Did you watch Jon and Kate Plus 8? Did you know that it was the #1 rated show for its time slot? More people watched TLC than CBS! I'm not sure what it says about us as a nation that we are all wanting to tune in to witness the seemingly inevitable demise of this marriage. It's really sad to see it happening and it sad to see that we as a society are so eager to watch something so sad. I'm not sure that I will continue to watch the show, but I did watch Monday night's premier.
I recorded it when it aired, then watched it early Tuesday morning when Tyler woke up to nurse. Maybe it was the early hour, maybe it was the lack of sleep, but something that Jon said really resonated with me. It seems pretty clear that he resents Kate for being the one in demand. It's her book deal, her speaking engagements, her traveling all the time. He's left home with the kids to manage things on the home front, with help I am sure, but he's the one there. Someone off camera asked him if he thought things would be different if he were the one traveling everywhere and doing all this. He made some pretty self-deprecating comments about how he can't write, so it would never happen and how some people don't even think that he can talk right or breath right. I'm assuming this is Kate based on comments she's made in the past in the interview room on the show.
He then goes on to say this:
I worked my whole life... I mean, I love being home with my kids, don't get me wrong. I mean, I guess you always think the grass is greener. But it's not what I choose. It was kind of chosen for me... and I did it because I love my kids and I love my family and that's what it is.Here was a guy who, several seasons ago, had a pretty clear cut role- Kate was home with the kids and he left and had an IT job somewhere. Now, he's the one left home with the kids while Kate has a pretty high profile gig doing book signings and public appearances. He's probably at a point where he can't get a job because of the publicity of the show. She's the one likely controlling the money and their careers. It was clear at the end of last season that he wasn't really on board for continuing the show and she just kind of dismissed him and his feelings, saying of course they would be doing the show. His role as provider and what he percieved as his carreer are pretty much a thing of the past- he's become Suddenly Stay @ Home too!
I can really identify with what Jon said. Yes, I love my son and yes, I love my family, but my job fulfilled me in a different way than either of those things can. In some ways, I think that statement is absolutely ridiculous- it's not like I was saving starving children in Africa and working towards world peace, but part of my identity was tied up in that job- having any job. I was part of working society- I contributed, paid taxes, had a 401(k). And I contributed something tangible to our family- a paycheck every two weeks, medical benefits. My contributions now seem so much smaller, so much less significant. I "work" really hard to get free dog treats at the grocery store and save $1 off my husband's preferred brand of deodorant. Sometimes the highlight of my day is actually getting to finish an entire load of laundry. It all just feels really small.
Just like Jon said, I didn't choose this- it was chosen for me. I didn't choose to leave my job- I didn't have time to come to grips with the change- it literally happened overnight. My job broke up with me, I didn't break up with it. There is a sense of rejection that comes with that even though my job loss was because the corporate parent shut down an entire division of a company. It had absolultely nothing to do with my performance as an employee and there is absolutely nothing that I could have done to make the outcome any different. I know this, but at the same time, I'm still a little bitter. They took something that I perceived as mine- my job, my career- I'm not the one who gave it up.
I wish that I had some answers. I don't- I'm just trying to make due the best I can, taking it a day at a time and trying to make things work. I know on some level that what I'm doing is a blessing to my family and a blessing, especially, to my son. I just hope that it starts sinking in to all the levels and at some point I find my own kind of achievement at home.