Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mother for Hire


Late last summer, the producers from the television "reality" show Wife Swap came calling.  They were very excited about the prospect of putting together an episode centered around an off-grid type mother trading places with a suburban mother for a week.  The bait?  $10,000.

Once we stopped laughing, Sir Knight and I talked about the implications of such an endeavor.  Can you just imagine?  This poor, unsuspecting lady would be subject to such atrocities as....


  • Joining our family in the middle of hunting season....meaning hauling game out of the woods on the back of a 4-wheeler (or in the back of a Toyota Landcruiser!), gutting, skinning, butchering and canning said deer - all within 24 hours of killing the beast
  • Cooking and baking exclusively on a wood cookstove
  • Chopping and stacking too many cord of wood to count
  • Chopping small wood at 5:30 in the morning to get the fire hot enough to heat water to brew tea
  • Hiking 3 miles every day (don't think Maid Elizabeth would take it easy on her!) in full combat gear (including the AR-15)
  • Starting the generator to pump water (including before taking a shower in the morning)
  • Juggling a huge battery bank so that we don't lose power in the middle of the evening
  • Gathering a young adult, two teenagers a 7 year old and a preschooler every morning to study the Proverbs in depth and answer all of their life questions
  • Thawing frozen pipes behind the toilet (on the floor) with a hair dryer
  • Canning a years supply of apples, pears our favorite tomato, onion & pepper mixture
  • Making every meal from scratch (including grinding wheat to make bread)
  • Hanging innumerable loads of laundry on the clothes horse in the kitchen
  • Meeting Sir Knight every morning for tea and having tea awaiting his return from work (always with fresh "tea treats" of course)
  • Troubleshooting the generator in a 45 mile per hour wind, in the driving rain
  • Hauling gas cans and propane bottles to be filled, and lifting them into and out of the vehicle
  • Tossing 50lb bags of animal feed around
  • Running a work-intensive internet business
  • "Shopping" in the container for stored foods items rather than going to the grocery store
The list could go on and on.  

Of course, the other side of that coin is that I would be stuck in the middle of the city.  I'm pretty sure I would do O.K. (I did live in Seattle for about 7 years), however, going to the shopping mall might be the death of me and I'm not sure that I would do well with children that were plugged into gadgets and afraid to get their shoes dirty.  

When all was said and done, $10,000 was not even close to enough to make us even consider such an outlandish scheme.  In fact, I don't think any amount of money could tear me away from this peculiar family I call "mine".  I never have been, nor will be ever be a "Mother for Hire".

30 comments:

  1. Am so glad someone with common sense said NO to them. We no longer have a tv set, but I do recall three years ago seeing the show and knew it was highly edited to make either Mom look bad or the producers wanted (pushed?) the Moms to be as silly and odd as possible. But that is true for all 'reality shows' in my view. Another reason to be glad one has NO tv set.

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  2. That's awesome. So glad that I am a mixture of city and country and can get a long well in both situations...But I still don't like the idea of the camera's and such in my life

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  3. I wonder if the taping of that show would be the first time a mother (the other mom, not you;) ran from the "set" screaming "nooooo, please, take your money back....I JUST CAN"T LIVE LIKE THIS!" Good for you for saying no - there's nothing "real" about reality tv.

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  4. if it is the show i am thinking about I have always enjoyed it. the country families, no matter how hard they were made to look odd, almost always seemed more normal or well adjusted at the end than the city family. My favorite episode was where the poor unsuspecting wealthy new york City lady had to go to a gator farm in the swamps of louisiana and try to parent the most obstinate and grown up 10 year old boy i ever saw which was hilariuos, i remember one exchange where the new mom was trying to get him to do or agree with something and he replied' "gators don't sweat!"
    The swamp mom took little gator skulls to give as presents to the city moms NYC friends. it did not go well. At the end both families did learn about themselves and thought about making ssmall changes they would not have thought about without the swap.
    Still, it takes a brave soul to put your entire family and yourself on display, with a camera team just looking for warts and drama. I have learned things about myself watching the show, it is better than most people say in my opinion.

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  5. I doubt your replacement could handle all you do - it might be funny to see her try, but I agree with you - it wouldn't be worth swapping places.
    It does give me an idea: maybe you could set up a type of 'dude ranch' for those who think they want to live off grid - they can pay to come and live with you for a time (day, weekend, week) and see what off grid from scratch life is really like so they can be sure before making the jump themselves. It's something I'd think about doing myself.

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  6. The damage a 'suburban mom' could do to your hearth and home probably couldn't be fixed for $10,000. I suspect that, among all that was mentioned above, was in your consideration. Having to buy wood to make up for what didn't get put by or to buy canned goods to make up for the loss of home canned product would not be cheap. If a winter scenario, there's no end to the damage an 'uninitiated' person could do in an off grid home. The wear and tear on the children and Sir Knight would also be astronomical. ...And then there are the new bad habits that could be introduced. I suppose there's a price point that would make the idea irresistable, but it would probably involve at least another zero added to the end of their number, maybe 2 more zero's!

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  7. A city-ish mom might relish the opportunity to learn the new skills. I would! My household could also use a mother like you to whip it into shape, lol.
    But I agree, another woman could really mess up your family.

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  8. There's very little reality in reality TV..they seem to search out the most annoying and unrealistic people they can find-and anyway, how much of that ten grand would be left after taxes?

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  9. Accountant here:
    That all depends on many factors...

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  10. Enola Gay,

    I totally enjoyed reading your post, and response provided to the reality show producers.

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  11. I grew up in the city and would welcome the opportunity to trade places with,just for the learning experiences.The only thing is I would be screaming ,don't make me leave.I'm really looking foward to the time when my husband and I can go off grid.

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  12. How did they find you, to approach you? I don't watch reality TV, though sometimes one is on and I find myself watching for a few minutes, til I catch myself, but I'm amazed that they found y'all to start with. I think you were right to turn it down, I can't imagine such a thing myself.

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    1. Mary;
      It has to be through the blog! We have been approached by The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, TLC, a few production companies that I don't remember the name of and BBC. They actually wanted to do a documentary! Weird.

      We always smile and just say no!

      Enola

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    2. Enola,
      You must have even more of a blog following than I realized! I guess there are scouts for these shows all over, because if they were truly one of your blog fans, they would have known the answer would be NO before they even asked! LOL! Even though it's not your cup of tea, I guess it's still a compliment to be asked. I'm so glad you didn't stop blogging! :) Look forward to your cookbook too.

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  13. I'm glad you said no, because on the second part of the show, the moms get to install their rules in you house and your family is supposed to follow them. Could you imagine what types of rules they may try to install? Before we got rid of cable, I saw a few of those shows. One mother sent the other mother's homeschooled kids to public school, and another mother sent one of the kids on a date with a girl(they were a courtship minded family) against his wishes, and a third one wouldn't let any of the kids do farm chores. I think Monsoon Matriarch also hit the nail on the head with her response.

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    1. I saw a lot of the episodes as well and this would be my biggest concern. When the "new" mother would introduce rules that allowed alot of "freedom, " some of the children (usually teens) wanted to go along. Alot of damage was done in just a few day's time. I remember one episode that the woman was encouraging the teen daughter to get pierced and tatooed, although that was totally against what the father wanted. NO WAY would I let another woman (very opposite from me) come in and take charge. Although I have seen a few woman go in and help bring about a good change in several of the families, I wouldn't want to open up a door in our home that was opposite of what we have taught our children.

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  14. i have seen this show and it sure makes me grateful for the reality that i live in my own home and stay busy taking care of my own family... we had the experience of having a couple who evacuated from hurricane katrina live in our home for three months..believe me, i was very happy to have some normalcy when they left.

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  15. Oh, but the entertainment you could have provided for us! I would have watched it for that alone. We don't live off-grid but we do live more than 55 miles from the closest store and my extended family lives in rural Northern CA, however, they have a hard time assimilating when they come to visit me. So I can just imagine the hilarity of you being part of Wife Swap!

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  16. Robb I don't have TV either, but must have been in a hotel, because the only episode of this series I've seen was that gator one...and I wondered what on earth TV had come to. That vegan city woman was petting the other woman's husband's long hair at one point...ick.

    You made the right call to tell 'em NO THANKS!

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  17. So glad you turned them down, but I guess that show would have been good for a giggle! BTW, if you ever want to "vacation" in the city, let me know. We live inside the city limits of a medium-size city, but I have chickens, grow vegetables, tend compost piles, can, dehydrate and preserve, cook from scratch, and I even have a wood cookstove you could use..... except for the power grid and no kids in the house, you'd feel at home! lol Oh, and Bible study is encouraged here. LOVE your blog.

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  18. I'm sorry...every reality show I've ever had the misfortune to see has been contrived trash, plain and simple. The people are undoubtedly manipulated and the public is supposed to believe it's natural. I couldn't imagine, especially from a biblical standpoint, even pretending to be another man's wife...

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  19. Okay, so this is totally off-topic, but I like your boots. Can you tell me what brand/kind they are?? Thanks

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    1. I'm guessing here (I bought them at a thrift store) but I think they are Roper brand. They are very similar to "fat baby" boots from Ariat (which I think are better boots). I like that they work well in the field and in town with a skirt! Very versatile.
      Enola

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  20. Wow, good for you for telling them no!!! I've always said that the reality shows have been a serious detriment to our society.
    I'm not off grid and right now its not even possible for us to consider it. I am more or less a suburban SAHM. I am trying to learn how to do all the things you do because I want to be able to be off grid someday. No one was ever able to teach me when I was younger so now with 4 kids I am teaching myself. I am Chtistian but we do not attend church (the ones around here are very questionable in their message) so I teach my children about God at home.
    As a Christian I also would be appalled at the thought of swapping with another mother and letting her invade my home and pretend to parent my kids.
    You are a fantastic woman! I can honestly say I hope to be much more like you someday!!!!

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  21. Thank God you told those pariah's "no"
    $10,000 is an insult.
    reality tv is a mockery of life.
    $10,000 to revile you and persecute you (mostly by home viewers)......................

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  22. You know, Enola, you could have a great home-based business teaching us small-towners and suburbanites to live off grid. You could hold workshops and classes for the clueless. :-)

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    1. Now THAT would be excellent reality tv!

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  23. Glad to hear that! I would love to see a show that teaches us something. I used to watch gardening shows on PBS, but they haven't had anything new in a very long time.

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  24. Glad to know you turned em down maam. The idea behind this is the innate desire in many people to be made known; ie, notoriety. It's a snare and trap which many previously Godly people get involved in...such as the Duggars, et.al.

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