Saturday, September 6, 2008

My sincerest apologies, Jon and Kate

Let this serve as my official, public apology to Jon and Kate Gosselin.

For those unfamiliar, Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight children are the stars of TLC's Jon and Kate + 8. The couple allows the world a peek inside their home while raising eight children ... twins and sextuplets.

Since Trace and Alysse were born, I can't count the number of people who have asked, "Do you watch Jon and Kate + 8?"

"No." Not much time for TV watching in my world (at least without laundry folding too).

However, late last winter when flipping on the television one night, the show happened to be airing. I watched out of curiosity, having had so many people mention it.

I was disturbed. The kind of disturbed the lasts for days, lingering on my mind, leaving me unsettled.

Why don't they try to alleviate some of the whining? Are all of the kids never content at the same time? Isn't there any better way? Is it really possible to take all that bellyaching in stride and just roll with it? These questions ran through my head for days. Maybe even weeks.

Ahh, and then came spring. It brought to our home emerging personalities, babies gaining greater independence and the pure whining chaos I had witnessed on that episode of Jon and Kate + 8. I was living my punishment for having cast judgement on those poor, unsuspecting parents.

The bickering, complaining and tantrums that had taken place in their home had moved into ours. Making my punishment worse, was the knowledge I was barely surviving despite having only half the number of whiners they do. I began to realize the chaos and bickering in their house was actually quite controlled, and to be admired.

In the past couple of months, I've managed to watch more episodes. Truth be told, I could be a Jon and Kate addict if I had the time. In the dozen shows I've now seen, I've come to appreciate their ability to deal with the madness that comes with having eight children under one roof. And actually, see many similarities between their family and ours (a shortage of four children not being one of them).

What I hadn't truly experienced when watching that first episode was the emergence of little personalities and the meshing of them that occurs in a family. It's hard. Sometimes really hard. Made even harder when there are young siblings and multiples involved. Independence being sought, conflicting points of view, growing egos, expanding curiosities and relationships in need of nurturing.

Being on the flip side of the last six months' journey in my own life, I'd now be disturbed to turn on the TV and watch a Jon and Kate + 8 episode that didn't involve conflict and crying. I now get it. I've learned.

That said, I'm sorry Jon and Kate, for ever having doubted you are doing a wonderful job managing what some days is a near impossible task. Parenting is a challenge, and gets exponentially more challenging with the addition of each child. You are to be commended for sharing your sometimes messy, most times loud, always entertaining lives with us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No need to apologize. Those poor Gosselin children have plenty of reasons to be unhappy.
See Mady's sign:
And then read Paul Petersen's essays:
Enjoy your darling children. May they grow up happy, healthy and wise.