I LOVE the Duggars. I watch “17 Kids and Counting” on TLC and have followed them since “14 Kids and Pregnant Again!” way back in 2004. When I first saw them on TV, I was impressed, to say the least. Here’s this woman, Michelle, who has given birth to all of these children, and she still has a sweet smile on her face. I would consider it an honor to meet her and her family one day. I admire the way Michelle and her husband have trained their children to behave and cooperate. I am in awe of their financial prowess and ability to live debt-free. In their first TV specials, they were living in a normal house, all 17 of them (more kids have popped out since then) and were content. They were truly living a simple life of frugality, faith, and love.
As much as I aspire to live like the Duggars, I do not aspire to emulate them entirely. At the time of one of their specials (I can’t remember which one) Michelle explained their clothing philosophy: They make their own clothing, especially for the girls, and it is plain so that it brings attention to their countenance (face) and not their bodies (that’s a summary). I am ALL ABOUT taking attention off of my body and up to my face—can I get an amen from the sista’s who just had babies?! Woot! But I can’t make my own clothing, I like to wear makeup, and I can’t stand it when my hair is long!!! (DISCLAIMER: I dress modestly, and if I ever have a daughter, she will too.)
So here is my short-haired, makeup-wearing, skirt-hating version of living a simple life…while still being a modern, fabulous, hip mama:
- My family is completely credit card debt-free, and we do not use any credit cards. We did this through teachings by Crown Financial Ministries which included paying off our highest-interest cards first, and working our way down to the lowest ones. It took us about a year, but we did it!
- We downsized our living arrangements from a 3/2 rental house to a 2/2 apartment, which has saved us a boatload of money, both in rent and in utility costs. Speaking of utility costs, we have saved on those by programming our air conditioner, using the squiggly light bulbs, and hooking up all of our “fun” appliances (TV, computers, my breast pump—sorry, too much information!) to power strips that we turn off when we’re done.
- We only have one car. If you’ve read my blog at all, you might think I’m a bit obsessed with this fact, but I deal with it every day, so it’s on my mind a lot. And what’s on my mind, you guessed it, goes on my blog. We save money on insurance, gas, and a car payment by only having Bertha (that’s the car’s name and she demands respect) to get us around.
- One of the benefits of having one car is LOTS of “togetherness.” If we’re going somewhere, we’re either going together, or one of us is dropping the other one off and picking up. Cooperation and communication is also a fringe benefit. Both my husband and I have to be flexible and willing to give up a little bit of freedom for this to work.
- Another benefit—humility. I know what it’s like to walk across, or down, the street just to get out of the house. I know what it’s like to get honked at. And I know what it’s like to smile and wave at the honkers and be proud to be walking my stroller and my happy butt to Chick Fil-A.
So if you watch “17 Kids and Counting” or, God forbid, “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie (is that show still on?!) and think, “I just can’t do that—I’d go insane from all the rural living, and skirts, and I NEED MY EYELINER!” you’re not alone. I was there, but I decided to keep my eyeliner, shorts, and tank tops (MODEST tank tops) and create my own version of Duggar-style living. So tell me, how can you opt to live more simply? I KNOW you’ve got some ideas…spill ‘em!
Peace, love, short hair, and EYELINER,