We're continuing our interview series with the Duggar family. In Part 1, Michelle told us how she makes time for herself; in Part 2, we'll learn how they get it all done!
2) You Can't Get Everything Done; Just Do The Next Right Thing
"I would meet Jim Bob at the door and say, "I haven't gotten anything done, I don't think! Except that I've been dealing with their little hearts." --Michelle
How do you get it all done?
Jim Bob Duggar: It was very hard when we had the first seven.
Michelle Duggar: We had seven under the age of seven!
JD: We would have one on each arm, one on our back, one around our necks. At that point we didn't know if we could go on or not because it was so difficult. We were loading them all in car seats, feeding everybody.
And nobody knows how to tie their own shoes!
MD: Yes! I felt so overwhelmed. I felt inadequate. And I think most parents get to that point at some time.
JD: A friend shared a story that her daughter, who had six children, said, "I can't do everything. It's just so hard. What do I do next?"
MD: And her mother wisely said to her, "Just do the next right thing." And I think we've come to that. Just do the next. Right. Thing. Her daughter said, "But there are, like, 5 next things to do!"
JD: You can't get everything done that you need to get done, maybe, but yet, just get done as much as you can. Somehow God gets you through it.
MD: I remember the days Jim Bob would come in, the house was a wreck, dinner might not be on the table, and I hadn't caught up with the laundry or the dishes. I would meet him at the door and say, "I haven't gotten anything done, I don't think! Except that I've been dealing with their little hearts. They were arguing, and one was fussing over this. And I was trying to correct that and make sure they were being sweet to each other and this, that and the other." And he would say, "Michelle, don't worry about it." And he'd give me a big hug, and he'd walk through and kick the toys out of the way and say, "If you were dealing with their hearts, you dealt with the most important thing today. Whether dinner's on the table, we can open up a can or pull something out of the freezer.
As the years have gone on, it's true. Those relationships, and sitting down, and playing with them, and spending time talking to them, and working through their struggles, and helping them learn not to argue, and dealing with all that -- those heart issues are the most important things.
As they get older, we see the fruit of the labor that we put in those years when they were very young. The scripture that comes to mind is, "Don't grow weary in well doing. For in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." There are many times when I thought I was so tired or so busy. But during those times, Jim Bob would often hug me and say, "These are the best times of our lives and we don't even know it." Enjoy the moment. Even though you're busy. Even though you're tired. Even though you're up at night nursing a baby and you're getting up with sick ones or whatever, they're gonna grow up before you know it.
JD: Considering that we have so many older ones, it's really a lot easier now than it was back when we had three or four.
MD: They can tie their own shoes. They can buckle their siblings into their car seats. If they can do a little bit of laundry or dishes, it works.
JD: If everybody does a little bit of work, we can accomplish great things.