COVINGTON - They say you have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you really know what that person's life is like. Covington mother Valdora Roachford lived that concept for two weeks this summer when she traded in her own family and went to live with another, very different one.
It was all for an episode of "Wife Swap," the hit ABC reality series that takes two wives with different values and lets them trade lives.
Roachford is a fan of the show and when she saw a request for families to apply, she didn't hesitate. To her surprise, she got a call the next day.
"I thought it would be really interesting. To me, I saw it as an experimentation in how people relate to one another. They tell you you've got to walk in someone else's shoes - well I did," she said.
Roachford, a mother of nine who runs her household with discipline and efficiency and relies on her husband Gregory for support, traded lives with Denise Berwick, who lives in a small Illinois town.
Though both are full-time stay-at-home moms, the similarities end there.
Berwick has given up her aspirations to support her husband's dream of becoming a rock star and caters to her 10-year-old daughter's every need.
On the other hand, Roachford runs her family like a business, training her children to unload groceries assembly-line style, and nobody takes center stage.
"I'm just the opposite of her as far as taking care of the family. It's all inclusive. It's not just about one person. In that regard, we're different. Even some of the ways we go about disciplining, it's really different," Roachford said.
It was Roachford's goal to get Derwick's husband to start paying more attention to his daughter.
"It was a challenge dealing with the husband. The wife has made him the star of the house. There's a degree of self-centeredness. That's what happens when somebody's made the center of the universe," she said.
Meanwhile, Derwick attempted to show the Roachford children that dreams are important and to get them out of their regimented routines.
The kids, who range in age from 7 to 19, coped well having a new "mom" in the house, but Roachford's husband had a more difficult time.
"I think it was a challenge for my husband. I think kids can deal with some things just because they're kids, but for adults, they're used to a way of doing things and that's what's comfortable," she said.
What did she learn from the experience?
"The one thing that I realized is that we were right on track as far as how we manage the house. It just can't be all about one person," she said.
The Roachfords will be featured on tonight's episode of "Wife Swap," airing at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: If You Watch
The Roachford family of Covington will be featured tonight at 8 p.m. on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap."