Does anyone want to “Wife Swap” with my family?
I don’t generally watch a lot of television — I don’t have shows that I make sure I DVR each night of the week to ensure that I don’t miss anything. There is an exception to every rule though, and this is no different. Every single time I am flipping through the channels and I see the reality show Wife Swap, I have to stop. For those of you who have not seen or heard of the show, here is a description I found:
In the first week of the swap, the wives move in with their new family and adopt their very different lifestyle. They agree to follow a manual written by the departing wife that sets out the rules of their new household — how they parent, shop, do the house work, manage their budgets and their social life. But then, in the second week, everything changes. The new wives take charge. They introduce their own set of rules and get to run the new household their way.
Once I realize it’s on, its all over. I must then watch the current episode, and every episode after … and then, just as regularly, I must do laundry immediately following because I laugh so hard I pee my pants. EVERY time.
This morning, while I sat for almost two hours watching yummy eye candy on CMT and letting this man I call my dentist poke around in my mouth, I started to think about what it would look like if I actually went on Wife Swap.
This is how our manual might look:
“Welcome to the Helmuth Family! Our family includes Kristle, who runs away to the dentist when she is having a bad day. (Yep you read that right, the dentist, this is the girl who once googled, ‘How many people die at the dentist every day’). There’s Nate, a combat wounded veteran who will joke about forgetting things like, oh, the baby. But don’t let him fool you — he just might forget the baby if you don’t watch him carefully. Then we have ‘Gubbs.’ That’s not his real name, but he thinks it is. Six-year-old Gubbs is convinced that he has a brain injury as well, especially when he doesn’t want to do something. He also likes to pretend he can’t hear because he ‘turned off his hearing aids.’ He’s your typical little man in training. Then we have our 3-year-old ‘Princess Kiki,’ or ‘Abby,’ or ‘Kenner Bo Benner,’ none of which are her name either. But, she will respond to pretty much anything when she wants to. We also have a big black lab named Toby, Nate’s service dog, I’ll explain how all that works in another manual. Just know that the dog goes EVERYWHERE with him –he even sleeps between us in bed (inconvenient for some, but for me, it works out well because I know he will protect me should my husband have a horrible nightmare that leaves him swinging or grabbing at whatever is closest).
“Upon entering the home i’m sure you will make assumptions based on looks alone. I have seen the show. Just know that we were given the blessing of this home, and we could never, ever in our wildest dreams afford a home as beautiful as this on our own, at least not at this point in our lives. As you look around the house please also note that we are not addicted to prescription medications. These are all active medications that my husband is required to take on a daily basis — I’ll go more into detail on that in his medical care manual.
“There is no ‘typical day’ in this home, but I’ll do the best I can. In the morning we wake up, review the schedule see what appointments we have that day will determine our next move. Hopefully we have time to sit down and have breakfast together, if not we will shove pop tarts down our throats on the way out the door, and hope we don’t choke! We drop the kids off at school, or daycare, or now that it is summer whatever friend is willing to watch them that day (summer camps are outrageous, and we are on a tight budget). We spend the day at the Veterans Hospital, listening to them tell us what we already know and then almost every time adding at least one more ailment to the list, most recently that my husbands bladder is broken. (Yes, there is a technical term but I don’t remember it right now, and that he has to use a catheter). I then do the best I can to assure him that he is still my hero, and I love him with my whole heart and soul, and that the offer still stands for him to have my bladder.
“On days we don’t have appointments I volunteer with various non-profit organizations helping other wounded warriors and families find resources that can benefit the warrior and their family, or we just spend time as a family. Some days, which we call ‘bad’ days, we don’t leave the house. My husband doesn’t really care for crowds, or loud noises, or bright lights, or really anything on those days. It’s hard to even get him out of bed, let alone get him to shower and take his medications. Those days we try to spend playing board games, or watching YouTube videos as a family, or just me and the kids. Anything we can to try and get our minds of it all. On good days, which are becoming more frequent, we are able to do some things. Later on in the manual you will find a list of things you may be able to do along with other general guidelines such as possible seating arrangements to accommodate my husband who likes to see all entrances and exits of each room, as well as possible arrangements for Toby. All shopping generally occurs around the first of the month, as this is the one and only time we get paid, so we have to budget very carefully.”
There are a lot more questions that are involved in the manual, mostly about routines, and cleaning, and the relationship, but I think anyone can figure those out based on the little information I already gave. Our manual will conclude with the philosophy of our household … and it didn’t take me as long as I thought it would to figure out what we are all about.
“In our house we take it a day at a time, if we can’t do that we take it minute by minute. We don’t always have a specific schedule. We do our very best to enjoy every second with each other because we know just how precious life is, and how quickly people can be taken from us. Circumstances suck sometimes, that’s all there is to it, but how you react to them, and what you choose to do moving forward is what defines you. We laugh, A LOT, sometimes at with each other, it makes things easier. We scream too, (again, mostly with at each other), usually things like, me saying “You make me crazy!” countered by, “I’m already crazy, join the club,” and then we laugh again. We are grateful for all of our sometimes-messy life, we love unconditionally, and we never ever give up.”
P.S. You WILL more than likely step on a lego, or two.
So, who wants to Wife Swap?
Didn’t think so … but if you did what would you put in your manual?