of little ones and it was just Michelle and I taking care of all of them. It’s been pretty difficult this week without the older girls and Josh here to help us." One baby steps on another baby's face. Joe continues, "It’s very difficult for us to take care of the little ones. Amy came over. All the kids are running around.”
Amy Duggar comes over, gets the slightest taste of what it's like to be a Duggar daughter and not just a Duggar cousin, and says, "I’m tired! I’m exhausted! I don’t know how they all do this all the time!” Neither does Michelle, Amy. Neither does Michelle. Straight up, Michelle doesn't even cook for her family, she just lets her teenage children handle it. And she's got plenty of other parenting fails to name, too. The only thing that kept the Duggar household running relatively according to plan was having a whole team of pseudo-nannies-teachers-cooks-maids — and the only reason the Duggars had that is because they used free labor from their own kids instead of, you know, actually spending money to hire professional adults.
But hey, at least Michelle and Amy only had to hold down the fort for a few days. "We've only got so much time here [to plan the wedding]," Josh tells the camera. "My mom does need the girls back home."
Well, so much for that vacation. Though considering all the sewing they did for the big day, it was really more of a business trip anyway. Guess there's no rest for a Duggar daughter until she can implement a buddy system of her own.