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Inside 'Jon and Kate Plus 8'

Life in a Fishbowl
Keeping organized with eight kids can be a challenge, but Kate has some tricks to make things run smoothly.
Keeping organized with eight kids can be a challenge, but Kate has some tricks to make things run smoothly.
Discovery Channel/Laura Pedrick

Kat­e, who prided herself on neatness and organization at home, saw those give way to pandemonium and chaos as the cameras rolled. TV also highlighted the couple's divergent temperaments and parenting styles -- Kate is Type A and bossy, Jon is laid back -- and that often leads to arguments. Kate thinks they're just being honest. "Our marriage is going to go through many more years of fine-tuning. Right now it's taking a beating, because we have a house full of children."

This warts-and-all view of marriage is a breath of fresh air to many but has earned the Gosselins their share of negative feedback, which they ignore. "First of all, we don't have time to worry about what people are saying, and second of all, we know that our show is benefiting so many people that we need to continue. Any flak we receive is just typical stuff that anyone on TV on a regular basis receives," reasons Kate. "Furthermore, although this is the absolute hardest job --aside from raising eight kids, that is -- that Jon and I have ever had, it is also the most amazing blessing that we can be home with our children while working."

While it's sometimes hard for them to watch scenes where they conflict or don't handle situations well, they realize that's part of doing a reality show. "You get the good, the bad and the ugly, and we are determined to be the exact same people that we are when the cameras aren't there. Many people have been helped by our honesty. So are we sorry that certain things are aired? Never," Kate insists, assuring audiences that she and Jon are "closer than we've ever been." "We're still working on ourselves and our marriage. Isn't everybody?"

Managing a household and eight kids is, of course, a challenge. "I feel overwhelmed at times with the amount of organizing there is to do!" Kate exclaims. "All I can say is that I am constantly running over in my head ways to make things go smoother -- trips, closets, laundry procedures, et cetera -- to ensure that each process is as seamless as possible."

The Gosselins have meals catered on shooting days but otherwise, Kate cooks from scratch, organically. There's no time for special orders. "If you don't want the dinner I've made, the next meal is breakfast," she declares. The family has part-time help, but receives no assistance from Kate's parents or Jon's mother, who variously live far away, or disapprove of and don't want to take part in the TV show.

Traveling with eight children is always a major enterprise, but it hasn't stopped the Gosselins. "We are determined to travel and always have been, even in the days of two kids," says Kate, who relies on DVD movies to keep the kids occupied. "Since the kids don't watch a lot of TV normally, it's exciting for them to see a movie on the road. I always take plenty of snacks and car toys -- little toys that are amusing but don't annoy us with loud sounds. And we do it a lot so they are very accustomed to long drives…I really don't sweat it anymore."

The Gosselins use shorter drives for one-on-one time with individual offspring. "There is an errand rotation," says Jon, who'll take one kid at a time to the supermarket or the bank. They have to plan time with each other, too. "When the kids are in bed, we like to hang out, have conversations and watch movies together," says Kate.