Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm Not a Hater

Did you see Kate Gosselin's new show on TLC last night? I'm not sure why they call it "Kate Plus Eight". A better name would be "In Praise of Kate" or "All Hail Kate" or maybe even "Wonder Woman". In the part of the show that I could stomach watching(which wasn't the entire hour, I admit) there was barely any "Plus Eight" at all.

This month we are discussing the balancing act carried out by all moms. Kate used to be a married, stay-at-home mom. We saw how brilliantly she balanced her own tantrums over the Disney World people daring to give ice cream on a hot day to her three year olds with her need to insult her husband because he didn't put the right color shoes on his daughter's feet. We witnessed her balance free trips to Disney World and Hawaii with the free tummy tuck and makeovers. What a struggle that was for her.

Now Kate calls herself a single working mom. Last night we saw her balance need for the spotlight with what she calls "Mom guilt". Put here's the thing--during her documented meltdown, I didn't see her crying over being away from her children or struggling over whether raising her children in the constant glare of camera lights and Paparazzi was detrimental to their emotional well-being, or even wondering whether their father did actually have some legitimate claim to sue for custody if he felt that Kate's Super Star status and schedule wasn't in the best interest of his own children. No, her biggest stressor was that she was exhausted and she was afraid she might make someone in the "industry" mad at her.

At one point during the show, Kate's friend bragged that if people only understood how much Kate was doing "by herself", they wouldn't judge her. Ironically, this comment was followed by a shot of her being chauffeured while discussing her exhaustion with her personal assistant who was making apologetic phone calls for her to the people she was supposed to be seeing that day. The next shot was of her sitting in a chair being done-up by professional hair and make-up artists. Now I realize I'm just guessing here, but my bet is that she also has a maid service and a lawn service for that million dollar home of hers.

Let me tell you, Kate Gosselin, about handling life challenges "by yourself". Trying to enter the workforce after 18 years as a stay-at-home mom, I'm realizing that I'm truly qualified to do nothing except be a mom. Yes, I have a teaching degree, but with the current hiring freeze on teachers, the few jobs available are going to people with more experience. And those two college degrees I earned--they are just enough to make me over qualified for everything else, except the things I'm under-qualified for. So mom's like me make it work without the aid of cleaning services, chauffeurs, and personal assistants until our talent agents convince TLC that we too should get paid to trip over our own feet or whine about our victimization.

And as for the custody suit your ex-husband threw at you, Kate--be blessed that you can afford a decent attorney to fight your case for you. After having my case drug out to the tune of $10,000, I represented myself for a year against my ex who is a lawyer and his big-money hire. And might I just add that my two English degrees didn't exactly prepare me for that job either. Now that is an example of doing it "by myself".

This is not a woe-is-me blog. I'm proud of how I manage to keep most of the balls in the air at the same time. Yes, one or all of them fall from time to time, but I've learned to pick them back up BY MYSELF and start juggling again. As one of my recently-single mom friends put it--we're trying to find employment in a non-existent job market and trying to pay bills with money that isn't there while trying to make our children feel physically and emotionally secure. I realize we aren't making important decisions like whether or not we can make our Dancing with the Stars rehearsal and then feeling guilty that our personal assistant has to call in for us and our chauffeur might have wasted his time by driving us half-way across town. Still, I think our kind of single-mom balancing act tips the scale in our favor.

Last night as I tried to fall asleep, the voice of Kate's Gosselin's friend haunted my brain. And now that I've vented on this subject, I understand that Kate and I do have something in common. We've both surrounded ourselves with a true-blue support system. Mine is family and friends who have never failed to offer whatever I need and even some things I didn't know I needed. I'm just glad I don't have to pay them to be by my side.

I realize my criticism might sound a little harsh. Understand that I am not anti-Kate. I'm not a hater. I understand perfectly the desperation of trying to stay in balance as a single mom. I do believe that Kate (or at least the persona she projects) has lost touch with the common folk and when she tries to claim she's one of us, it irks me!

When you choose to live your life in the spotlight, you can't complain about the glare.


  1. I applaud your blog! I can't even begin to tell you how much I relate to what you just said...I can't tell you how much "mom" guilt I felt over moving to KC after being a stay at home mom myself for 12 yrs to try and make a life that would afford me the ability to not struggle to feed my four kids, the year my divorce was final I made less than $12K, any idea how any person can life of that, let alone with four kiddos? It's ugly! I made a hard choice to move away from them for 2 years, I busted my @ss during that time to build a future for them, and for me. I cried every time I talked to them on the phone, it just killed me inside. I came back two years to the weekend I left with a career in my back pocket. I've been back almost 4 years now. I have my kids back, a job where I am supervising sales reps, 2 publications, and running the largest territory in our group at the same time, plus I cook dinner, do laundry, mow, shuffle my kids to and from school, and now summer school, and I manage without hair and makeup, although I am sure at times I could really use help in this totally hear your roar! Kate it clueless!
    Kelle Lee-Mullinix (from FB)

  2. If you don't mind a little Dads roar. I think often our wives don't appreciate what Dads do, especially Dads who support the family without sending their wives to work. I'm the sole provider in our family, but that's not my hardest job. I also juggle church work, house maintenance and upkeep, the yard, scouts with the boys, coaching the kids baseball, basketball, and football teams, as well as helping around the house, raising the kids, attending school programs and teacher conferences, talking-teaching-disciplining, making sure the girls get enough hugs and the boys know I think they're superman, as well as trying to be supportive of my wife's interests and activities, working to keep the flame alive by spending time on walks, dates, and talks on the porch at night, building family relationships with campouts, trips to the lake, summer vacations to see the Grandparents in Dodge, not to mention keeping the kids in roller blades, bikes, and decent clothing. Oh...and then there's the cars, millions of errands (Dad always seems to be braving the blizzard to take a late night trip to Walmart for diapers or some other critical object), and of course the late nights sitting out in the cold in the middle of winter with a croupy kid and the 2 a.m. trips to the emergency room. I'm tasked with providing for the needs and comforts of a family of 7 as well as financing LDS missions, college, and retirement. Everything seems to have price tags in the thousands and hundreds of thousands. It sometimes seems impossible.

    Not that I'm happy that you have to juggle so much on your own, but hopefully those of us Dads who spend their lives just as committed to their families might come away with a few props. Lord knows we don't get many from those who take us for granted at home. Because of what you do everyday hopefully you can see more clearly what it is to be a Dad...because you've been there. :)

    Mark Pray

  3. (Dads roar)
    Oh...that being said...I wouldn't trade it for the world. Family is what it's all about and Kate is a retard. She'll regret this one day. As a wise man once said:

    "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."

    Too bad so many have to learn that the hard way.

    Mark P.

  4. Well said, Mark. I do understand how difficult it has to be to be a single parent. Although, sometimes it does feel that those single parents forget that being married doesn't make the balancing act all that miuch easier. The marriage ball is another ball in the air and it can sometimes feel like the heaviest because if it starts to fall it the others fall with it. Like my hubby says "if momma ain't happy--ain't nobody happy!" Your comment sounds like it could have ben written by him. As a stay at home mom I keep the house and kids moving along with schedules just like everyone else but like you said- he funds the whole thing. After an extemely busy day at work he is expected to "jump on the train but don't derail it" (one of my favorite sayings) . In other words, just jump into my preplanned schedule, no questions or comments, just do what I have planned and keep the place running for me while I go out and pursue outside interests- oh and after you pay all the bills and fund all the college accounts and our retirement- book us a trip to Disney....Thanks honey!! He does a great job at it, as it sounds like you do==and he does it with a smile. Your comment has reminded to thank him once in a while. Keep up the good work.

  5. Thank you for your wonderful insight. That's really what this blog is all about, celebrating the way we parents make it work. Even if it breaks down from time to time. I appreciate hearing the male perspective. I can only offer the female side of things, so I appreciate Dads stopping by to offer their side, too.

    There was a time when I thought I would never have to figure out how to make it work as a single mom. And most of the time I still feel out of balance. On the single dad's side, I wonder if they also learn to appreciate the mom's challenges and repsonsibilities, too. Bottom line--one key to making it work whether you are single or married is to appreciate the role you both play in the lives of your children.

    Which leads us back to Kate Gosselin. In my humble opinion, she never seemed to appreciate Jon's role as a dad. She acted like she could do it better by herself. And now she gets that chance, doesn't she? But I agree with Mark, that her biggest failure is parading her children in public as they are going through a most difficult transition. Jon obviously was no saint, as none of us are, but at least he tried to stop the parade. At least he realizes that his children need an environment of security and safety and unconditional acceptance and unfailing love that deosn't come from TV ratings.