Lessons Learned from Jon and Kate Plus 8

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Categories Family, Famous Twins, Higher-Order Multiples, Multiples in the News

In addition to the “How do you do it?” and “You must have your hands full!” I am now daily getting asked “Do you watch that show with the people with the twins and sextuplets?”

My answer, “Absolutely!”

I, along with a lot of other people, am totally charmed by the TLC/Discovery Health program “Jon and Kate Plus 8.”  In our area (Pittsburgh), Jon and Kate airs on Monday evenings. And you better believe that I will be plunked down on my couch with a bowl of popcorn and about 5 loads of laundry to fold, every Monday night. 

In case you haven’t watched this fascinating reality show, Jon and Kate Gosselin met and married and conceived their twin girls, Mady and Cara, via IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and ovulation induction medication  (ie Clomid).  And as the story is told, they decided to try for “just one more,” and ended up with 6! Kate was originally pregnant with 7, but one sac failed to mature.

Last year, the tag line was “We have two 6 year olds, and six 2 year olds.” The older girls, are fraternal twins Cara and Mady. The sextuplets are split, three girls, three boys. They are Hannah, Leah, Alexis, Joel, Collin and Aaden. The kids are now seven and three.

The Gosselins live in central Pennsylvania, and Kate quit her job as a nurse to stays at home with her houseful of children. Recent episodes have been about their travels as a family (Disney, Utah, the Pittsburgh Zoo) and a day dedicated to each of the kids individually. The episodes dedicated to the kids, were calm and enjoyable to watch. The trip episodes were loud, chaotic and constantly interspersed with a child crying or Jon and Kate snapping at each other. With 8 kids, I can only imagine the stress level they must be under at all times.  Another quote from the show: “While the stress of raising multiples doesn’t always bring out the best in us, we’re a family, and this is our life.”

Can I get an Amen?! For sure, the stress of raising multiples does not always bring out the best in me! And although I am not an angry person, I can only imagine how I would be portrayed if cameras were in my home day in and day out!

My fascination with this family runs deep…I don’t think I have missed an episode yet! For $13.95, you can purchase a copy of their book, Multiple Blessings:Surviving to Thriving With Twins and Sextuplets.

And now I leave you with “Tips For a Smooth Household” by Kate Gosselin, the multiples expert herself, taken from the Discovery Health Channel website.

Tip #1 Organize
As a mother of sextuplets and twins, one of the best methods for keeping a family organized is lists! No one has the memory of an elephant! Keep a constant running list of “To Dos” and then cross things off as they are completed! My to-do lists consists of meals for the week, which loads of laundry need to be done, and which parts of the house needs attention. Lists will keep you and your family organized.

Tip #2 Shop on a Budget
Shopping for a family of 10 means planning ahead and staying on a budget. The good news is that you can have healthy, home cooked delicious (even organic!) meals for a large family. Look for sales! Watch the sale papers and take advantage of store promotions, coupons and rainchecks. Keep a constant running list of things that are on sale and that you need at the store from week to week. This will avoid buying things that you don’t need. It’s also good to stock up on items that you use a lot of and that are on sale!

Tip #3 Prepare for Outings
Plan ahead! If outings are well thought out in advance, it will allow for a better time for all! Always take plenty of drinks, snacks, clothing and supplies. Make a mental plan of how the day will unfold and then adjust it as necessary!

Tip #4 Count Your Blessings
On days that your role as mom seems mundane and pointless and repetitive(we all have those), remember to count your blessings! Take a moment, see all that is positive in your life and the life of your children and it will give you that boost that you need!

Tip #5 Promote Safety
Talk about different scenarios and what is safe and acceptable and what is not safe and what they should not do in different situations! Remind them to come to YOU as a parent if they hear something that they don’t understand, think that is bad or don’t know what it means. You want to position yourself as their resource person to keep conversation lines open. This needs to start at a very young age.

Tip #6 Provide Order
A schedule will help everyone in the family. It removes the guesswork and a lot of frustration. It allows the things that need to get done to get done because life becomes somewhat predictable.

Tip #7 Reward Your Children
Reward them for their helpfulness and kindness—if only with your words, this will mean a lot to them. They want your approval!

Tip #8 Make Housework a Family Affair
Especially in a large family, involving all of the kids in the housework, chores, cooking, cleaning etc. This helps to provide family unity, and a sense of belonging. It also teaches kids to develop a strong work ethic. And encourage Dad to get involved—in our situation, much of what a successful mom is able to accomplish, is due to a very present and helpful dad!

Additional information on “Jon and Kate Plus 8” can be found at:


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7 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Jon and Kate Plus 8”

  1. Those are fantastic tips!

    Jon & Kate were supposed to speak at a local church next month, and the event was just canceled. A bunch of us from my twin club were going to go, and we are so bummed!!

  2. Amen!

    All I know is that I would NOT want a camera around at 3am when we are playing toddler musical chairs. Certainly not the ‘best’ moments of our relationship! But in the morning, it’s always a bit comical to re-live the names that we called eachother. :) Since day 2 in the hospital, Brook and I have a standing rule: Whatever we say to eachother after midnight doesn’t count.

  3. Hehe. This is my new guilty pleasure. My husband says he doesn’t like it…and then sits and watches the entire episode with me.

  4. This show is definitely THERAPY for me! Honestly, I think Kate and I were seperated at birth… I find myself finishing her sentences or thinking what she is saying all the time! I am a nurse too and now only work part-time to stay at home with my kids. My husband is an IT computer guy too! The only difference is that my husband refuses to consider the thought of “just one more” baby, and so there is no way we will end up with 6 more~ haha. My husband, too, SAYS he cant stand watching the show (cause it gives him chest pain from the anxiety of the memories/flashbacks from our own baby-days with twins), but he does watch it with me when we get a rare moment to watch it. To me, its such an inspiration to know that if Kate can do it with 8 kids, I can do it with the 2 I have. I think its so funny to see and hear someone dealing with the same frustrations that I have and know that we arent doing too bad of a job after all. Its honestly one of those things that my friends that are mothers of singletons just dont get/understand and never will.

  5. After the fall out over the past few months with this family, I wonder if Jon & Kate ever re-thought what it really takes to run a smooth household.

    #1: Communicate. If Mom and Dad aren’t connected, the entire family structure crumbles and well … the rest of your list is worth nothing.

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