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Kody Brown of 'Sister Wives' says it's 'not normal' for him to 'babysit' kids

"I'm good at watching my kids, but I almost never do it. It’s easier for me to pay somebody $20 an hour,” Brown, who shares 18 children with four women, said on the show.
TLC / YouTube

Kody Brown let audiences in on his parenting strategy in the most recent episode of "Sister Wives," which aired on Sept. 18.

During a segment about how he splits up his time between families, Kody admitted to “almost never” watching his children.

“I’m good at watching my kids, but I almost never do it. It’s easier for me to pay somebody $20 an hour than to lose $200 an hour with the business that I have at hand,” he said.

The Brown patriarch has 18 children with four women, most of whom are teenagers and adults.

Kody Brown and first wife Meri Brown have one child, Leon. Kody and second wife Janelle Brown have six children. Kody also has six children with Christine Brown, his third wife, who left left him in November 2021. The season tracks their ongoing breakup and her relocation to Utah.

Finally, Kody shares five children with Robyn Brown, his fourth and most recent wife to whom he is legally married. Robyn has three children from a previous marriage, who Kody adopted.

The episode begins with Kody defending himself over Christine's claims that he is "never there" for her and their children, the youngest of whom is 12.

Christine said in a solo interview that the only time he showed up to hike with her and her family, he brought along his kids with Robyn because he was "babysitting" them — something, he said, is "not normal" for him.

“It’s not normal for me to babysit my kids. I’ve been working all my life. I was raised on a ranch. We were always busy. The idea of going kayaking or hiking and stuff like that is not something I really do a lot of with anybody," he said.

The other wives weigh in on Kody's schedule. Janelle describes him as being "scattered." Meri said she used to wish he was "more focused and centered," but has made peace: "I realized, this is just who he is."

Robyn appears to be more forgiving of Kody's behavior. "Kody is somebody who keeps himself very, very busy," Robyn said in a solo interview.

For this reason, Robyn explains that she uses a nanny instead of relying on Kody for childcare help.

“Kody and I have a lot going on during the day,” Robyn said. “That’s why I have a nanny — so that I can have her help me instead of trying to ask Kody to help with the kids.”

To do otherwise, Robyn said, would be unfair. "It's not fair of me to ask him to help when he has so many responsibilities," she said.

Christine previously alluded to Robyn being Kody's "favorite wife," a topic that emerges in this discussion in how he splits his time.

Christine said Kody is more involved with Robyn's kids than her own. “It’s hard to see just such a contrast with Kody, how he is at Robyn’s house versus how he is at my house. He’s just disengaged at my house,” she said.

Similarly, Janelle said that Kody often “ends up” at Robyn’s a lot to “help with the little kids.”

According to Christine, Kody's inaction has been an ongoing problem. In an earlier episode, Christine remembered asking Kody for help when she was pregnant with Truely, only to have her request denied. “I asked Kody, I said, ‘I need your help,’ and he goes, ‘I can’t do that, I’m in other houses,’” she said

Christine said, amid their separation, Kody's visiting schedule has not changed.

“He’s not here any more than he was before, he’s not here any less. It’s the same,” Christine said. “Truely’s not even noticed it.”

Christine now lives in Utah with their youngest child, Truely.