When I heard about the latest mom on strike in protest of her lazy kids, I thought, "Here we go again."
Yet another tired, over-worked, under-appreciated mother who is trying to teach her kids a lesson. You see, like so many of us, Jessica Stilwell was tired of picking up after her daughters. Dirty dishes, smelly laundry, toys, books, and every other mess that come with having kids. When she halted all housework, her kids finally noticed something was up -- after several days. She wrote about the "walk-out" on her blog Striking Mom and her children's reactions were priceless.
Like most kids, they didn't bother with their assigned chores because if they didn't do it, mom would take care of it, of course. Well, Stilwell, a social worker, was fed up with dealing with messes that weren't hers. She continued to cook and make their lunches, but if they didn't clean out their lunch packs, they got the meal in a plastic bag the next day.
When one of the girls sat down for dinner and saw a bowl full of soggy cereal in her spot (remnants of her breakfast), she knew something was up. She whined, "'EWWWWW, what is THAT??' As she pushed the bowl towards me, I simply said, 'Why that looks like your breakfast my love' and I walked away,'" Stilwell wrote. The house got messier, dishes piled up, but still her children didn't lift a finger until day six. Apparently the girls were so disgusted, they couldn't take it anymore. Her kids weren't the only ones suffering through the nastiness. I am sure Stilwell and her husband were at their limit too.
Her struggle is one many -- if not most -- parents can relate to. Kids hate chores. Kids will do anything they can to get out of chores. And -- as the Stilwell dilemma demonstrates -- they will live in filth instead of wash a dish. Sadly, I don't think that a strike is really going to change that. I applaud her for trying though. Parents have employed everything from bribery to threats to get their child to take out the trash.
I would bet her girls will stick to their to-do list for a month or so, but soon they will probably lapse back into their old, lazy ways. And what will mom do? Start picking up after them again. It's inevitable. Kids just don't get it until they have kids of their own. So take stock in the fact that they will one day be just as annoyed and frustrated as you.
Would you ever strike?
How do you get your kids to do their chores?