Thursday, February 5, 2009

Now on to the Duggars

I can't jive with the Duggar family, either. My reasons are very shallow.

I don't watch the show because I find myself screaming (inside) "Stop having kids already!! Jim Bob, for the love of God, please leave that poor woman alone!"

First of all, can one mother care for all of those children? The older children have had adult responsibilities put upon them because of the parents' choices. Doing chores and helping around the house is a good thing for kids. But should it be on the kids to do all the laundry, all the cooking, all the cleaning. I get the impression that the kids handle the chores so mom can be fresh for her dates with dad. And they are serious about their date nights!

And who, pray tell, gets up in the middle of the night to feed the always-present infant? I suspect the older kids are on night-bottle-duty because Michelle and Jim Bob have to sleep sometime.

OK, home schooling. I was a teacher can one person home school all of those kids? Its a full time job to teach one subject or one grade level, much less fifteen kids of different ages while caring for toddlers and infants. I can't understand how even a mediocre effort is possible. And yet, the kids seem well-spoken and admirably polite.

My neighbor pointed out to me that Michelle is now in her forties and the odds are much greater that she might have a child with Downs Syndrome. Being educated people who have already been blessed with many healthy children, I wonder if that risk puts any weight on their heart.

I know that there was a time when agrarian society made large families more practical. But that time is long over and I don't get it in this day and age. Religious explanations don't add up for me either, because in my interpretation, God wants us to have quality over quantity in our family structure.

In fairness to the Duggars, they do seem to be a nice family. I like their soft-spoken humility. Obviously to them, more is more.

I see a family that big and I think, having SO many takes away from your ability to do for the ones you already have and clearly love. Health care, higher education, the occasional dinner out...geez! Makes my head spin.

Example: I did a quick estimate in my head and came up with $2000/day...that's how much it would cost to take a family of twenty to Disneyland. Per Day! Can you imagine? OK, so maybe they don't place the same value on taking their kids to Disneyland as I do. Or maybe they do want frivolous things and that's why they do the show. Or maybe they do the show just to put food on the table, and in that case, what about families like the Duggars who don't have a show?

In fair disclosure, I come from a big family. There are seven of us kids. I have no ill-will about being from a big family. I liked that our house was never quiet and there was always something going on. Our family vacations were modest and still wonderfully memorable (usually road trips in our VW pop up van -- sweet.) But I always knew that I would never want more than 2, maybe 3 kids.

I guess my background makes me especially critical of the Gosselins; I am a product of public schools but not public assistance. And they're so shameless about soliciting the handouts. Oh, they could do it on their own, with sacrifices that they are not interested in. And if we're comparing apples to apples, both families make a living in the same way.

So back to the Duggars and a show that seems to glorify having all the kids God and a body will allow. But, what about the hardships? Can they do even one "real" episode where preteen daughter throws a hissy fit because she can't have the latest jeans that everyone else her age wears. Or fifteen year son old tells mom and dad he's going on a date so they'll have to watch their own kids tonight. Even the Bradys got out of line every once in a while. How about the episode where mom reveals she has to use adult diapers after all those babies. Again, I say, there's no reality in these so-called reality shows!

One last note, a blog called Tom and Trix Plus Six does a great parody of both shows complete with avatars. And I thought I was too involved...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Gosselin Prediction

The prediction? They're on their way out. We loved them back in the day, but now they're just another showbiz family. So unless the 'tups kids can sing and dance...

I was forewarned that this subject has already been much-blogged about. But I have to say something about Jon & Kate Pl
us 8 and how reality TV has taken the reality right out of their lives.

I watched on occasion; never faithfully. Once upon a time, MMA and I liked to giggle and watch as Type A mom manages her eight, make that, nine children. We were amused by the chaos and constant motion of their household. And, admittedly, watch
ing the show made us feel better about our day-to-day parenting and marital struggles.

Now I'm kind of over it.

One day I turned on the show and
realized that their day-to-day lives have become a blur of all expense paid trips, speaking engagements and celebrity perks, one after another. Kate makes no bones about it. Her family brings attention where ever they go, and that attention is a marketable asset.

"So, you want to put braces on my twins? That will cost you $14K apiece and we'll need your office as a green room during filming... You want us to stay at your hotel in Hawaii? You will have to fly out our family, extended family, and entourage of hired help and discuss the incidentals with our attorney... Sure, we can do a segment where we "shop" in your store for the show...and you will provide us with a year of groceries in exchange...and we eat only organic, by the way."

Now, on the one hand, who can blame them? They've got eight little bodies to Gymboree and people were going to peek in their windows anyway, (or so Kate has said on the show.) And now both Jon and Kate get to be stay at home parents with one additional responsibility: managing the family endorsements. They are not unlike the Jackson Five; they are the Gosselin Ten.

But on the other hand, its not as interesting to watch Kate march around a mansion with fancy highlights and a nanny two steps behind while she barks out orders and belittles her husband who now has no where else to be. Their life was never normal, but you have to admit the oh-my-God-how-will-they-do-it? factor made them more interesting. And with all the responsibilities of starring in a popular reality show, how much time is really devoted to the kids and how much goes into the family business?

Kate is a first-class stage mom, who reserves the spotlight for herself. We know how meticulous she is...whole shows have been dedicated to her obsessive behaviour. But that was comic relief, because no one is really that organized, right? Particularly not a mom with eight small kids, but she managed to have tight systems in place and bake homemade birthday cakes and sneak in numerous trips away with her husband before the big-money days. Now that Kate has willed and clawed her brood into reality show stardom, just think of the pimped out closets this has afforded her! Now she can match the kids every day of the week in...whatever celebrity moms dress their kids in these days.

It's become sort of a bizarre, Nick at Nite meets Dynasty with lots of unnecessary drama and at least six well-behaved kids; Mady, or Kate, being the Alexis-tyrant on any given episode.

But now that we know how they manage, (the family, in particular, the children, have been leveraged to afford the lifestyle they desired) I don't find them as endearing anymore. The kids are precious, don't get me wrong. I sincerely hope that their fifteen minutes doesn't haunt them later on down the road.

Jon & Kate's new house (check it out) is nothing short of a compound, very secluded, on acreage and is reportedly worth 1.3 million dollars. They've come a long way from the welfare days. (Those sextuplets have been worth their weight in gold, if its not to brassy of me to point out.)

It was a good ride. I enjoyed watching over the years, and look what a franchise they've become...

And now some delusional broad has just had eight babies by in vitro! You can take the girl with big dreams of turning her womb into a moneymaker out of the Jack in the Box... (And ya, if you have 14 babies without a man in the picture that pretty much makes you a "broad." Sorry Ms. Schmidt*)