I'm sure the net-world is swarming with the buzz of "Jon and Kate will separate" this morning, and while part of me hates to jump into the Gosselin-gate saga, the whole situation bothers me too much for me to keep my mouth shut. When we first saw the Gosselin family on tv, C and I couldn't get enough. They seemed just like us: Kate has PCOS; Kate hates germs and loves control (in a funny way, initially); Jon is laid-back and finds the humor in Kate's craziness. Of course parts of the show were obviously orchestrated in advance, but the family at the center of it all seemed so real. We turned to each other and said, "Look, honey, it's a Christian infertile couple just like us - and they survived!"
We thought Jon and Kate were a success story, in so many ways. They dealt with the heartbreak of infertility, not to mention the frightening realities of a high-order multiple pregnancy. Yet they seemed to come through everything with their love for each other and their faith in God intact. Watching their lives unfold on tv, I felt hope for our own situation. Infertility is a subject rarely broached on prime-time tv - much less in a positive and realistic way - and I was excited to see proof that there is life after PCOS.
Then, I went into my "black hole" phase, and chose to distance myself from anything involving kids for a while. We stopped watching Jon and Kate, and were truly shocked when their tabloid nightmare unfolded recently. I've tuned in for a few minutes here and there this season, and the changes in each of them are truly unsettling.
It's so easy to judge other people's lives. From the outside looking in, everything looks so simple, so cut and dried. And while it's wrong for me to judge them, I can't seem to avoid it. Part of me staunchly believes that when the Gosselins opened their home to the TLC cameras, they invited the American public into every part of their lives, private or not. They aren't actors in a summer blockbuster, they are a family at the crux of a reality tv show. This is what they signed up for: to broadcast the ins and outs of their daily lives to millions of viewers. And while a small part of me does cry out for grace for them, my heart truly breaks for their children.
I so badly wanted Jon and Kate to announce that they would be cancelling their tv show, and taking some time away from their public lives to focus on rebuilding their marriage and their family. Or, at the very least, announce that they would be cancelling their tv show in order to allow the kids time to grieve and adjust to the changes in their family structure privately. Instead, I feel like they are exploiting their children's pain all for the sake of money.
I can appreciate that the expenses involved in caring for a family of eight children must be overwhelming (not to mention, planning for their future). But at this point, it doesn't seem like Jon and Kate have financial "needs" - they are certainly not experiencing the current economic crisis in the same way most families are. Worst case scenario, they could probably reduce their standard of living and still more than manage to make ends meet.
So I'm left this morning scratching my head...Jon and Kate said numerous times last night that they're doing this for their children. They want "peace" for their children. My question is, what kind of peace is brought by watching your parents divorce on a national stage?
3 hours ago