"Trading Spouses" Teaches Relationship Building Through Cooking

by : Laura Bankston

Last night I watched a television show. It was rather hilarious and disturbing at the same time.

I was actually talking to my mother when I first heard about it. I called her to chat and she told me she was watching this show called “Trading Spouses". Isn’t that name terrible?

I couldn’t believe my Mom was watching such a thing.

But, after she told me about it, it sounded hilarious, so I decided to check it out when it came on in my time zone (we have a four hour time difference). And she was right, it was hilarious. So, I watched it with my husband last night.

Now, I’m not a big reality show fan. So, I’ll get to the point in a second.

So, anyway, last night’s show was about two husbands that traded places. The one was a New York City lawyer who lived in Manhattan – and he changed places with a low income worker who lived in the country in Georgia.

(Okay, and just to clarify for those of you whose minds might be going elsewhere – there was no hanky panky going on…)

So, you can imagine the difference in life style!

The country guy had his very first plane ride to get to New York, and he was blown away by the speed of life. The rich man’s kids were great; but his wife was a witch. Shocked that he was never at a restaurant that required dressing up, bragging about their beach home being worth $2-3 million, freaking out when someone walked into the kitchen with sand on their shoes, and nagging and pushing the son about getting his bar mitzvah speech right – especially since the affair was costing about as much as a wedding.

They city guy was in culture shock too. The house was run down and messy; and the kids were NIGHTMARES! They were totally out of control.

Unfortunately, I have seen kids that bad before in real life – but it’s been awhile. They were hitting, fighting, ignoring their mom, telling the man to “shut up" – can you believe it? And this was good behavior in front of the television crew and visitors? It was really awful.

So, here were two examples of BAD family relationships. A rich family with kids that behaved - but they couldn’t enjoy their family life because it was to much “go, go go" with a Mom that was wound up so tight that she’d wring the enjoyment out of everything. And a low income family with a family life – but one that sucked because the Mom couldn’t stand to be around her kids.

Oh – and you know what the Mom said about her bratty kids? She said that she “tried everything". She tried sitting down and talking with them, she tried taking away toys, she tried sitting them in time-out. She tried it all, but nothing worked. Hmmmmm. Seems she left out THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE! The controlled, loving, whack across the caboose.

When are parents going to “get it" that loving, proper, consistent discipline when they’re young means that they’ll be controlled, loving, children that behave when they are 6, 7, and up.

AND – children can’t be happy if they aren’t disciplined. You can see it on their faces. Whiney, out-of-control children are miserable. And so is everyone around them, for that matter.

When’s the last time that you’ve seen a miserable, well disciplined child? You haven’t. I mean, there are a few moments of bad attitude or whatever that quickly goes away with correction; but they are basically happy, content, and secure.

So, anyway, back to my story.

Each family was getting $50,000 for the trade. But the catch was that the visiting spouse made the decision of how the other family would spend their $50,000. The rich man’s answer to fix the low income family? Buy the house, remodel it – basically improve material possessions.

The country man’s answer to fix the wealthy family? Family relationship counseling, cooking lessons, and family vacation time.

And you guessed it – the rich wife flipped out – she was planning on using the $50,000 to pay for her son’s bar mitzvah!!

But, I’ll say one thing. The country man was right on for what that family needed. Less focus on “things" and more focus on “relationships".

Actually, he was downright clever. He showed America the #1 way to build family relationships…Cooking together.

Ahem. Ring a bell?

Cooking creates family bonds – across all ages – across all abilities. Too bad the country man didn’t have more of that wisdom to have disciplined kids too.

So, if you’re already ahead of the game with well behaved kids – don’t forget about the relationship side of things. And don’t overlook the easiest, most funnest ( he, he), I mean “fun" way to spend time with you kids – COOKING!!!!