Last night – along with about 10 million other viewers – I watched the season premiere of Jon and Kate Plus 8 on TLC. I rolled my eyes as Kate snapped at Jon to take his sunglasses off for a photo. I snarked on Twitter when she showed up to decorate for her children’s outdoor birthday party dressed in a short business dress and heels, laughing uncomfortably all the while.
But this morning I woke up feeling sad, unsettled.
Kate Gosselin is popular in the mom blogging world mostly as the antithesis of what a mom, what a wife should be. She is vilified for travelling for speaking engagements and book tours, damned for her use of child care. We gasp in shock every time she snaps at her husband, regardless of how doltish his actions were or are. And the idea that she does not come across positively – well, it never dawns on us that we may come across exactly the same if we were raising eight children and sharing our space with a camera crew.
I’m here to say that as moms we should support Kate in this unbelievably trying time for her family. And here is why…
When the networks first came calling to film a segment about the Gosselin sextuplets, I am certain that Kate did not envision the life she leads today. But then something magical happened…she saw an opportunity to provide for her children in a way she never dreamed possible when she first learned she was going to be the mother of eight children.
At first I’m sure that filming the specials and even the early shows was just fun. Then it became a source of income. Soon she found that they weren’t just a family, they were a brand…a marketable brand. Suddenly she finds herself with the opportunity to reach out to other moms, get paid to write about her family, build a career that she loves, that she finds fulfilling. She can quit her 9 to 5 job as a nurse and spend the majority of her time at home with her children. Her husband follows suit and quits his job as well. Their time together increases exponentially. The opportunities for fun experiences for her children increases exponentially. Their financial concerns disappear, they find a house with room enough for their children, they see a bright future…
And then, like a house of cards, it all comes crashing down.
The idea of women having it all, of women having choices, is an emotional topic for me. I 100% respect that Kate Gosselin found a way to spend more time with her family, provide more for her family, and yet find personal professional fulfillment simultaneously. My goals when I began my online journey last summer were to a.) find that piece of fulfillment that was missing in my life, that intellectual stimulation and b.) be able to provide the supplemental income that would allow me to work from home ad infinitum.
But when you work online, like a house of cards, it could all come crashing down.
Many of us are one embarrassing picture away from brand destruction, one controversial story away from watching what we couldn’t believe was working out so nicely for us….stop working.
I hope that the paparazzi go away, that marriage counseling is successful, and that at the very least the Gosselins find happiness for their children. And while I watch, I am going to be aware that we’re all one misplaced card away from everything falling apart…