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.