During this fourth season of Welcome to Plathville we’ve seen mom Kim Plath start spending a lot of time out of the family home in order to follow her own path. She opened up a dance studio, decided she wanted a divorce from Barry after 24 years of marriage, and is in general on a path to finding herself. For a while, she was spending more time at the family’s various rental properties than at home. A big problem with that, however, is that she still continues to home school her minor children. Without Kim at home older sister Lydia had to pick up the slack on schooling.
During the most recent episode aired (12, “You Know What You Did”) Kim’s oldest son Ethan confronts her about how he feels like his education wasn’t up to par to help him compete with his peers in the real world. “I feel like in many ways you were extremely relaxed as far as the amount of effort you put into schooling kids,” he told her.
It seems like this season Kim may have been even more relaxed with education, if only temporarily. In episode eight, titled “I feel like a cow,” 13-year-old Amber is seen cooking dinner while 18-year-old Lydia Plath helps 9-year-old Mercy Plath with math. Besides helping with school, Lydia also stepped in as a kind of mother figure.
“My mom has moved back into the house,” Lydia says in VoiceOver. “But she’s still busy with the dance studio so I’m still helping out a lot with my younger sisters: schooling, or just being there for them.”
Lydia goes on to explain that when her older siblings left the house, a lot of the everyday housework fell on her shoulders. During Season One, Lydia was already painted as the one with the most responsibility. She was shown cooking and doing laundry for the family, and it was heavily implied that their older sister Hosanna had been the one with the most caretaking roles before she got married and moved out in 2019.
Lydia’s older sister Moriah would sometimes express guilt over doing less, but never really picked up any slack when it came to housework. Moriah soon left the house completely to strike out on her own with their brother Micah, leaving Lydia completely alone with the work.
Lydia says that her mom “offered to help” but Lydia refused her help so she “could prove to myself I could be the oldest child.”
“I wish I knew what my mom is feeling about all of this,” Lydia says. “I can only imagine being a mother of nine children, and all that’s required, and just everything you’re constantly pouring out. If you’re not being filled and you’re pouring out that much, you’re gonna run dry.” Although Lydia is sounding like she can’t imagine what it must be like to be her mom, it seems like she has a great deal of experience mothering her mom’s children as well. In particular, when she talks about pouring out and not being filled, it sounds like she’s expressing some of her own experience of having so much responsibility at such a young age.
This load of family responsibility seems to have been alleviated for Lydia a bit lately, but what’s going on with the younger children’s education still hasn’t been explained in full.
This season Lydia eventually got a full-time job at a bank, which typically keeps 9-5 hours, so she couldn’t oversee the children’s schooling during the day. Lydia also had several other jobs, including at a local mechanic who often hires Plath family children, and helping run her family’s AirBNBs. At some point this season the parents made a point to tell Moriah that Lydia now does more work outside of the home than inside of it.
As of July 2022, Lydia seems to be going out and having fun too, according to her Instagram. She recently spent time with friends repelling and visiting a theme park, and even showed off taking a Saturday to relax and spend time with herself and her bible at a local coffee shop.