Who Really Is The Real Housewife?

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the Real Housewives of…shows. Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York—I DVR the episodes, and I’ll binge-watch them while drinking wine and eating chips and salsa on a Friday or Saturday night.

These women have more drama (and plastic surgery) than I can ever dream of. Their extravagant lives are full of vacations, massages and facials, boutique shopping, and themed parties.

The Real Housewives have it all and do it all, while we all get to watch on our TV’s.

Who in the real world lives that kind of life? I know these women have lots and lots of money and they can afford their upscale lifestyle. But almost every “real housewife” I know does not live like this.

Most of us vacation once or twice a year. With the kids and husband in tow. A “big” vacation that involves flying or bringing passports happens every few years if we are lucky.

How do the moms on Real Housewives constantly go to far-away locations like Ireland or Mexico, and how are they OK with having a nanny watch their kids for all those days that they are gone? For me, just finding a weekend free of kids’ softball games, cross country meets and birthday parties to plan a get-away is a challenge. If I hopped a plane and left my kids and husband every few weeks to jet-set out with my girlfriends, even if I could afford it or didn’t mind spending all that money, I would feel nothing but guilt.

How tiny and fit they all are on TV! I know that’s part of the casting–who’d want to watch if they all wore a size 12? But everyone seems to wear a size four or smaller. That’s so unrealistic for most of us. These women must work out constantly. With an expensive trainer. Seriously. They rarely talk about exercise (and only a few of them are shown working out).

How do they go out to eat so often and not have it affect them–it seems like they are constantly with drink in hand or meeting with each other at fancy restaurants. If I’m going to fit into my skinny clothes, then it means no alcohol and limited restaurant visits. (I am glad to see that this season on The Real Housewives of Orange County, one mom talks about weight gain and her struggle with stress eating. This is an issue that is more “real” than the other issues the moms on these shows deal with each week. It’s something we can actually connect with.)

Real Housewife parties are crazy. Party planners, ice sculptures, “white parties”, bartenders and entertainment, what the heck is all that? If I throw a party, my friends can expect a cooler full of beer on the back porch, some cheese and crackers thrown on a plate along with a vegetable platter purchased at Costco. Dinner might be pizza from Dominos or some burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Served on paper plates. Entertainment? Let me ask Amazon Alexa to play today’s hits. That’s the extent of my dinner party. No frills. No fancy. And I don’t know any of my mom friends that have super-extravagant parties unless it’s a major life event.

Every woman on Housewives has had plastic surgery—laser treatments, breast reduction and augmentation, lip plumping, cheek implants—you name it, they’ve probably tried it. I know these women have lots of money to spare, but in the real world, housewives can’t afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these treatments. We complain about the cost of anti-aging products from Oil of Olay, for goodness sake!

Yes, I’ll keep watching The Real Housewives. Yes, I’ll dream of living a life like theirs. But I am realistic enough to know that their lives are not “real” life for the majority of us moms. It is not reality. Our real lives entail clothes from Target, driving mini-vans, vacuuming our own homes, and dinner out from Chick-fil-A. We are the ones living like real housewives. But that would probably make for boring TV, wouldn’t it?