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Wherein I Find Myself Defending Kate Gosselin

Cut a single, working mom some slack, wouldja?

I know it’s all the rage to hate Kate Gosselin. I’m not a huge fan but I dig that she tells it like it is, for the most part, albeit in a somewhat abrasive way.

I watched the show in the early days but once the divorce was front page on all the tabloids I tuned out.

I will say this, though. Eight kids is more than a handful.  I have two and most days I’m counting the seconds until bedtime and cocktail hour.  So I get it.  I get that Kate Gosselin probably spent every waking moment before TLC stepped into her life freaking out.  How am I going to pay for everything?  How am I going to make ends meet?  Will my the lives of my children be sub par because there are just so damn many of them?  How can I provide my children with the same experiences as other children who aren’t multiples?

I get it.

So when someone offered her a ton of money to allow her family’s life to be made into a reality show she probably felt as if she won the jackpot.  Quite honestly, who wouldn’t feel that way.  The family earned more money than they knew what to do with and mom and dad didn’t have to worry about getting jobs outside the home and try to afford childcare for eight children, not to mention the horror of one parent trying to take care of eight children while the other one worked.

So yes, thank goodness for TLC.  But it all went to Kate’s head. Or did it?

Looking back over the trajectory of Kate Gosselin’s rise and fall on reality TV I’m trying to pinpoint when she changed.  Oh, she was always bossy and pushy but I understood that was part of being the mom to eight children.  Kate’s a classic Type A personality who was trying her best to be a good mom and well, if that made her a little uptight and bitchy, that’s just how it goes when you’re juggling eight kids and a passive-aggressive husband day in and day out.

So did Kate change as a result of the reality show or as a result of all the pressures of raising that many toddlers at once?  The easy answer is fame changed her, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case.  After great ratings and a couple bestsellers she realized she could really make a go out of this TV thing and thus began to change so that she can best take advantage of potential offers.  Were I in her shoes, I daresay I’d do exactly the same thing.

Yesterday Kate told Matt Lauer how upset she is about Kate Plus 8 being canceled.  “I feel sad for my kids because of all the opportunities that they’re now questioning,” she said. “[The show] has been the start essentially of my career and my job and the way I’ve been providing for my kids for six years. And so, you now, it is a little scary.”

She’s scared to death.  What else can a mom of eight do for a living that doesn’t require her to be away from home not to mention a significant salary reduction to what she’s earned for Kate Plus 8?

Shawna Cohen over at Mommyish thinks Kate should just “get over herself”. She says Kate’s interview with Matt Lauer yesterday was one of Kate’s “worst moments”. Especially when she trashed her ex-husband for being happy his kids will no longer be on television. “Jon may be accepting of mediocre for his kids, and working a regular job… [but] I want the best for my kids and the best opportunities” Kate said.

I can’t believe I’m about to defend Kate Gosselin because she is totally abrasive and borderline mean, but then, I can only judge what I see on TLC and that could all be in the editing.  TV producers aren’t stupid.  They know what will get America talking.  Long ago, Kate was cast as the villain so the producers probably employ some creative editing and the truth probably lies somewhere in between.  Anyway, I don’t think she’s trying to be an elitist jerk about Jon working a “regular job”. That’s just how people talk. Celebrities are celebrities and regular people are just that; regular people. What she meant was Jon has a regular job that probably doesn’t do a very good job supporting eight children. She was appreciative of the lifestyle TLC provided for her and her children. She’s a mom that wants the best for her children, is basically what she meant.

So yeah, Kate is a little over the top now, but no more than any other D-list reality star in her place. And stop with the exploiting her kids thing already. What about the Duggars? And Kendra Wilkinson and Kourtney Kardashian and Tori Spelling etc? The Gosselin kids very obviously enjoy the camera crew and have benefited greatly from the show. Is it appropriate to put children on reality shows? I dunno. I guess we’ll find out in a decade or so when they’re all grown up. What I’m saying is Kate is certainly not the only one with children on a reality show.

So, while I think her show being canceled is exactly the dose of reality she needs, I hope she can somehow continue in the same vein in her efforts to provide for her children. She is, after all, a single mother of eight who is paying the bills and providing her children with fantastic opportunities and for that alone, she should be lauded.

During last night’s series finale Kate’s friend, Jamie, commented on how much Kate has changed and how she’s more interested in how she looks and what she’s wearing now than before. Of course she is! She’s a bestselling author, a reality television star who hopes to further her career in television. She’s no different than a Kardashian or a Kendra Wilkinson or a Tori Spelling so. So even though I’m not a huge Kate Gosselin fan, I think she deserves a break. It’s not like Jon Gosselin is going to step up and pay the bills. She’s a single mom who has learned how to bring in big bucks and is taking care of her kids, cut her some slack, America.

It will be interesting to see what she does next. However you feel about Kate, she’s raised eight adorable, intelligent, sweet kids who’ve seen and done more than most children. So, as she said last night on the finale “You’ll see my kids grow up and they’ll do great things…This is not goodbye, this is we’ll see you around.”

Be honest.  If a network offered you big bucks to film your kids as they played and traveled the world, wouldn’t you do it?  If a publisher offered millions for a book deal, wouldn’t you do it?  And wouldn’t you try to look your best while doing so?

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Image:  TLC

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