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When Gil and Kelly Jo Bates married in 1987, they didn't plan to have kids, but something changed over time; now they're parents to 19 children - yes 19! When they range from toddler to 20-something and live under one roof, challenges abound, even for a tight-knit family like the Bates brood. Among those are the parents' strict rules, which include everyone's chores, watching little to no TV, and the girls wearing only dresses. Gil runs a tree service that employs some of his sons, while Kelly Jo stays home to make the meals and do the laundry, home schooling and other tasks. As the eldest children get older, new issues including romance, careers and babies enter the picture.