Monday, June 22, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8

I've never been a huge follower of Jon & Kate plus 8. I would watch the re-runs in the afternoons when I had a few moments, but I had no idea what night their show was on or that much interest in their family.

But my follower status changed from "occasional" to a "regular" when I read Kate's book: Multiple Blessings. My sister-in-law Katie (who is very into reusing items) passed the book off to me at Christmas, and I was incredibly inspired by it. Here I was, all nervous and in a tizzy about having two boys really close in age. And here was the Gosselin family raising six babies (and twin toddlers) at once! After reading that book, I felt rejuvenated and so ready for Elijah to get here. If they can raise eight kids, I could surely handle two and a dog. Geesh!

In addition, the book was full of Kate discussing their faith in the Lord and how he had helped them through the difficult times surrounding the birth and raising of their sextuplets.

I could have read the book three times. I really could have. It just really motivated me and reminded me of how capable I was of raising these little boys.

I had heard people say that they couldn't watch the show because of the way Kate talked to Jon. I had to defend her. I have a philosophy on relationships. My philosophy is: If it is working, leave it be.

My relationship with JB is a great example of this. If you have spent much time with John and me in person, you've probably noticed that we are a tiny bit sarcastic with each other. We banter back and forth and like to make jokes. Sometimes we take it too far.

This results in "PT" (pillow-talk) time. You all know what that is. It's that moment that you are lying in bed at the end of a night with friends and one person rolls over and says, "Why did you say that?" to the other person who had no idea that there was any problem whatsoever. The other person thought they had had a great night only to discover that it is now "PT" time.

PT time could get a post all to itself so I'll leave it at that.

JB and I had many nights like that early in our relationship. People also gave us a hard time about the way we communicated. So we would attempt to not banter or be sarcastic in front of other people. We'd be in the car on the way to someone's house and promise each other to be well-behaved. "No picking on me tonight." I'd say. "Don't be sarcastic for a few hours, okay?" JB would say back.

The result? Complete crabbiness! Honestly, take away our ability to be sarcastic and banter and we ended up being completely and utterly lost in our communication. It only took about two years of trying that before we both decided that as long as we didn't push it too far, our style of communication was okay because it worked for us.

So back to Jon & Kate. I used to defend them with that same line. Obviously that line isn't true anymore because it doesn't appear it has worked for them. It appears they are on the brink of divorce. Tonight on their show (which I'll watch after Isaac goes to bed) they are making an announcement about the future of their family.

I know this is reality TV. But after reading her book and watching re-runs of the show, I feel pretty attached to this couple. Mainly because they were my chief motivation and encouragement as I prepared to welcome baby #2 into our family. I would say, "Hey if they can raise six babies at once and have a great marriage, so can I." And then their marriage falls apart. And thus my motivation falls apart.

Anyways, I've been meaning to write this post since I watched the season premiere of this show many weeks ago. I literally felt sick to my stomach during the entire show and vowed not to watch ever again. JB actually watched it with me that night (while reading some journal articles). He felt the same way. It was so amazingly painful to watch this family torn apart and their eight children about to lose their parents as they know them.

Repeatedly during that episode, both Jon & Kate reiterated that their children were their biggest priority. I had two major issues with this statement. The first issue is that I don't think it should be that way. I think your marriage has to be the biggest priority. It has to come first. If it doesn't, you can't give your kids everything you need to give them. My second major issue with this statement is that I don't think it is true. If their kids were their first priority they would turn off the cameras, retreat into their home, and give their marriage everything they've got.

I think it bothers me even more because Kate's book was a glowing testament of her faith in our Lord. She talked repeatedly about the fact that they were strong Christians. I know Christians get divorced. But it is just painful to watch everything she talked about come crumbling down.

All right. I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you all. I just had to get this off my chest. I really am hoping that their "announcement" tonight will inform the whole world that they are turning off the cameras to work on their marriage.

But, unfortunately, I doubt that will be the case.


Lein' said...

I totally agree!

Gabbs said...

I know exactly how you feel...I just have this hurt feeling in the pit of my stomach for those kids. I can't even imagine how broken those little hearts will be if Jon and Kate do indeed divorce.

I'm praying the announcement is just as you hoped, too.

Rene said...

Wow, I could have written this post. I also fell in love with Jon & Kate and the kids after reading the book and learning she struggled with infertility just like me. Somehow it gave me hope that we would come out of it on the other side, rejoicing with multiple blessings of our own.

Instead, I feel so disillusioned. It has been painful to watch the family be pulled apart by worldly desires- and what used to be a show highlighting strong Christian and family values now feels like a plug for various TLC shows and free vacations.

I'm praying for a happy ending. But I'm afraid they are going to chose to let go of their marriage. I hurt so bad for the kids. Glad to know someone else feels this way too!

Joy Z said...

I hope so too! May they turn to the Lord during this difficult time.

Just Believing said...

I so agree! I read that book and had a whole newl ight on Kate...originally I didn't like her...I understood they had a unique type of marriage ( who has sextuplets after all not many) but I still felt like she in no way treated Jon with much respect ( worst episode her yelling at him across toyrus like he was a little boy getting in trouble) she didn't allow her marriage to be the way God designed as the husband being tehhead of the house hold she was the not only the head but the whole dang house!

I still respect her in many ways...she's raising 8 kids, who always are clean, well fed and taken care of ( I hope) and while fame has changed her there was a time they weren't famous....

Interesting to see what tonight brings....

denise said...

I totally agree, I read the book and saw ALL the episodes. However, noticed in their new house the lack of her inspirational scriptures hanging all over the house. It has been down hill for a while, and honestly self promotional in order to get so many free items. That episode this season TOTALLY got to me about it all being for the kids. NO - it's about your MARRIAGE! What better than to model that in front of your kids, not the money. I am also DVRing the episode and have not seen it yet. I would HOPE they are saying they are going off the air to work on their family. However, based on how it has been going I am sure they are just going to follow their separation. So sad. they should go off the air and work on their family. I just hope their church has not disowned them, but offered an extended hand for counseling. I will stop now, I have way too many thoughts on this subject! :)

Momma, PhD said...

I agree as well.

I remember sitting in church when I was about 8 years old- I don't remember which Gospel was read that day, but I remember the homily. It was for parents- the priest said, "You have to remember that your kids are just passing through. You were married before they came, and you will be after they leave. You have to keep your relationship healthy. You don't want to find yourselves as empty nesters with no relationship and nothing in common."

From that day on, when my parents needed to remind my sister and I about where we stood in relation to their marriage, they would say, "You're just passing through!"

I think their solid relationship gave me and my sister the foundation to be successful in our lives. I think there is little more important a parent can do for a child than maintain a healthy marriage and a stable family life.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Courtney, I love that. So true.

And Denise I agree with you -- this is when the church needs to circle around them and not "shoot their wounded."

yuan family said...

I haven't been paying much attention to the show recently but I used to watch it a lot because people told us that is what our kids would look like. I kind of heard bits and pieces of what was going on with their marriage but didn't want to believe it for their kids sake... But, I do kind of want to know what the announcement is, so if you watch, please let me know!

When you brought up "PT" it reminded me of one of the first times we met you guys and you said to Brandon and I that because of something he said, that would be "PT" tonight!

Anonymous said...

I too am a fan of Jon & Kate and had tears in my eyes at the end of the show when it said on June 22 they started divorce precedings. I was stunned because the two of them are not willing to work together to make their marriage work. Maybe they both did wrong actions but they have 8 kids who love them and are going to be so hurt by this divorce. I say if this marriage was important to them then they should have gotten help to keep this union together. They both were so cold and the show must go on.


Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Unfortunately they have started divorce proceedings ... very sad.

Anonymous said...

well said. i agree that they should stop filming the show. i felt like kate was pointing fingers at jon the entire show and making him out to be the "bad guy." it's too bad it came to this. so sad.

Erica said...

Ugh. Agreed. I feel so sad today about the annoucement, and needless to say, I will no longer watch them because it certainly isn't going to help things if ratings go UP because of a divorce! Poor kids....

Anonymous said...

Personally, I feel like Jon is playing the victim here. Maybe if he had stepped up to the plate, Kate wouldn't have been so controlling. Granted, I think she was not respectful and could be cutting but that does not excuse Jon. He made some incredibly bad choices and then turns it on Kate. He knew what she was like before they married, I would guess. Last night he said "I'm only 32 and I'm sort of excited about this next chapter in my life!' YIKES! I totally agree w/ Wendi and others tho-they have not guarded their relationship. You have to work at time together w/ one or two children,imagine w/ 8!
It's so sad but I'm not giving up. God is a restorer! I've seen marriages that looked hopeless, turn around with God's help.

Blessed Blackman Bunch said...

I used to FAITHFULY watch Jon & Kate when we had cable. I cracked up at the way they talked with one anoter b/c it reminded me of Ryan and myself. I have been very sad as I have watched clips online. May they turn to God and may others uplift them and help in any way possible!

rachel said...

"PT"!! I remember this from your MN days! :-) I miss you guys!

Jess said...

It was so sad last night. I hate that they are getting divorced, and I hate that the show is CONTINUING during the divorce!! WOW.

I felt like Jon was a little too eager sounding...maybe he just IS, but do the kids some day need to hear that?? Kate broke my heart, too, with her clearly stating that separation was NOT what she wanted.

FWIT, Travis and I are very much like you are saying you and JB are...sarcastic, hard on each other, etc. But we like to call it honesty, and really....I think because of that, we don't fight real fights much! :)

Stacy said...

Were there any other books you read that encouraged you or inspired you as a mom of young kiddos? I still might read Kate's book but I'm not real excited about it for the reasons you point out.

If you read any other parenting books pre or post pregnancy (yeah, right!), I'd love to know which ones you'd recommend.