Jon becomes a Dad by Annita Woz

dadsandalfeet at ITI have just been inspired by Jon Gosselin. 

Jon Gosselin is of course the other half of Kate Plus 8, the popular reality show that has lately seen ratings plummet as the real life antics of Jon’s infidelities cause his marriage to disintegrate and the premier of the fall show to feature reactions of eight children to a divorce announcement. 

Admittedly, Jon doesn’t have a good track record starting with the obvious worry that he chose to make money featuring the sweet faces of his eight children and their sometimes not-so-sweet behaviors on a weekly show.

Some would call that exploitation.  But for the past few years, viewers have been willing to be a part of that user relationship. Everyone has been watching these ordinary parents do one extraordinary thing- surviving parenting while sleep deprived, short on lap space, tight on square footage and doing it all while on camera.

Then, the reality got too real.

Viewers saw Jon partying,  the shots of him going clubbing, the dating before divorcing and then the media talk show circuit where he publicly complains and airs the marriage’s dirty laundry. 

Right now, Jon and Kate are essentially single parents.

Single parenting- a place we don’t often look for inspiration-  is a place where Herculean feats are accomplished without much fanfare, certainly without a tv crew or free trips to Hawaii and likely without the benefit of strangers sending gifts to our children when we are tight on money during the holidays.     

But beyond single parenting, Jon is experiencing a loud wake up call about responsible parenting and is suggesting the eight kids should not be on the show as it may be detrimental to their well-being.

Here is a guy who is at rock bottom. He loses his marriage, his job, his income.  He is an out-of work dad in the middle of a divorce and he has eight kids to feed and love.  Losing what little privacy he has not already sold, he’s on the bottom of the rotten-daddy and rotten-husband heap and yet, in a shining moment, like a missing diamond ring trapped in the dust at the bottom of  the vacuum cleaner bag, we see a glimmer of responsible parenting from Jon. 

Jon is not just playing a dad on tv, he is being a dad on tv.

He’s gotten serious.  He is being father-like, mature even, when he wakes up long enough from his fake family life on screen and responsibly suggests that no amount of moneyis enough payment to justify having their little lives, their tantrums, their pain, featured on television as they struggle through the mess their parents have made.

Average mom here, I recognize that I have kids who throw fits, kids who are disrespectful, kids who know how to push my buttons to the point of parental madness.  After making so many parenting mistakes, after being at the end of my rope, losing my temper umpteen times, and clearly misplacing the Child 101 Instruction Manaul- sometimes I don’t know why I was given the honor of raising a child-  Jon makes me realize that it is never too late to be a responsible parent and try again to get it right.  

### for EP by Annit Woz, October 8, 2009.

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