If you haven’t caught an episode of TLC/Discovery Health’s “Jon and Kate plus 8“, it just may give you a little solace in the hardships of ones own parenting challenges. Jon (an IT Analyst) and Kate (a former nurse) Gosselin used in-vitro fertilization to help spawn 8 kids. One set are twins and the other six are from a subsequent litter.
Last season, I really liked the spunk coupled with the unconventional and imperfect parenting techniques used by Kate. Although she tended to run a tight ship, she was also human and threw political correctness to the wind when it came to the realities of having 6 toddlers and young twins only 4 years older than the sextuplets.
This season, I have to say, the reality parenting TV show has lost some of its charm with me. Although I enjoy, in a voyeuristic sort of way, watching parenting pained by temper tantrums and legal slavery by way of 6 more demanding children than I am left to deal with, I also have found Kate to be as bratty on occasion as her preschool broad.
In some ways Jon and Kate are very lucky. They have a cozy network of incredibly supportive family and friends who take and/or watch their children frequently. In the first couple of weeks of this season, I watched as Kate went to spa treatments, out to dinner with just her and her husband and plan a vacation by themselves in the Florida Keys. Personally, I know of very few 1.3 children families that are afforded so much free time as they are.
Another less than flattering observation I’ve made — Kate is not very nice to her husband Jon. While Jon is easy going and incredibly accommodating to his wifes idiosyncrasies, she is always snapping at him and making condescending remarks. Is it not enough that he spends all of his time at home helping with the children and goes to work on a daily basis to provide for his classroom of children and thus allowing Kate to be an “at-home mom”. Of course, I can’t imagine that 8 kids in childcare would be worth the effort of working outside of the home, but she always acts as if he is clueless and her life is so incredibly hard. Often times, she resorts to treating him like one of their toddlers.
One episode, Kate decided to hire a cleaning person. Through her exhaustive search, she finally settled on the one person who actually agreed to take the job on — so her prospects were limited. After the brave cleaning lady left, Kate then went around her house with imaginary white gloves, pointing out the hidden dust left behind. “Thanks for trying,” Kate said out loud, along with other rumbles of disappointment. The implication was that the cleaning woman was fired, not up to Kate’s high standards. Of course, you should get what you pay for, but cleaning after 6 toddlers and their bigger sisters, something is bound to get forgotten. Perhaps she should have cut the cleaning lady as much slack as she expects in return?
While Kate seems like a lot of fun and incredibly organized, it’s the little things — weird things — that seem to get her in a tizzy, like what shoes the older girls are going to wear to a carnival or if any of her family or friends puts her out by being one minute late. Sometimes you get the feeling that Kate is nothing more than a control freak, loving every challenge that comes her way, but at the same time, expecting others to reward her and recognize her for having it so tough, when in actuality, she really doesn’t. Sure, having 8 small children would drive the sanest person batty, it has also given them a much desired family and tv show. All in all, they have a pretty fortunate lifestyle.
As much as I like this show, I wish Kate would be less focused on herself and the indulgences of her children and complain less. Most families, even with less children, have their own unique challenges and have many other issues to deal with on top of it. Count your blessings Kate. You are not the first “over-worked” mother and you won’t be the last.
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