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Kate Gosselin: The Single Working Mom Double Bind 

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How can single mothers prove to the courts that they are the better parent when they are being forced to work to provide for their kids?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Single mother Kate Gosselin is sweating it out working on "Dancing with the Stars" -- and her husband, Jon, has filed for full custody of the kids, saying she is working too much and not available for her children. Never mind that he has gone weeks at a time himself, not seeing his kids while he shacks up with a morphing string of girlfriends.

This tragic story reminds me of attorney Marcia Clark's similar crisis while she was working on the prosecution side during the O.J. Simpson trial. Even though she had custody of her two boys, her husband used the demands of the trial as an opportunity to try to attain custody himself. So, what's a single mother to do? Stay home and lose her kids because they are starving to death? This is a double bind where a mother is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't.

The saddest part of this bind is that it is also a double standard. Tell me the last time you heard anyone admonish a divorced dad for working too hard!

The real culprit is that the change in family law has all but eliminated alimony for ex-wives. And child support payments to her are based on a ratio of child custody. So, all single mothers are expected to at least support themselves and they rarely get a full 100 percent of child support if the kids bunk at dads some of the time. Funny thing is, even though kids of divorce may sleep at their dad's every other weekend, mom must still pay the rent for the entire month.

While I am a professional who specializes in attachment issues and my heart breaks for Kate's kids who may be suffering attachment injuries while she spends weeks in Los Angeles training and competing for "Dancing with the Stars," I believe that she is fortunate to have this choice available to her. Only the entertainment industry pays the kind of money that could keep a single mother of eight out of poverty. I mean, really, would people rather see her working for $12 an hour somewhere?

In fact, she recently told "Access Hollywood": "Maybe because I'm in front of the camera so much and people see where I am -- I'm in LA. I'm in New York. I'm here or there -- the bottom line is I'm just doing what every other mom is doing. They just don't have cameras following them, so people can't keep tabs on how many hours a day they spend with their kids," Kate told Billy. "I have to do it. I have eight kids. It's not a joke, it's the truth. I have to provide for them."

You go girl! Dance your butt off for those babies. And then head on home to bond and repair.

Dr. Wendy Walsh holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and her area of interest is Attachment Theory, a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings. As a psychological assistant registered with the California Board of Psychology, Dr. Walsh has treated individuals, couples and families for a variety of mental health concerns including personality disorders, anger management, eating and substance disorders, and depression.


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