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".