Empty Nester – Extraordinaire

creating, living, loving – all in a long black skirt

Seeing is Believing

Out and about in Anderson, we’ll still run into people who recognize us from Wife Swap.  While that surprises me [Teen Mom is also filmed in Anderson and Amber could sit on me and I still couldn’t know her], I’m more surprised that they feel they know us from a 60 minute episode – 15 or so minutes that were devoted to commercials, and 20 or so that were spent with the other family.  This leaves 20-25 minutes of screen time to develop a complete view of total strangers.

Initially I had planned a series of blog posts describing the WS experience in detail, but it became monotonous.  “You saw X; Y is reality. The reason they misled you is Z.” I’ll still write them if there is interest, but I’m afraid it will come off as whiny, begging people to “Don’t judge us.” Truth is, we’re not afraid of being judged. At least for what is true. We do not like – as much as any other person – to be judged over gossip and assumptions.

“But,” you’ll say, “we saw you force your children to dance and we saw your son have long hair because you wouldn’t allow him to cut it.  We saw you drag your kids into situations where they would be made fun of. We saw you sitting on the sofa being lazy while your kids did all the work.”

Did you?


I know you saw Alek say we forced him to go to dance class. But, you didn’t see the discussion about how he didn’t like the alternate class the producers found for him when his real studio chose not to allow cameras inside.  He was concerned that showing him in class with his sisters – both younger and with less skill – would make him look bad. He did not appreciate that waste of time.  And he was very vocal about that on several occasions.

I know you saw Alek’s long hair and you heard his, “yeah!” when Stacy told him he’d be getting it cut.  Did you know he’d been growing it out for several years with the intent of donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths project? Did you know Rule Change  was his first realization that it was officially long enough to cut and donate?  And we’d made the offer to wait to cut it so it could be incorporated into rule change.

You were told we dress up the kids and parade them about town so that people will see them, judge them, and make fun of them and that we don’t care.  Did you know our kids dress how they want, within reason? Did you know we don’t change for other people because we live our lives for us and not for them? I had a great discussion with my swap husband, Ed, about this. It’s one of the things we strongly agreed on. Looks are important to both families. The main difference is that they dress to define themselves based on what other people think of their appearance and we dress to define ourselves based on what we think of our appearance. Did you know that one of the first things the producers did before filming was remove any bit of clothing that did not fit into the got aesthetic as they defined it?

You’ve been told I’m lazy and make my kids clean and feed themselves while I sit on the sofa playing on the computer. You even saw that, right? But you didn’t see the producers and directors scold me for pouring milk and sitting down to eat with my kids.  And it wasn’t made very clear that my job was freelance editing and that I run an at-home business from my laptop. In addition, helping them to be able and prepared is quite the opposite of lazy parenting.  I’d go so far as to suggest that doing everything for your kids is the lazier version of parenting.

No one would know that without talking to us.

And I’ll be honest. I watch Dance Moms and Survivor and I struggle to remember that what I see may be just as cleverly edited as our WS episode.  I know it. I lived it.  This reminds me to be more patient with people who don’t have the background I’ve been exposed to.

If there is something you want to know about, please just ask one of us.

We’d be happy to talk to you.


Tags: , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 16th, 2013 at 6:25 am and is filed under Daily Life, Television. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Seeing is Believing”

  1. Monica
    8:36 pm on September 28th, 2014

    That just goes to show you that you never know what happens behind closed doors. The way you described it, it seems like almost every aspect of the show was scripted and choreographed by the producers! They only show what they want the American general population to see. I’m so glad I found your article and read what you have to say because my own mother even was considering to do this show.

    I’m an eighteen year old baby bat, I’m Goth at heart but have yet to fully transition into the lifestyle. My parents are Non-Goths and so is the rest of my family. If my mother had actually signed up for the show and they contacted us, I wonder what they would have done. Frankly, I think the whole WS idea is just frightening because you don’t know who you will be paired up with, you’re on live television which means everyone in the world can see you and put this false misconstrued perception on you so then you have people coming up to you with judgmental ideas and asking questions.

    To me it sounds like a learning experience than anything else. Now that I read your article, I’ll try to think twice when watching any future episodes of WS. That makes me wonder if the hypocrisy, the propaganda and the fighting between the new wives and the family are real.

    I do have to say that I really look up to you and your family. Not only are you fellow Goths but you were a great representation of people of the subculture (at least from my point of view after reading your blogs and what you have to say).

    One more thing I have to say as a Goth that I admire individuality and people who have the courage to please themselves at heart, personality AND aesthetically as you have even said that generally (not stereotyping) that we Goths find the beauty in darker things in life. So we have different perceptions than “normal” people but even Goths have different perceptions than other Goths. Some focus on the morbid but some of us do not but find the “light” and appreciation to it because that is apart of life. With that being said, I think it’s repulsive of how the producers try to “pick” your clothing out to what seems Goth to them when they have not the first clue on what Goth really is. Common misconceptions, always have been and always will.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>