Kate Gosselin’s ambition doesn’t make her a bad mom

Kate Gosselin graces the cover of People Magazine and US Weekly again this week. She wants fame, she wants power, she wants money– she’s a bad mom!

John Gosselin, the father of Kate’s eight kids is a deadbeat father, still out of a job, and giving no indication that he’s the least bit interested in finding a career to support his family. But John’s not choosing to exploit his fame to get a gig on a hit show, he’s only using it to attract young co-eds and crash out in their houses.

Kate  GosselinKate Gosselin 

I’m not saying Kate Gosselin is a model mom. From what I’ve read, she often seems selfish, angry, and narcisstic. I don’t understand why she had eight kids in the first place. But here they are, and she’s got to support them, otherwise your tax dollars will be. I suppose there are other jobs she could find, besides her stint on “Dancing with the Stars” and the continued money she’ll get from keeping herself in the spotlight. Kate was formerly a nurse, but her problem now is that you can’t support eight kids on a nurse’s salary. You can’t support eight kids without working your ass off, which is just what she’s choosing to do.

Past media coverage of contestants on “Dancing with the Stars” usually involves waxing effusively on their hard work, along with kudos for how their dedication transformed their bodies. For no other cast member, have I seen attacks about what monsterous parents they were for leaving their kids, or even much coverage about whether or not those contestants were parents at all. But in Kate’s case, Us Weekly reporters have become the mommy police, staking out Kate’s house and clocking the exact minutes she spends with her children. (I hope none of these reporters are moms, neglecting their kids while keeping vigil on Kate.) Certainly, people wouldn’t be directing this level of ire at John Gosselin if he were spending hours a day at rehearsals for the demanding show.

Kate Gosselin happens to be the breadwinner for her family; being a breadwinner is an essential part of being a good and present parent.

Yet, in the year 2010, our definitions of being a good mother and being a good father remain diametrically opposed. Today, when a father goes in for a job interview, his potential boss will usually think: “This guy has a family to support, he’ll be a good worker.” A mother interviewing for the same job is considered by different standards: she could be an unreliable worker, running off for school meetings or staying home if a kid is sick. Being a good mom is being a nurturer; being a good dad is being a breadwinner. But in reality, outside of the spotlight, plenty of moms work long hours to support their kids including lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. Sometimes I think we should take a break from these mom/ dad labels and just use “parent” to get across how differently we perceive these strikingly similar roles of raising and supporting our kids.

Kate Gosselin has eight kids so we think she ought to be “maternal” kind of like how Martha Stewart excelled at homemaking so she should be warm and fuzzy– it makes people dislike and distrust these women for their contradictions within the constrained cultural definitions of femininity. Clearly, Kate Gosselin is not a natural nurturer, but hopefully, she can still find some way to be a somewhat decent mom to her kids.