August 20, 2008 03:00 PM by Paulene Hinds
This week on Wife Swap, a very organized wife who is raising her kids to be the best and brightest swaps lives with a laid back mom whose kids run wild in the traveling carnival she owns and operates with her husband.
First, meet the Gillette family of Massachusetts. Wife Christina 36, husband Arthur 41 and their children, Jane 10, Libby 8, and Kenny 4, run a traveling carnival. Christina and her family travel on the road eight months a year and her and her husband work day and night, not leaving a lot of time to spend with their children. Because of the work situation, the children are allowed to run free at the carnival. Aside from being home-schooled from their mom, they spend very little time with their parents, mingling more with the crowd that come to the carnivals. Their meals are almost non-existant; mostly microwavable when Christina finds the time and otherwise they find their food from the vendors that are part of the show.
The family has known no other life and they feel it is in their blood. Both parents believe that letting their kids run free across the carnival to meet new people and monitor their own behavior is giving them a good foundation for adulthood. They want their family to be happy and enjoy every minute of their childhood.
Christina gives up rollercoasters to swap lives with uptight mom Karen Turner 44, who lives in a large, meticulously clean home in a posh neighborhood in New york with her husband Tom 45, and daughters Paige 14, and Grace 11. The family strive to be the best and work hard to succeed. The parents feel that it is their responsibility to raise their children to be high achieving members of society and fill their days with school, sports, homework and chores, wanting every waking hour to be productive. Her husband cannot even watch sports on TV as Karen feels it is a waste of time. Their children complain of being exhausted by it all, but to the Turners, education is a mark of status and breeding. Appearances mean everything to them.
When the women switch lives, Karen is shocked to see the Gillette family’s small and cluttered trailer home and refuses to sleep in it, going to a hotel instead. She cannot believe that Art isn’t involved in the parenting and is so lazy.
In New York, Christina cannot believe the regimen and amount of pressure that Karen and Tom put on their daughters and finds that they are obsessed with their appearance.
What will happen when Karen puts her foot down and sends the Gillette children into public school and Christina forces Art to do the rowing instead of his daughter?
Will Karen learn to lighten up and let her kids be kids? Will Christina set her husband straight and add some structure to her childrens lives? Watch the show tonight at 8PM ET on ABC and find out!
Photo Courtesy: ABC