SmackDown: Jon or Kate for Parent of the Year?
Reality Check: Kate Gosselin is a Good Mom
by Susan Avery
Kate Gosselin is not crazy for keeping her marriage band on her left ring finger. She is not an emotional basket case for tearing up publicly a few times lately. And she's certainly not a lunatic to check on who's baby-sitting her young children.
Kate is a mother going through a divorce.
With that misery – be it public or private – comes waves of feelings that need time to process. You don't have to be a trained therapist to understand the upheaval involved in a breakup, especially one that involves children. The initial shock of it all feels like you're swimming underwater. You can see, but things seem fuzzy. You can think, but your certainty can't be trusted. You can stand, but you're always wobbly. And you definitely can't breathe.
What you have are your instincts.
That's what Kate went on last month when she came by the house during Jon's time with the kids. The two – of TLC's Jon & Kate Plus Eight – have a custodial agreement worked out, called a bird's nest in matrimonial-court parlance, where the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns living there.
Back in August, Kate found out that someone she didn't know was baby-sitting her children and she went to the home to eyeball the woman. According to reports, Jon wouldn't let her in the house and the police were called. None of this happened in front of the kids and no arrests were made.
Last week on ABC's "The View," Kate was a guest host and she was called on the carpet by Whoopi Goldberg to defend what she did. Her response was honest, responsible and classy. She said she was uncomfortable not knowing who was minding the kids. She also said she was wrong to do it. Never once did she bash Jon.
Granted, in a legal sense, Kate was wrong. But in a maternal sense, she was as right as rain. If a parent has the feeling that something is not kosher, it's that parent's obligation to check it out. No one, including Jon, has accused Kate of going to the house and acting like a raving madwoman. She didn't pull a wacky move like banging down the door with an ax, or bringing camera crews with her, or make a production of it by involving the police. She went there to find out who's in control of her kids.
Control is the keyword here. As the stay-at-home parent who was always in control of her kids, Kate is now going through a very normal withdrawal phase. Her precious brood is now under someone else's care part of the time. We don't know how she found out that a stranger was watching her kids and what lead up to her knocking on the door. I'm going to venture a guess: I'm thinking that she called Jon and he wasn't particularly forthcoming with the information. Or, he offered up the name of the baby sitter and it raised her antennae. Any good mother would be concerned.
Since the court papers are sealed, no one is privy to the custody agreement. But I can almost guarantee this much: There's a provision in there that says something about joint decision-making over the kids lives. If Kate was not part of the decision on choosing that baby sitter, she had every right to check it out. Period.
When news of their divorce hit back in June, Jon said, "This will be a difficult transition for all of us ... We are no different than other couples and parents who are facing a crossroads in their marriage."
Exactly my point. This goes on every day with parents in passage out of their marriages. Let's stop beating up on Kate. She may be a reality-TV mom, but she's also a human being.