I love reality shows, and one of my favorites is Wife Swap.
Every episode two polar opposite families agree to swap wives for two weeks.
The first week the new mom has to adhere to her new family’s lifestyle. The second week, they must abide by her rules. In conclusion, everyone gathers for a “come to Jesus meeting” and a) agree they can learn something from one another or b) violently accuse the other family of being the spawn of Satan, which is lots funner.
I can imagine living with the flip side of my family.
The dad would wear a t-shirt emblazoned with, “Is that true or did you hear it on FOX News?” And every morning the kids would say thank you when I toss them PopTarts as they’re walking out the door.
At night, I’d retire to my bedroom to have a passionate encounter with a bag of Ranch Doritos, which are always gone at my house. And I’d go to the bathroom ALONE.
I’d finally read the other mom’s instruction manual, similar to the one I’d left for her at my house. Actually, not similar at all.
With my luck, I’d get a real nut job family whose manual reads:
“We do not take our clothes to the cleaners because of the harmful plastic they put over the clothes.” Oh, yay! I suppose I get to eat vegan all week.
“We do not eat processed foods.” As long as you have margarita ingredients.
“We do not yell.” Note to self: Get Xanax refilled.
I’d encourage ultra-competitiveness with my laid-back, polar opposite family who’d have a daughter who only cheers at school for FUN. (No cheer championships?? What a freak.)
I’d play Monopoly with them, and when I win, I’d strut around jeering, “Awwwww, does Daddy need a bailout? How ‘bout I redistribute my Monopoly money? NOT!” And that would turn ugly when little Willow and Phoenix run to their rooms crying. (J.K. I’m really SO politically correct)
I’m sure there’d be advantages to living with my bizarro family—like they’d probably have sports bottles that actually have lids.
But the experience would probably make me long for my panic-inducing, dysfunctional “reality show” at home. After one week, I’d miss my angst-riddled teenagers who usually declare, “Mooooom, I can take care of myself!” and at other times whisper, “But I’m not so sure.” Just like I still miss helping my two-year-old tiptoe along the balance beam at Little Gym and afterward, mothering her on my shoulder, her exhaustion exhaling softness on my neck.
By David Castillo Dominici
And when they’re at college soon, I’ll miss soccer games and proms and catching the bouquet of their hair when I kiss them asleep every night.
But I shouldn’t worry about having an empty nest because I’m still having mondo fun cleaning jelly off the sofa and embarrassing them by singing “She’s a very freaky girrrrrrllll, the kind you don’t take home to muthaaa……” a la Rick James, when their friends are in the car.
Besides, I have a lot to look forward to—like having the Doritos all to myself.