Unless you've been living under a rock, or on the island of LOST, you've heard the latest controversy involving Jon and Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8. And if you've been a reader of my blog for any length of time I think you have noticed that don't really involve myself in controversies, unless you count that idiotic columnist that wrote a piece last June comparing international adoption to wearing a trendy accessory. And of course I had to show my accessories off. But I've been mulling this one over for about a week and I decided to jump into the frenzy.
Jon and Kate Plus Eight has been a weekly viewing experience in our house for about a year and a half. I discovered the show when Emma was in the hospital with her RSV. It was Thanksgiving week and TLC was pretty much the only watchable channel in the children's hospital. It just so happened that TLC was running a marathon week. JK+8 and I were introduced then, along with Miami Ink (which I found surprisingly fascinating) and Little People, Big World. Seriously, who could resist a house full of cute little kids and parents living on the edge of insanity? (Sounds vaguely familiar to me.) Not to mention it was something my girls liked too, so every Monday night we watched the capers of the Gosselins. But as time went on, Kate got snappier and snappier and the show began to seem more and more contrived. We were no longer watching the Gosselins surviving, we were watching the Gosselins go on free trips and experiences my kids can only dream of. I think it was when Kate dropped her kids off on Aunt Jody's just one more time, only to bring them home and discover that they had had gum and she lost it. The words that came out of Kate's mouth about Aunt Jody, the woman who just watched 7 of her 8 kids for the umpteenth time for free, just left me feeling angry. The ingratitude was evident.
So this spring when news broke that Jon was having an affair, I didn't believe it at first. And then I did. Kate emasculated Jon every chance she got, although it could easily be argued that the passive/aggressive Jon let her. In any case, it seemed plausible, even understandable that there was trouble afoot in Gosselinland and nobody was finding my name on the Kate Gosselin fan list. But I have to admit that the stories I've been reading have caught me off guard. Not only have her traits as a wife come into the spotlight, so have her abilities as a mother. Suddenly her manicures, her hair style, her fitness regime and her clothing options have all been placed under the microscope as evidence that she's a bad mother. Really?
It can be argued that the Gosselins have brought this on themselves. It's true that they placed themselves under the glare of cameras. They eagerly put themselves in the public eye. But what's got me thinking this week is how different are we Mommy Bloggers from the Gosselins? We share our lives, our children and especially in my family, our wacky adventures, all for the world to read about. How would we do under the constant watch of tv cameras?
This weekend a friend of mine suggested that my family should have our own reality show. That could only last about one show, two at the most. How many times can people watch Emma climb on counters, the dogs run off into the woods and see my cluttered living room? But it got me thinking about what cameras would really see. How interesting would it be to see me with my booty firmly planted in front of my computer? Seeing me yelling at Julia and Jenna about their negligence in caring for their dog Bella would be far more interesting. Or me getting frustrated again because the house is a mess again. Noticing a trend here? No need to attack my every other month pedicure and hair cut and color, there's enough evidence at the home front to fry and fillet my mothering abilities.
Who decides mothering perfection anyway? US Weekly? Are any of those writers even mothers? Or is it all those perfect blogs out there where the mothers feed their children organic food, live in impeccably perfect homes and cook gourmet food captured in professional quality photographs? We mother's have hard enough time trying to live up to our own expectations let alone the world's.
I've never claimed the Perfect Mother prize. If anything, I've stressed time and time again my imperfections. In the end, who's the judge of our mothering? It's ourselves for sure, but also our kids. Our kids won't be happy 100% of the time. I can assure you that Julia wasn't happy with me this afternoon after I finished my tirade. Should I have yelled? In a perfect world I wouldn't, but we've already established our world isn't perfect, haven't we? But hours removed from the situation, Julia admits that I'm right. And sometimes love is tough love. To me, the proof that I'm a good mother is when my children feel safe, encouraged and loved. The reality is that they won't feel that way all the time, but if I hit the mark most of the time I'll take it.
Which brings me back to me being a Mommy blogger and the Gosselins. The Gosselins put themselves in the public eye but so do I. Why in the world would I announce my imperfections to the world? I've never written my blog to get people to look up to me. I hope and pray that moms read my blog and say "thank goodness I'm not the only one." We mothers need role models for sure, but I don't aspire to that title. Sometimes we just need to see that there's someone else out there doing the best they can. In the end, what more can we ask for?
5 weeks ago