I had the rare opportunity to spend time surfing the internet over the last two weeks. Normally- like today- my time is limited by school and other responsibilities. I had heard about Emily and her blog. I was interested in what she had to say since she claims to be Quiverful. My secondary interest was the fact that she claims to raise her family on less than $1000 a month. Since I have very little income (translation: none) and live in a small space (120 sqaure feet shared with another person), her blog sounded like a good place to pick up pointers. This should be noted because I didn't go to her blog with the intention of critiquing her. I also thought I'd be able to sympathize with her because her husband is a student.
What I found made me concerned. Her blog was little more than a cache of recycled bits from various sources, recipes, and cringe-worthy, self-important diatribes on her lifestyle. I'll admit a bias that may not have given me an objective perspective on her life. I see in her what I see in many QF moms who have talked themselves into a life of poverty and constant child bearing. I see, in her over-optimistic, naive attitude, something reminiscient of my mom. For that reason, I don't blame Emily for some of her choices. She's bought into the promises of Proverbs 31. She truly believes that God will provide for her if she obeys her husband and gives him a quiver full of Godly arrows. However, the more I read, the more I felt like I was being led down a primrose path. She wears poverty like a badge of honor. Emily posts about her poverty being a choice and extolls the virtues of living with less. Making lemons out of lemonade is a good character trait, but what if you weren't given lemons to begin with? What if you had grapefruit or a cornocopia of fruit and turned it down so that you could make that lemonade, while acting like lemons were all you had? Is the trait still noble?
Poverty isn't a joke. It's not an aspiration. Simplicity, frugality, debt-free,...those are all admirable goals. Poverty, especially self-enforced poverty, is stupid. Rampant materialism isn't great, either. I only feel that being poor for bragging rights is a slap in the face to those who are poor due to circumstances beyond their control. It gets worse when you add choiceless children into the equation. Emily has three boys. Like a lot of fledgling QFers, she's got three under four years. This is where my concern started.
As I read her blog, I started to think about those boys and what they'd say about their childhood. On the positive side, they have a mother who is home with them and cares for them. I think Emily loves her boys and love can't be bought. It can be misguided. Emily's post about baking soda containing genetically altered cornstarch was well-meaning but totally confusing. Her recipes go beyond the tatertot casserole, taco surprise variants you find in most QF families. It's nutritionaly bereft of value and calories. You can read the comments to see what I mean.
I'm posting the link to her blog because there are a lot of people who see the Duggar philosophy as harmless. Emily and her husband Dan are proof that it can be taken to a devestating extreme. It's madness.