Sunday, February 12, 2012

Real Housewives of Massachusetts

I have been a big fan of reality television ever since it began. My love for reality TV started with competitive reality shows like The Amazing Race, The Mole, and The Apprentice. It continued with competitive cooking shows like Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, and Chopped. Then I discovered makeover shows like Extreme Home Makeover and What Not to Wear. But the one kind of show I could never get into was the “lives of the rich and would-be-famous,” like the Real Housewives franchise. They may be real housewives in a technical sense, since they are wives and they each live in a house, but they are certainly not “real housewives” in the sense of actually managing and running a home and family full time. Let me tell you what a REAL real housewife does.

This Real Housewife of Massachusetts doesn’t sleep with a satin eyemask on, because I often need to get up in the middle of the night to feed or soothe a crying baby or a toddler having a nightmare. I don’t have a nanny to do it; I do it myself, because that’s part of the job of being a housewife.

In the morning, my “beauty routine” does not include a 5-part anti-aging system. It doesn’t include $100 a bottle shampoo made with essence of mink oil. It doesn’t include a Brazilian body wax, or a massage, or a shot of Botox. It doesn’t include a drawerful of cosmetics. It doesn’t include a flatiron, a curling iron, or even a blow dryer. If I’m lucky, it MIGHT include a shower or brushing my teeth. If my husband goes in to work late and gets my toddler dressed and fed, it might include both.

Speaking of dressing and being fed, this Real Housewife of Massachusetts doesn’t wear designer clothes, unless “Kirkland’s Best” from Costco counts as a designer. I don’t wear cocktail dresses and stilettos around the house, either. On the rare occasion I do have shoes on, they’re sneakers. And even if I wanted to wear a cocktail dress, I’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of pantyhose without a run, because when I pick up my son, the Velcro on his sneakers snags them every time. Which doesn’t stop me from picking him up. And a cocktail dress and stilettos are impractical, because I spend most of my day on the floor playing with my kids. I enjoy playing with my kids. In fact, I prefer playing with my kids to gossiping over cocktails with other catty women. I know that might be hard to believe, but it’s true.

And speaking of friends, I do have friends. Not “frenemies,” but actual friends. Friends who love and support me, who help me out when I need it. My friends don’t talk trash about each other behind their backs (or to each other’s faces) or spread lies about each other. And I treat my friends with respect and loyalty. My friendship with them is based on mutual admiration and not whether whomever they are married to can boost my or my husband’s career.

Let’s move on to husbands. This Real Housewife of Massachusetts may have only been married for 4 years so far, but I intend to be married for at least 44 years. I chose my husband because I love, respect, and admire him. I didn’t choose him because of his bank account or his public profile. He may not be rich or famous, but he is loving, and generous, and loyal, and smart, and funny, and trustworthy. He is a great father and a great husband. He’s the only husband I’ll ever need, and he’s the only husband I’ll ever want.

This Real Housewife might not have nannies or a McMansion or designer clothes or fake boobs or a Porsche. I might not spend my days sipping cocktails by a pool or working out with my personal trainer or shopping at pricy boutiques. But what I do have is far, far better: I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back, and a husband and two kids who think I’m the greatest. THAT’S my reality.

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