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Jon and Kate’s Final Curtain Call?

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After her pilot husband became disabled a year ago, Guest Blogger Chris has recently begun working from home as a blogger/social media and advertising type with a graphic design career of 15 years she thought she had left behind. As a directionally-challenged (thank goodness for the foothills), stay-at-home mom of a tempestuous two-year-old in Aurora, she blogs about balancing working from home, motherhood and marriage while keeping a sense of humor all at the same time! Follow the chaos at Mama Bird’s Blog where a half-hatched role reversal takes flight on a wing and a prayer!

Yeah, I watched. But, I haven’t gone so far as to read any of the tabloids. I don’t know what the mystery woman looks like and I don’t care. What intrigued me as I watched the 5th season opener of Jon & Kate Plus 8 was how I could in an “Off-Broadway sense,” empathize with Kate, a woman who makes me cringe every time I see part of myself in her “Type-A Mom” personality. Intrigued, not because my husband has gone off and done something untoward (at least not in public) for which I can never forgive him (get over yourself, Kate), but because of the underlying role reversal challenges that the two of them hinted at, in between all of the innuendo of an alleged affair. Has anyone else caught on to this?

She’s now the breadwinner while he stays home with the kids and resents her for being away while wishing she’d stay away at the same time — loosely translated from Jon. Anyone else experiencing something similar who doesn’t also have eight kids, full-time staff and a major prime-time hit television show? Direct quote from my husband: “Men just weren’t made to do this.”

Now, before anyone takes offense to this, of course there are some terrific stay-at-home Dads out there who can run circles around many of us Moms. But, please, let’s be real. Most Dads when put to the test aren’t going to last long at cleaning up after pre-schooler playdates, preparing three square meals a day, activity schedules, bath-time and just the general noise level of it all. Then there’s the housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, doctor appointments and errand-running. Did I mention laundry? Now, most likely Jon doesn’t do much of this by himself; did I mention the full-time staff? But, he is used to being the provider, not the caregiver.

To me, it was detectable throughout the interview that Jon just wasn’t comfortable staying home while Kate traveled earning a paycheck on her book tour. He quit his job to stay home with the kids, because “Kate can write and he can’t.” Ergo, if he could provide in that way, he would choose that role. Don’t underestimate the sense of pride and accomplishment being the provider carries with it, most especially for men.

The challenge for Kate, is to not be overly critical of the job Jon is doing when she returns home. And, if you’ve ever watched the show, you can just imagine how this is playing out. Kate has decidedly defined for all of America what a “hen-pecked husband” truly looks like up close and in his own natural habitat. While I pray that my husband would never describe himself as a member of the hen house, I empathize with Kate’s challenge. I find myself biting my tongue a whole heck of a lot more than Danny probably realizes, because I know he really is doing the best job that he can do. While we haven’t chosen our new roles, the parts we play are similar to those of Jon and Kate in that they require perspective on what is important as a family, not on who does what.

Has Jon finally had enough? Many of us have wondered when Jon’s breaking point would be reached. Is it possible that now that Kate is no longer in charge of her castle, the scrutiny she inflicts on Jon combined with a general distaste for the life he gave up for her has upset that delicate balance they’ve maintained through four seasons of TV-dom? It was clear at the end of last season, Jon was no longer on board with a public life. Has he made his final stand? I hope that family wins out on this one. In the best interest of those eight precious young hearts, I pray that the curtain is never called on this marriage.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber May 29, 2009

    A great perspective from someone who is living through the exact same thing. Well, without millions of eyes on you–a small difference!

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver May 29, 2009

    I hear the buzz about this show, but since we are cable-ly challenged, I’ve never seen it.

    I think the role-reversal you mention would be more interesting than the marital tension that comes from possible affairs. I think that, for the sake of their kids and their vows to each other, they should not play this out in public.

    Wish i could be flip about this, but the trading of their children’s privacy for fame and (maybe) fortune bothers me.

  • comment avatar Holly May 29, 2009

    Yeah, sigh, I watch that show. First of all, poor kids, they didn’t choose this. Second, in no way do I feel bad for Kate… at all. They made most of their money from the show, the books is her side thing. She is sooo evil, she has driven her own family out of her life. Word is her father set up charities for the family when they found out they were having sextuplets, scored a bunch of cribs which Kate turned down because they didn’t match and the stories like that go on.She seems ungrateful and money hungry. Her husband quit his job because they made so much money from the show and poor thing just gets belittled by Kate. “Some would say I can’t even breathe right.” He says in the interview, the guy is torn down to nothing thanks to his wife who yells at him for his too loud breathing, the way he speaks, the way he looks, the way he itched his ear in an interview. It’s sad!

    My husband hates the show. It reminds me to be nice, to not change the person I was because the dishes weren’t done how I like them. It reminds me that my husband does things I don’t have to think about and quite often forget. It reminds me to be grateful, and be his partner, not him mom.

    The season opener, Kate was the nicest I’ve ever seen her. Almost like she had a reality check. Jon isn’t her toy to boss around, be nice to people, respect others and they will respect you in return. I hope they stay together for the kids, but only if Kate starts treating her husband like someone you love should be treated. I feel so bad for their kids, to grow up in such an unloving environment. And, really, who is going to date Kate after this, no one wants to be treated the way she has treated Jon, NO ONE!

    http://whatwasisayingagain1018.blogspot.com/

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com May 29, 2009

    To be honest, I’ve never watched the show. I tried to watch an episode one evening, a while ago (before all this hoopla), and I couldn’t do it.

    That being said, you bring up some good points. My husband is awesome with our little girl, but he is incapable to multitasking when it comes to her!

    This is a man who in charge of SO MANY THINGS in his “real” job. He can multitask with THE BEST of them there. The things he accomplishes at the office are incredible. All of a sudden, if he has to watch Claire and do something else at the same time, it’s impossible.

    We’ve talked about how he truly doesn’t understand what I “do” during the day. He knows enough to tread lightly with his comments, but he really doesn’t “get it.”

    And, that’s okay. Were our roles reversed, there would be some major challenges, and one of them would be me needing to bite my tongue. :)

  • comment avatar Kerry May 29, 2009

    I too have never seen the show, however have just heard bits and pieces. I think the role reversal is HUGE. I know my husband would love to be a stay-at-home dad, however I also see the innate desire and need to care for his family financially. I do believe men have this installed in them at an early age. I’m not saying that men cannot be Mr. Mom, I think mentally it might be a struggle. And for a “type-A” mother to beable to let go some of her motherly roles is a challenge. She HAS to accept how he does things.

    Also, 8 kids and a TV show; something’s bound to give! Heck dealing with two kids can be stressful enough. I’m not surprise and don’t blame anyone for what happened. I think it’s human nature under very stressful circumstances for men and woman to seek comfort, whatever that is. I think society puts too much into affairs. No, I’m not condoning it, however we place it in a realm that’s as worse and committing murder. Is it really?

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 29, 2009

    Really interesting insights, everyone. My neighbor is a stay-at-home dad. He never chose it but does a good job at it. That said, he really has problems finding his place. He doesn’t feel comfortable hanging out with the “moms,” isn’t proactive enough to find other stay-at-home dads and I think he sometimes struggles when hanging out with his buddies who are entrenched in their careers.

    Being a stay-at-home mom is tough. In my opinion, being a stay-at-home dad is tougher.

  • comment avatar Jason May 29, 2009

    What I learned from class today is that men are single-threaded, incompetent caregivers and women are controlling and resentful. Also, both are egotistical narcissists.

  • comment avatar Melissa Taylor May 29, 2009

    I’m not sure what to say to that last comment – hmmm. Moving on. . .

    I just feel sad for everyone involved. There must be so much tension and hurt, no matter what the real story is. I hope that every person -including the kids – gets therapy! Soon.

    Melissa
    http://www.imaginationsoup.net

  • comment avatar Tea and Bonbons May 29, 2009

    Kate is an abusive control-freak and doesn’t deserve anything good that comes her way. “Hen-pecking” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her riches have been won through greed and conniving. Now their life is falling apart and the ones who suffer are the kids. Nice going. I have never watched the show more than a couple of times because I can’t stand her. Jon deserves to be able to move on to a woman who is a little more appreciative of him. If there is any justice, the courts will award custody to him and the lion’s share of their income and assets.

  • comment avatar Mama Bird May 29, 2009

    I love everyone’s take-away. Well, some people may want to “re-audit” the class. ;-)

    Amber, I think if there were a million eyes on us, they’d soon be asleep!

    Lori, I don’t think that is why they originally did the show, but it has definitely brought them that and the impact is now showing.

    Holly, I caught that, the “breathing” comment. I remember the episode he is referring to. This show teaches me to be nice too. Your husband should be thankful you watch it!

    JoAnn, I read your comment to my husband and we both laughed! My husband is a Flight Engineer for the Air Force and a First Officer for Frontier and forget about it! One thing at a time. Makes for a very messy house. All my friends say the same thing and there are tons of articles on it in everything from parenting to science magazines: the male brain can’t multitask (sorry Jason). Haven’t heard a good explanation for why this only seems to be true at home though. Maybe it’s all one giant conspiracy! :-)

    Kerry, so true about accepting what he does now. It’s hard for us Type-A Moms to do!

    Amber, I think it is harder for Dads. I think Danny would relate to everything you just said.

    Melissa, the kids will definitely have some adjusting to do, not only if a divorce happens, but if the cameras disappear from their lives. It’s all they know.

    Tea and Bonbons, I can’t really judge what Kate is thinking, but I do question her decision to do a book tour when Jon had already made it clear he wasn’t really on board with all the limelight and wanted his family to just return to normal. I don’t know. I’m sure she didn’t think it would have the consequences that it has. I hope she see’s her role in all of this.

    Just saw on CNN that the PA Dept. of Labor is now investigating whether or not the Gosselins are violating child labor laws for making a reported $75K per episode, 40 episodes per season. The piling on has begun.

  • comment avatar diana/sunshine May 29, 2009

    amen, and well put. i hope they realize that the best thing is to pull the curtain on the show and public life and work on their marriage and family – for the sake of all 10 of them.

    http://www.sunshine-on-my-shoulders.blogspot.com

  • comment avatar Maria June 8, 2009

    I watched the show here and there and have to admit after all the talks about this new season, I watched, my husband watched, and i agree, I’ve never seen Kate so nice, even happy. It takes two to tango. Although Kate is a handful, her husband can be a doormat, he needs to toughen up…

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