The Meet The Putnams cast, the stars of what could be TLC’s next big hit, are already drawing comparisons to the cable network’s other really big, kind-of weird family, The Duggars. Here now is all you need to know about the Michigan family where ten adults and 15 kids all live together in the same house.
Two months after Meet the Putnams premiered, fans are wondering how the cast of the large family all came to be living in one house. Here now, thanks to a January MLive report, is how the cast came to live in its current situation.
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The family never particularly set out to all live under one roof, it just sort of happened, says Putnam family patriarch, Grandpa Bill Putnam. He and his wife, Barb, raised four kids in their family home in Cairo, Michigan, and all four of them went into the family business, Putman Developing and Demolition.
Back in 2006, oldest son Billy married his wife, Jennifer. As lots of young couples with big dreams and little money do, they sought out alternative housing accommodations – in this case, living with Billy’s parents. That marriage was followed by son Blake’s marriage to his wife, Megan; then Blair, the lone sister in the family, married Jamie – who even took on the Putnams’ name.
Meanwhile, as the siblings were marrying off, they started having kids. Billy and Jennifer welcomed twins, Isabelle and Abbigail. Not long after that, Jennifer gave birth to Addison, followed by Gabby. Before anyone realized what was happening, the family soon consisted of ten adults and 15 kids living under one roof. They decided they had a good thing going, and they might as well stick with it.
“We all sat down and said, do we really want to continue doing this? We ultimately decided that we’re having a lot of fun. We voted and it was unanimous.”
According to The Ashley’s Reality Roundup, that’s how the Putnams make decisions for the family: by a vote (only adults are allowed to vote).
Meanwhile, the family insists that they’re not a cult and that no one is forced to live in the home against their will.
Although the Putnams’ arrangement may sound weird to modern ears, their lifestyle – multi-generational housing – was hardly uncommon eve a couple of generations ago. And it’s making a comeback, according to a June 2015 Forbes report.
“There are myriad reasons that more American households now consist of two or more generations under one roof: Debt-saddled millennials can’t afford to move out on their own; boomers worried about their aging parents want to keep them close at hand; live-in grandparent babysitters can help offset the price of child-care; a rise in immigrant families for whom inter-generational living is the norm.”
The benefits to multi-generational housing are readily apparent. Grandparents (if they’re able-bodied) are available to provide child care for the younger siblings. In cases where the elders need care as well, able-bodied adults and teenagers are in the home and available to help. Meanwhile, spreading out the cost of housing and utilities across several wage-earners makes things more economical.
Of course, multi-generational housing situations like the Putnams’ are not for everybody. With 25 people under one roof, there’s plenty of drama to go around.
Drama aside, however, Bill says that life in the Putnam house is all about love and laughter.
“All we can say is, it’ll be the cleanest, funniest show you’ll see.”
As of this writing, it is not clear when Meet the Putnams will return to TLC’s regular weekly schedule.
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