The mom sighs as her husband begins filming again during vacation. She knows she will want to replay all of the adventures later, but she sure wishes she knew how to edit out the inevitable scuffles between brothers, her own near constant admonitions to be careful, and all other unflattering evidence of her family’s imperfect reality.
You want the truth about showing the reality of your life? I think you can handle it.
I am a fan of reality TV. But not all reality TV; let’s be clear. If it features a huge educational component, or it is immersed in nature, or if it could in any way improve my cooking, camping, or singing skills, I am out. All I want is the modern day soap opera experience. (Clearly, BRAVO is my go-to channel and all of The Real Housewives franchises are my addiction.)
But while I may enjoy escaping into someone else’s drama and dysfunction, whether I would want to star in my own “show” is another question entirely.
This possibility was raised after I received an email inquiry from a casting company asking if I might apply to participate in their upcoming project, “a documentary–style shoot for Little Debbie.” For the briefest of moments I imagined my family captured in a miniature Modern Family or The Office-type deal, where the quirky could not be ignored (it is us after all) but the heart and the humor would shine through. But as I read on my fantasy was thwarted by the most critical piece of information: The shoot would feature different families . . . and their morning routines.
What could possibly go wrong?
Maybe a better question would be, what could possibly go right, starting with our need to delay the filming until school is back in session and we have something going on that resembles a “routine.” Right now most mornings we get up in a crazily staggered fashion, with the adults typically moving with some urgency and purpose and the kids much slower to start unless they have something lined up. But even under the best of circumstances we are not in great shape in the morning. And by we, I mean me. I am not a morning person.
A quick second to my personal deficiency is that my house is not a morning house. It is also not an afternoon or an evening edifice, if you are talking about being camera-ready.
My dog might pass as a morning dog when you consider her “wake up call” for my boys, where she races to their rooms and kisses their faces until they get out of bed. That could be cute on camera. Too bad she is wildly unpredictable with strangers and is unnerved by large items. Instead of sweet kisses the boys would wake to shrill barking – mine, as I try to get her to quit acting like a possessed Tasmanian devil around the crew and their equipment.
My boys are not really morning kids, but obviously Little Debbie could go a long way in getting them to a very agreeable place.
My husband is absolutely a morning person but he gets up before the sun and flees I mean goes to work.
In our media-saturated world there is something intriguing and even validating about the opportunity to make a commercial with our life. But all in all, the thought of having a documentary film crew present to witness, record, and share our mornings strikes me as possibly hilarious but ultimately undesirable. Thanks for thinking of us, but the truth is, we just aren’t the folks you want selling your sweet products – we are just too busy laughing and fighting and messing up and keeping it real.
Want to get a better handle on the reality show of life? If you want to watch the table hit the fan with the Jersey housewives (and don’t mind profanity, mayhem and chaos) check out this video; consider watching a poignant exploration of the public and the private lives of Nora Ephron in a documentary by her son; and if you think your family is what Genuine Marketing is looking for, consider applying for their Little Debbie commercial.
Bess Kercher, M.A. shares the reality of motherhood in her blog "A Few Good Moms...Can You Handle the Truth?" Bess lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons. You can read more of her writing at www.maemucho.com.