Jon & Kate Plus 8: All in the Family
Just Two Ordinary Parents
Jon says it is becoming harder to live a normal life and that privacy is the thing they both miss most. "The fact that we are recognized, screamed at, mobbed, and so often approached when we're together does make life difficult," Kate agrees. Even at home "Kate and I have maybe 10 minutes together while we're cleaning up the kitchen, but other wise it's the kids and the show and meetings and, well, see you next Christmas, Kate," says Jon. True to his TV persona, Jon is Mr. Mom, the more domestic of the two. "It's a tough thing, breaking this stereotype that you're worthless if you're a stay-at-home parent," he says. "People still define one another by their careers." It's obvious Jon is the go-to guy when the kids are hurt or just need a hug. But on the show he also appears a little lost, while Kate has become more driven than ever. "Kate's a type A personality, and I'm a pleaser and a giver," he says.
Does he ever find the experience humiliating? "Nobody wants to discipline their kids in public," he says, "but eventually you get used to the idea." Or as Kate puts it: "We don't pay attention to the negative comments." Besides, living out loud has opened new doors for them. In addition to the fortune they've made, Kate has found success as an author. Last year fans lined up by the thousands and waited up to five hours for a signed copy of her best seller, Multiple Blessings. "They were in tears while I signed their books," she says. "I don't get it. I'm just a mom who's doing her best -- not unlike moms every where. I just happen to have a few more kids than the average."
That's an understatement. Her advice to Nadya Suleman, the California mother who gave birth to octuplets last February? "Just take one day at a time, accept a lot of help, and try to use the little moments that arise to connect with each kid," she says. At the end of the day Kate still relishes the simpler things in life. Happiness to her boils down to: "Having the kids down for a nap, a quiet house, dinner cooking on the stove, and a chance to sit and read a book." Spoken like your average American mom.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, May 2009.