My November 2008 Good Housekeeping magazine arrived in the mail last week and there on the front cover were the Gosselins of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame. The week before I had watched the episode on TV where they were doing the photo shoot for that very cover.
Yes ... I'm a fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8, that Monday night Learning Channel show that has brought the Gosselin family into my living room every week for the past four years with their 8-year-old twins and four-year-old sextuplets. That's eight children plus two parents which equals entertainment and a glimpse into how such a large family coexists and survives the everyday ups and downs of smaller families but multiplied times 10.
Not that I have caught the show every Monday night ... far from it ... but there are the occasional "Jon & Kate Plus 8" marathons that get viewers caught up with missed episodes that can be watched (or heard) when working around the house or on the computer.
I feel a little guilty peeking into this family's private life ... the husband-wife squabbles, Mady's temper tantrums, little kid meltdowns. I can't help but wonder what they will think when they are older and realize their lives were splashed all over America, even those private moments that most families keep private.
But this family had a financial crisis when they had the sextuplets ... Jon had lost his job as an IT specialist and, let's face it, they suddenly had a need for all the items that are needed with a new baby ... times six.
Enter The Learning Channel with a special about the family which soon turned into a weekly show with TV cameras following them four days a week. The intrusion into their privacy does not come without its benefits. They have been treated to complimentary trips to Disney World and other amusement parks, the zoo, a ski trip, and many other perks and, in return, they mention the benefactor on the show. Kate even received a free tummy-tuck for her stretched stomach; Jon received hair plugs for his receding hairline.
Voila! Financial stability, worldwide recognition, free trips, and goodies mailed to them by creative fans.
Kate has her quirks ... no shoes allowed in the house, bossiness with Jon ... but she's real. And, quite frankly, until I walk in her shoes with eight children, I have no right to criticize her. Jon is more laid-back and perhaps more lackadaisical in the details of child rearing ... but that's normal in many dads. I once heard someone say that moms have the details of motherhood written on the inside of their eyelids ... and I believe that is very true of most moms.
Kate has written a book, Multiple Blessings coming out in November, that should shed even more light on the inner workings of this close-knit family. Meanwhile, the twins and the sextuplets continue to grow up in the living rooms of millions.