Do Quiverfull Homeschooling Mothers Rely Too Heavily on Their Stay at Home Daughters?

Do Quiverfull Homeschooling Mothers Rely Too Heavily on Their Stay at Home Daughters? February 8, 2020
Screen cap of Zsuzsanna Anderson’s FB page “Are They All Yours?” Clipped out the photo of her 12 year old daughter providing childcare of her baby.

Disclaimer: We are talking about the Quiverfull homeschooling world here. Please do not bother pming me, posting comments or anything else complaining that the entire homeschooling movement is being harmed here. This is a blog about Quiverfull. You can safely assume that is the world we are speaking of. Not all homeschoolers.

Taking a look at the Facebook of Zsuzsanna Anderson, wife of  banned hate pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, raises some serious red flags. Questions revolving around that tried and true Quiverfull happening, when pre-teens and teenage daughters are pressed into service to run the household. The most famous example of this being one Jana Duggar, defacto “Mom” to many of her siblings, leaving her mother Michelle free to do whatever it is that Michelle does. Laze around being “joyfully available”? Who knows.

It’s no big secret why Quiverfull pushes the idea of the daughter-servant, the buddy system of child rearing. It’s telling that in official, state-licensed, legitimate organizations like schools, but most especially in day care environments there is a mandated adult to child ratio. In the younger ages that can be as low as five kids per adult.

In Quiverfull, when you are busy with ten plus kids someone else must pitch in, or chaos happens. Sadly enough this rarely seems to be the men who father these children. They are around for the impregnation, and work to provide a living, but many times seem rather curiously uninvolved in the lives of their offspring.  Meaning mother must turn to her older daughters to help out with the laundry, the homeschooling, the cooking, the boots on the ground parenting.

Zsuzsanna has been having her older daughter pitching in to help during a recent lengthy bout of family illness. What is Zsu doing with her spare time? Making videos for her followers on home made medicines to heal many things, right up until Zsu was felled by the crud her family has. Zsu runs a ministry named Are They All Yours?‘ involving teaching women to be Quiverfull like her. Likely the older daughters are having to pick up the slack as Zsuzsanna recovers. Family will do what family must do.

There’s nothing wrong with having children pitching in with running a household, as well as Dad too. Sometimes it takes the entire family helping out to keep life tranquil and sane. What’s not good here is the over-reliance on mere teenage girls to do it all while you make videos.

Kids need time. Time to daydream, to read, to take part in pleasurable hobbies, instead of always being working as the second mom.

I will give Zsu a tiny amount of credit. She did write a pretty decent post on grief. It just grieves me to think that her tiny daughters were likely doing adult chores while Zsu wrote.

~~~~~~~

So folks. I have no internet, and it’s taken nearly three weeks for Kolbi to even think about coming out to fix it here in Costa Rica. Just had to have my entire internet rewired at the house and am currently waiting for a new modem and router to be delivered and set up. Things happen slowly here, like sloth speed. I am on a huge estate, and can only access FB if I go to the back gate and hold my stupid phone up in the direction of the only cell phone tower not blocked by mountains. I’ll be back but this is why my posts here are getting so so weird and sparse. There will be no post tomorrow, but Monday it is likely I’ll be back, either here at the restaurant at Witch’s Rock, or if they fix our internet.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Desperate Ambrose

    “Kids need time … to daydream, to read, to take part in pleasurable hobbies. . . .”
    Precisely why Quiverfull needs them to be surrogate parents: Kids who daydream, read and have hobbies can get (*HORRORS!*) ideas! And whatever else Quiverfull is about, it ain’t ideas.

  • Person223

    If the father is the bread winner in the family it is by no means unfair to expect the mom to be the one doing more of the parenting.

  • AFo

    A twelve-year-old has no business being a surrogate mom or teacher to her younger siblings. The fundies seem to love robbing their kids, especially their daughters, of anything resembling a childhood.

  • Jennny

    Never any suggestion that a boy-child do chores of course…and I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents…she posted a pic of small,undernourished-looking Miriam,10yo with a new baby in a sling on her chest, head lolling, so dangerous. Getting kids to do stuff she should do, is the only respite she gets and she thinks she is soooo very wise about life and motherhood, it behoves her to tell the rest of us on Youtube etc how to run our lives.

    Oh, Suzanne, new troll below, he infects the long-suffering Jonathan Pearce’s blog and has moved to RtoD and here now.

  • Saraquill

    A biography I read, Soviet Daughter, features the woman’s childhood in 1910s-1920’s Ukraine. Her mom was fecund and the many pregnancies wiped her out. Woman was forced to drop out of 4th grade to serve as housekeeper/nanny. This limited education made employment difficult for her.

    Also of note is that she had older brothers and a dad, but she was the one made to do the heavy lifting.

  • “Bread winner” is often a shared-job. Both my grandparents worked (factory, garment work). Similar for my parents. It can make for better relations with one’s father. I’m an old lady now but I still remember my first cooking lesson from my father, making scrambled eggs. Growing up everyone pitched in where needed.

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    Person223, let me rewrite that for you:

    “If the parents have chosen that only one of them works outside the home, it is by no means unfair to expect the stay-at-home parent to be the one doing more of the parenting.”

    There, vacuumed out the pile of unjustified assumptions for you.

    Now, I think many of us would agree, at least provisionally, with the cleaned-up version. But it doesn’t address the problem of having more children than the parents can effectively parent, while also having someone(s) earn money for the basic needs of the family.

  • Martin Penwald

    He is on Friendly Atheist sometimes too. He is the standard libertarian, except when it comes to reproductive choices, where He has the Right to impose His Will. A typical right-wing trumpist.

  • Mel

    Is Steven the breadwinner in the family? He’s a pastor of a tiny storefront church that has a maximum of 150 participants per week – but many of those are children in huge families. He has a blog and a You-Tube channel – but is unlikely to have monetized those extensively. I doubt he’s bringing in very much at all for his family to live on.

    Zsu – on the other hand – has written several inexpensive cooking and homeschooling guides that appeal to a far wider group of people than Anderson’s rants. She receives a decent number of good presents – or hand-me-downs – from well-to-do blog readers a year.

  • SAO

    The thing is, if the older kids were in school, it would be easier on the mother. If the kids are 1.5 years apart — which is close spacing, then when one kid is 5 and ready for kindergarten, the mother has a 3.5yo, a 2 yo and a 6 month baby at home. That’s still a lot, but she’s not supervising or homeschooling the 5, 7.5 and 9 and almost 12yo. On the weekends, the father should be home, giving her a hand — It’s a tough life but doable. If all the kids are home and the mother is supposed to be teaching 3-4 kids plus taking care of the 3 pre-schooled aged kids, that’s pretty much impossible to do without help.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I suppose that makes it easier to deny them a real adulthood. If all they’ve known is domestic servitude, marrying young to start raising their own brood sounds like a better deal than what they already have. At least in their own home, they no longer have to deal with their mom’s carping.

  • Astrin Ymris

    In response to the question posed in the title, the answer is “yes”. Honestly, in burns me up when these cultural enforcers tell critics that it’s their own business how many kids they have, while at the same time sacrificing their daughters’ childhood and education to care for their massive brood.

  • SAO

    Part of the reason they are sacrificing their daughters’ childhood is because they home school. If you look at the Duggars, when the last one was born, if they’d put their kids in school at kindergarten, Michelle would have had 4 little ones at home, 12 kids in school and 3 past HS age. 4 kids at home during the day is a lot, but it’s a hell of a lot more doable than caring for 4 little ones and homeschooling 12 kids — I imagine it takes work to keep 5 to 10 year olds engaged in school work on their own. The kids in school would get an education and have some freedom from chores like getting a rowdy 7 year old boy to sit and do his schoolwork instead of getting into mischief.

    So, in the end, the overwork of QF mothers comes down to the choices they and their husbands make. The real reason no one gets an education is homeschooling.

  • Friend

    I’m sure that’s the aim, but it doesn’t occur to Quiverfull parents that this simply won’t work on every child, or even every girl, no matter how strict and pure they try to make the upbringing. Just throw in any complication—a challenging personality, sibling rivalry, serious illness, death in the family, sustained unemployment of the “breadwinner,” a couple of miscarriages, physical difference of any kind, departure from the neurotypical, a temperamental parent, favoritism, not to mention anything about the development of sexual1 feelings, orientation, identity… Then you get a deeply unhappy kid who strives to make the system work, or a rebel, or a dominant kid who makes everybody else feel bad, or a runaway, etc., etc.

  • Friend

    Gosh, Mel, I sure hope Steven doesn’t figure this out…

  • Jennny

    I used to read fundy momma-adoption blogs before I deconverted. As a teacher, I was fascinated how QF moms could ”educate” their huge broods. I was in awe of one who’d adopted several foreign kids whom no one else wanted because of their health problems. She posted her rota. One 9yo boy was blind and autistic. So, one other child a day, in rotation, was designated his ‘minder’. Basically, from photos, it appeared that child just followed him round all day, made sure he didn’t hurt himself. That borders on child abuse in my book, the disabled child should be in a school where his needs could be met properly. And what happens when he and her other handicapped children who need a lot of care, become adults? Presumably the family’s bio-siblings have to care for them for the rest of their lives.

  • Jennny

    I commented that boys weren’t expected to do anything on the domestic front when she was ill. Neither was Steve of course. My husband was a pastor when our children were small and could, and did, do extra childminding if I or they were ill. He was in a perfect position to do that, home all day, he could postpone non-essential pastoral visits for a few days etc. He could call an elder and ask him to take the service and preach for one Sunday instead of him. Or he himself could attend and preach a sermon from 5 yrs before as he hadn’t had time to prepare a new one because he’d been looking after us all week…(no one noticed.) I bet Stevie remained as demanding as ever – make me a samwich daughters, crawl off your sickbed wife and get my dinner.

  • lady_black

    OK, who is it?

  • lady_black

    My parents both put bread on the table, and they both cooked. My dad was a terrific cook. Better than Mom. But, he was a cook in the Navy, so he had the experience.

  • Martin Penwald

    Person223.

  • AFo

    Steve has openly bragged about how he won’t even take out the trash because (paraphrasing) “I didn’t have a dozen kids so that I have to be the one taking out the trash.”

  • lady_black

    Oh. That’s a new one to me.

  • Jennifer

    WHAT!

  • Jennifer

    Yeah so, long reply short, he’s not. Steve’s lousy at income, parenting, chores, proper levels of respect for his wife, living by Christ’s laws and talking to other people on a human level. Basically, there’s not much to recommend even keeping him around.

  • Jennifer

    He doesn’t like birth control? Odd for a libertarian.

  • Martin Penwald

    Libertarianism is a childish ideology. Its tenants claim all problems come from government meddling and taxes, but almost all are christian right-wingers who want to force their religion on anyone else.
    Example : Scott Walker (I think) in Wisconsin.

  • Saraquill

    Another one, Jay M Wal, is going through old posts, campaigning hard for a spot of Jerks4J*sus.

  • cmfe

    It’s called “parentification”. It’s destructive in the long term.

  • Raging Bee

    Pardon the OT question, but does anyone know what happened to Without a Crystal Ball? The whole page seems to be gone — even though someone whose name was all Japanese characters had just upvoted a comment of mine on that very blog! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

  • Raging Bee

    Wow…and then came the Depression, followed by the Great Patriotic War…

  • Raging Bee

    If you didn’t bother to read and understand the OP it is by no means unfair to expect you not to blither about something you don’t understand.

  • Raging Bee

    Libertarians are cool with a lot of things like that. They’re just not cool with any Big Gummint doing anything to ensure that anyone has access to any of those cool things.

  • Nea

    I asked the same question a while ago – apparently it’s off Patheos and YouTube only. I miss it.

  • Raging Bee

    Me too also. Hope she wasn’t hounded off the ‘tubes like some other bloggers I’ve known…

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    It’s not just the Quiverfull moms, I also see this in the Hispanic culture here in South Texas. Regardless of the number of children, the oldest daughters are assumed to be the second mother — the one who will take care of what ever little kids are around (siblings, cousins, friends, etc.), to take care of the elderly women in the family (mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc.), while the boys are encouraged to be manly men. Girls are expected to stay home until they marry, while boys are supported in going into school, the military or work. I get a little angry at this system — there are many bright young women who seem to be quietly resigned to repeating this pattern.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    I understand that Crystal Ball was running afoul of the Patheos parent organization because her posts were getting her a lot of negative attention from the free birthers, threatened lawsuits and the like.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    The problem is that with the QF movement, the fathers do not do anything with the kids are around the house — that I the wife’s responsibility.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    The other thing about why families had large families is that, until about the turn of the 19th century, infant mortality (in1900, the U.S. infant mortality rate was approximately 100 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, while in 2000, the rate was 6.89 infant deaths per 1,000 live births), and the rates of death for women giving birth ( for every 1000 live births, six to nine women in the United States died of pregnancy-related complications) , were also much higher than now.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    Thanks for the book review — I’ll have to look for it. ETA — Are you sure that’s the title — There is a Graphic Novel with that title. but it’s not really a biography.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    Previously reported and blocked this troll.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    You mean he actually has to TELL them what to do? His control is slipping, they need to be trained to intuit his needs before he realizes that he has an unmet need/desire. :/

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    She’s alive and well on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/withoutacrystalball/

  • The Jack of Sandwich

    Or even “I don’t care how bad you feel, make yourself pretty. I want sex”

  • Polytropos

    I’m sure that’s part of why they have so many kids. The cult leaders push their followers to have huge families because they know not every kid will stay in the cult.

  • Saraquill

    Don’t forget the Holodomor, a 5talin engineered famin3 designed to hurt Ukrainians.

  • Raging Bee

    I’m not on Facebook so I can’t see much of her there, but that’s good news.

  • Saraquill

    I meant the graphic novel. I don’t know how to catalogue it, so I used “biography.” Also, I recommend it as a library read, not a purchase.

  • Raging Bee

    He made a famine just for them? I didn’t know he was ever that discriminating.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    Good to know. Thanks!

  • Friend

    Well, not in my own limited experience. I knew a family whose son went on to be a Quiverfull co-founder. The older generation (his parents) absolutely expected their kids to stay in the fold. The son had a large br00d of kids and built a career around his ideas, railing against contraception1. Both generations venerated George Lincoln Rockwell. Nobody was expected to rebel and run away.

    The matriarch tried to indoctrinate everybody in her circle. She would stop by our house with pamphlets about the C0mmies trying to break down the nuclear family.

  • Jim Jones

    If I come across an alternative site I’ll pass it on. Then Patheos can become like Jesus, a lich, raised (barely) from the dead.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I think it went deeper than that really. She kept knocking heads with TPTB at Patheos and they axed her iirc.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    We’re talked. She’s making crazy money on YouTube and wages have been cut a few times at Patheos. Since I am not in it for the money this didn’t affect me, but Katie has expenses with her son and just chose to go with the more money.

  • Jennifer

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if on some level they had lots of kids to help ensure the cult’s numbers. They’re very leery of any outside influence taking the kids.

  • Jezebel’sOlderSister

    Yeah, I remember hearing something about that too.

  • Raging Bee

    Well, yeah, once you’ve cranked out that many kids, you gotta make ’em pay for themselves somehow! It’s better than raising a houseful of moochers, innit? /s

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Actually, a correction. I’m not sure if she quit or they let her go.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    In case you didn’t look it up by now, home birth is natural pregnancy with no prenatal medical support of any kind. Births are typically performed at home, often with no better than an unlicensed assistant. Risk of infant mortality is pretty much what you would expect from amateurs operating under primitive conditions. Katie covers some of the issues in this discussion.