Octomom and Jon & Kate+8=People Who Love to See Parents Fail

Posted June 5, 2009 by

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Octomom just signed a book deal, a documentary deal and finalized plans for a line of diapers while seeking to trademark the word “Octomom”.

Sounds like she’s got it covered, right?

‘Cept Not!

I have no interest in Ms. Suleman, or Jon and Kate Plus 8, for that matter. I don’t even want to click on articles written about them lest the web record my click and count it as proof that the world really does want to know what their life is like.

Why is it any different than any other parent who is repeating the colic, the diapering, the crazy hours of cuddling in the wee hours, the spit up, the diapering, (again!?) and the endless laundry, dirty dishes and dreaded circles around our eyes? We are all walking, blabbering, mental health cases when our children are under the age of one.

I don’t want to read about the challenges of mothering x 8.  These reality show celebrities (if we can call them that) might even have it easier, getting all of the hard work of the first 5 years over without stretching it out over 18 or 20, and of course, being paid a lot to let us watch it all unfold on television. They’ve got endorsements and fame and fortune…right? (Heck, I might even be a little bit jealous.)

But I have to ask, what kind of person is going to watch the Nadya Suleman reality show about raising her children? We’ve got that in Jon and Kate+8, and look how well that worked out — the dating drama, body guard, dance club entertainment piece. They just moved into a large house that voyeurs must have paid for and we’ve never even really heard what Jon does for a living. Nadya Suleman’s got a new house and now she’s ready for the cameras to roll and see what a great mom she is.

But the sad truth is, I think that most people really don’t want to see her succeed. They want to see collapse, remorse, confessions, failure. They are hoping to see her try (and fail) to hold on to her sanity. And moms out there, we know how hard it is to do that even in the privacy of our own play rooms.

But shows have already been done in the last few years about families who had so many children but they knew just what to do.  Remember “17 and Counting”? They now have 18. The family hand-built a new home with the girls were all dressed in jean skirts and looking just like mom. Boys and girls, hammers in hand, went to work and installed a commercial kitchen, laundry and generally built a bed and breakfast just for their family. That same year, TV crews filmed a show about them shopping at the local grocery for enough food to feed a small army. When they got home the kids willingly helped unload the groceries, stacked the pantry shelves neatly and no one even pushed or shoved! Either some careful editing was done or there is something extraordinarily effective going on in that family. Competitive mothers everywhere were startled to even ponder how parents of 18 kids managed that feat.

But who is watching the “18 Going on Yawn”?  No one. And I’ll tell you why. Not enough drama. Mom and Dad are too nice and have it too together.

Isn’t it strange that good parenting IS NOT INTERESTING? To me, that’s the real shame here.

About

Annita Wozniak grew up in a large, imperfect family in the Midwest. "As adults we have the power to build children up or tear them down," she says about the challenges of being a responsible parent, "and we never know when what we say is going to be a defining moment in a child's life." Woz is a writer and child-grower living in the Midwest with her husband and their three inspirational children. She is always learning. You can visit her website at annitawoz.wordpress.com

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