Q&A with Marina Sivkova from Wife Swap Australia

Why did you choose to be a part of Wife Swap Australia?

I have watched both the UK and USA versions of the show and always found it fascinating how people open their doors for the whole world to see what is essentially, a very private matter. By taking part in Wife Swap I wanted my family to ‘measure’ up against another family hoping it would help us to reflect on our own life and views.
By stepping into the other wife's shoes I wanted to gain an intimate insight into her and her family's life as well as to get ‘a full body and mind’ experience out of it. I also wanted to share with my 'new' family my life and parenting experience and perhaps give them food for thought and opportunity for them to see how others do it. I also wanted to ‘dare’ the other wife to do everything I do on daily basis…

How did you find the experience?

I have found the Wife Swap experience very captivating and quite challenging, but extremely rewarding at the end. I knew I would be faced with challenges and was not intimidated at all by that, maybe just a bit nervous if anything. However, despite some drama and tears in the end I came out ‘unscarred’ and a better happier person, mother and wife.

What was the highlight of being involved on Wife Swap?

The highlight of being involved on Wife Swap was definitely meeting all of the amazing people involved including the production crew, the inspiring ladies at the Community Centre that look after the lonely and vulnerable, my ‘new’ family and their friends I met around the bonfire. The small country town hospitality extended to me while on the swap has changed my perception of country life a lot.

What was the hardest obstacle or challenge you faced?

In addition to lack of living comfort, the hardest challenge for me personally was to deal with the excess of ‘free time’ to relax as well as the type of relaxation that was on ‘offer’. As far as the relationship with my ‘new family’, I found it extremely challenging and felt it was almost ‘mission impossible’ to break through their mind set regarding their children’s education.

What one thing did you take away from your experience that you'll apply to your own family life?

I went into this experiment seeking more recognition and praise from my own family for what I do for them. However, what I have found as a result of it is an appreciation for what they do or try to do for me and their efforts around the house. The main thing I took away from this experience is how to show my children the unconditional love I feel towards them. After the Wife Swap experience, I try to use praise and encouragement much more often than criticism and push for perfection.

What do you think you taught the other family?

I’m not sure I that I taught the other family anything they did not know before. I’m just hoping that I made them aware of a number of things they can change or work on to make a difference in their everyday family life as well as set them up for a better future. I praise myself on my motivation, drive, commitment and organisational skills, the things that I thought the other family desperately needed to improve on. I think I gave them the tools and enough motivation to work on their self-discipline, time management and team building skills. Now it is up to them to either take up the challenge of making the changes or continue with the flow and see what the life will bring.


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