I’m breaking my self-imposed silence on Jon & Kate Gosselin because they filed for divorce on my 18th wedding anniversary. In doing so they became the exact opposite of me.
During the brief time that I watched the show last summer it struck me at just how much Kate is like me if I were turned inside out and upside down. We both grew up in a conservative Christian background. But where she decided to sacrifice family for wealth, I decided to sacrifice wealth for family. Where she decided to fight her infertility I decided to embrace God’s path for me.
I started watching the show during an extended visit with my parents–Kate Gosselin doesn’t speak to hers anymore–and it was the source of a lot of philosophical discussions between me and my mom and sister. They both seemed to believe that if the show provided the kids with ‘advantages’ they wouldn’t otherwise have it was okay.
I said then, say now and have said always in between that marriage and family is a private thing. There is no worse sacrifice, no more personally-destructive act than to turn your marriage and family into a public spectacle. I stopped reading Dooce and many other ‘mommy bloggers’ for the same reason.
If you turn your family home into a film studio, your husband and children into cast members and your family friends into day players you brutally murder the best gift God has given us apart from salvation. The world is hard and navigating live in the world is nearly impossible. Your home and family are the safe haven from that. Home is the place you go where they have to take you in. Someone famous said that, and while it’s funny it’s very true. Home is the place where you go to unwind from the pressure of the world. It is a vainglorious hope to believe that turning your private home into public spectacle will make life easier to navigate.
My marriage–childfree as it is–is still the best place for my best friend of 20 years and me to relax, regroup and recuperate. I am unconvinced that the constant presence of cameras and film crews would allow the same nurturing environment.