Sunday, 7 October 2012

Reflections from Mom on Strike




So the clean up was painful. I actually questioned what I had done to myself…whose ‘natural consequence’ was this? I held my own and didn’t help them. As I sat on the couch drinking my coffee I daydreamed about other things I would rather be doing. A double root canal and childbirth without benefit of an epidural were the winners.

Two bottles of Pinesol (I really need to buy sock in that stuff, I would wear it as perfume if I had my way) and half a bottle of bleach later my house is clean. Not perfect, but clean. I’m sure my neighbours think I am crazy vacuum woman after hearing the vacu-flo run ALL day long yesterday. Meh, I would rather be crazy vacuum women than the woman who made the headlines as:

Insane Mother Buried Alive:
            Found Weeping in Fetal Positions Gripping Pinesol Bottle

I want to share with you all why I actually followed through with something I have thought about for a very long time…really since my first visit to the Labour and Delivery Unit almost 13 years ago.

My ‘paying’ job is to teach parents how to be, well…good enough parents. I do interventions and assessments with families involved in the Child Protection System. Each day I see and experience horrific things. I also have the honour to walk beside families in their scariest, darkest moments and sometimes I get to witness amazing transformations and the power of family. Last weekend when my husband was out of town golfing, I had a foster baby staying with us and a weekend filled with soccer, basketball and normal errands. (Hats off to all you single moms and dads. …I bow down to you all) By Sunday night as I sat down for the first time at 11:00pm, I was DONE!! Like stick a fork in my eye done.

Picture if you will, that you are making a bead necklace: stringing on the beads one by one, creating a beautiful masterpiece and all the time you don’t have a knot on the other end. The beads just keep falling off as fast as you can string them on. Yup…my housework beads were all over the floor and I felt like a crazy person. Not a far stretch for me…but I was on the edge. An eerie calm came over me. I almost scared myself. BOO!

I have GREAT kids. I mean, they are really cool little people and I am very proud of them for a multitude of reasons. And kinda proud of myself that I built them. They are also very privileged in many ways. We have a lovely home and lifestyle. They have the latest gadgets, coolest clothes and are able to participate in community and club sports. I want to give them the world. But as I rush around everyday working with other parents and other families, I realized I was doing my own children a dis-service. I was setting them up for failure. I fear we are raising a generation of young people whose attitudes will be “What are you going to do for me?” Well dude, it's called a pay check, get your ass to work. I want to end this parenting race with employable, successful, well-rounded happy adults with real life skills.

I had three choices:
1.     Start fervently praying for their future roommates, partners, children and employers.
2.     Become a raging alcoholic
3.     Strike
Lets face it, if I don’t give them responsibility and accountability now, the basement trolls will live in my house forever, and ever and ever and ever. I had to enter into the Strike Zone. I owed it to them.

I am NOT a perfect parent (please don’t tell my kids that if you see them), but this is how we run our house: We do not give allowance. We have ‘family responsibility’ jobs that are required of you as a member of this team. Hell will freeze over before I pay my children for clearing their dinner plates or making their beds. We provide them with what they need (and more…I do like to shop) but if there is something that they want that exceeds my budget or an extra, they are welcome to come to me and ask me for a ‘job for money’.  

In theory this works very well for our family…but as of late I was becoming a nagging monster and it had just become easier for me to do it all. Plus I do a better job anyway. During the Strike, the only thing I stopped doing was picking up after them and reminding them (ok, screeching like a lunatic) of their family responsibility jobs.  The results were…well phenomenal. Please refer to milk cheese picture.

At times during this strike it was actually harder for me to walk by the rogue glass left at the front door and not take it with me on the way to the kitchen. I admit there were times I was on auto-pilot and had to un-do my cleaning and put back their mess. This was a lesson for me!! I had NO idea how much I did for them without even realizing it.

I have also learned that my house does not need to be perfect. I am sure that each one of my friends or family will keep speaking to me if they come over and there is a dirty spoon in the sink. I have learned that my children will remember a family game of UNO more than my sparkling toilet you could eat of off.  My OCD does not actually run my life and I will not actually have a panic attack and die if there is dust on the shelf. I also know that I am married to an amazing man who supports my dreams and helps with the kids and the house as ‘our job’ not an extra pink job added onto my work outside the home. Thank you Larry and Gail, you have raised an amazing son, husband and father. BTW…the Pooh Bags were his idea. He’s the twisted mastermind and he makes me laugh daily.

The response to this blog has been overwhelming. I really didn’t expect it. Thank you doesn’t seem like a big enough word. People have told me that I have inspired them to start their own Strike. DO IT!! I Double Dog Dare you! I have been called a hero…perhaps a drunk hero but I’ll take it. This blog and your responses were the ONLY thing that got me through this week…well you and the wine. The wine helped a lot. Most of you have expressed your sadness that the Strike is over. You are all a bunch of sadists. I don’t know what I will write about next…suggestions welcome.  Maybe I will submit this blog to a magazine or start my own twisted parenting advice column. This simply began as a cathartic coping mechanism, thank you for sharing the ride with meJ

For now, they each rinsed their breakfast dishes and put them in the dishwasher. There are three clean, empty lunch kits on the shelf where they belong. However, I’m staring at a sweater left on my couch and a dirty pair of socks on the stairs. Dylan is arm flapping in the kitchen to have the dishwasher emptied. If you drop by for a visit my floors will probably not be clean and I can guarantee you that you will leave with some dog hair and slobber. But baby steps right?

I bought myself some new wine glasses today…for a daily reminder of my Strike.

The small people have read the blog and they think it’s funny. I threw an extra twenty bucks into the therapy pot just to be on the safe side. They announced yesterday that they were going on strike…really? How on earth would I tell? What would be different? Would you just sit your ass down in a different spot to watch TV? Oh please stop the insanity!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. Today I am thankful for my clean kitchen, my basement trolls and the little one with the deceiving dimples.

Jess
Empty, cleaned and on the counter! Boooya Suckers.

                                   So clean and shiny!!Look at the counter space!!







New Wine Glasses...a little white trash, but I LOVE THEM!

173 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Spyder...thank YOU for all your support through this!
      J

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  2. Replies
    1. You may be one of my biggest fans.....I love it!

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  3. I am bookmarking this! Everytime I am at my wits end I am going to sit down and read this. That way, I can fantasize over the day that my kids are old enough to pull that stunt with! Unfortunately they are too young right now...8 and 9...but they have no idea what is headed their way in three years if they don't change their behavior. You lasted for a week...I can guaranty, I can last for a month! Tune into my writing and tune out surroundings! Yeah baby!

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    1. You need to promise me you will let me know were I can read about your impending strike!! A month eh....woot woot!! Yeah baby indeed.
      J

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  4. Happy for you that it's over. Sad for me. It was friggin' funny.
    I've never actually gone on strike.I've threatened it... But I've found that a few flip outs have been somewhat effective. Well..maybe they just think Mommy is insane. Whatever....it seems to work.

    I'll keep the strike in my back pocket for the dire straits..
    Thanks for sharing, Jess.

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    1. Ahhhhh, the mommy flip out! They are effective but i'm pretty sure you are right..they just think we are crazy.
      J

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  5. I think you did an awesome job holding it all together Jess! I too dream of the day I can strike but as of now I don't have the guts. Thanks for being brave and injecting such humor into it all!

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    1. You can do it!! Look at me egging you on....
      J

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  6. Kailey's boyfriend was quite distraught to hear your strike was over. Every day, the first thing he asked was,"Is Jessica's update for today up yet?" We will miss your writing, but totally understand why you did it!! Good for you!We need more moms like you out there!!!

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    1. First of all..the fact that Kailey has a boyfriend makes me feel extremely old. Glad you all laughed and your kind words mean more to me than I can express.
      J

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  7. This has really been such a great nightly treat to read, especially tonight as I'm also sitting here drinking Apothic Red. Thank you! I think you should really push to submit this to a parenting magazine. And I love your kitchen. I too, am a type A ,self-proclaimed OCD clean freak. I get my outlet by having an organizing business. My daughter isn't quite a year yet, so there's really no help from her in cleaning up. But I will forever keep this in mind should she ever come to the same point. Again... thank you!

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    1. Yeah Apothic!! YUM YUM!! Is it weird that the thought of being a professional organizer excites me?? I feel jealous.
      Thanks for the compliments about my writing...stay tuned.
      J

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  8. Thankyou for the entertainment I have just had reading your blog. I raised five kids and let me tell you I sympathise with you, understand you, and raise a glass to you. Over the years I have had quite a few hissy fits and the odd strike or two, but I have never lasted more that a couple of days before I caved. When I was working I had to write a list, numbered 1 to whatever so I would come home to a some what clean house, without the list it wasn't done. "You didn't ask us" or of course "it wasn't me" were the most popular comments. I did survive and so did my kids, they now have have homes of their own, and I love that they have clean homes. By the way it was my daughter that sent me the link.

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    1. I thinks its ironic that your daughter shared the link with you..it gives me hope. Thank her for me k?
      J

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  9. Oh this had me giggling, thanks for sharing your amazing and hilarious journey!!!!! I used to work with your sister so I saw her links to it on facebook :) Good luck in New York!!!!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. Shhhhh, but between the two of us, my sister is the crazy one:)
      J

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  10. This truly was a fantastic read! Even for me, a married guy with no kids, I can relate a little because I can still remember back when I was a kid and had that attitude of entitlement and expectation. I want to thank you for posting a link on the Poooh Busters wall. I was glad to see that our guys at least provided you with one clean area of your home. When you think of something else to blog about, we'll look forward to sharing it with all the Poooh Busters Facebook fans.

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    1. POOOH Busters rocks!! I actually sat in my back yard on clean up day to escape the mess inside. Thank you!!
      J

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  11. You are my hero! I've tried to go on strike!... but the messy house makes ME CRAZY! I do little things around here, games if you will.. like I wonder how long that overflowing bathroom garbage can will go until someone else empties it (2 weeks), who's going to actually take 6 seconds and put the toilet paper on the roll (5 days... almost empty). Sometimes they catch on... sometimes they don't! Then it gets the best of me! I often feel like I have created monsters! Just recently I told one of my friends who had little kids... DO IT NOW! Spend 5 minutes before they go to bed and make them clean up their mess... I wish I had! Hats off too you!

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    1. Oh, the toilet paper roll. I think this must be very hard for some male or child brains to understand. It blows my mind that they can build an entire world out of lego, yet cannot figure this out. If you can't strike..keep up the mini mind games. I'll do the same.
      J

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    2. Not only for male and children. I have always been amazed to see how educated adult women (some of them quite young, I agree) could not put the toilet paper roll in place... in the women's toilets at the University!
      It's not as if they had so many other things to do while sitting, or did they? (appart from picking their nose I suppose.)

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    3. 5 minutes? It takes forever as I repeat, "Pick up the truck. Pick up the truck. Pick up the truck." eighty times. Then I repeat with the next toy. Any advice for that?

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  12. Truly incredibly inspiring! I love your kitchen, too. I hope I don't have to get to this point with my boys, but if I don't start doing something about it now, I will be striking someday, too.

    Steph

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    1. Thank you..I hope it has helped, but mostly I think it's important to laugh..always be able to laugh.
      ps..I'm glad someone has pointed out my kitchen..it really is lovely when it's clean:)
      J

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  13. DEFINITELY submit this experience as an article to magazines ... it's been wonderful! Not only have you given me many belly laughs, reassured me that my addiction to wine is ok, and shown me that other moms experience so many of the same feelings; you've also helped me recognize the role all of us play in this game of playing house ... er I mean in creating a functional, happy, family dynamic. I'll be instituting some "strike avoidance" measures myself; mine come from the other angle as I'm far from OCD and the smell of pinesol makes me gag, but I will be co-ordinating the troops in a more focused fashion so that we ALL contribute to the general happiness (however you may choose to define that word) around here!

    CHEERS! *clink*

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    1. I love every bit of your comment. So many good points.
      My sister also gags at the smell of pinesol....odd.
      Clink right back at ya!
      J

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  14. I just wanted to let you know that I just caught your clip on the TODAY SHOW in NEW YORK CITY this morning!!! WOW!!! Congratulations! I think your blog was hilarious and I am so happy for you that you got something fun out of the whole deal! Hope you had a great trip!

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    1. It was super fun and truly something I couldn't have ever imagined would happen.Thanks for your kind words and I'm glad it gave you some chuckles.
      J

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  15. I love this story. I love every last thing about it. It's honest and real. I relate to so much of what you say about wanting to teach your children, yet life interfering and the reality of how much faster, and more efficiently, things get done when you do them yourself. All of it. Thank you for sharing. I blogged about your story over at the BabyCenter Blog. http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/10102012ever-dream-of-going-on-a-mom-strike/
    May the bloggy, troll-free spirit, be with you.

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    1. I love how you got the point of this, as yes it is faster and more efficient for us to do it...but then they really don't learn anything if we don't stick to it. Thanks for sharing the story on your blog.
      J

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  16. Seriously. Best blog ever. This is such a fantastic idea, I can hardly wait until my kids get older so I can try it with them (I think the concept would be lost on a 5-month-old). Kudos to you for sticking it out and coming out on top :)

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    1. Yes, it may be lost on a five month old...lol. Thanks for your Kudos.
      J

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  17. Hi Jessica!

    Inside Edition, national show in the US, would like to request an interview with you about your blog. Please give me a call at 310-642-4161.

    Thank you!
    Yalda Sadiq

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  18. Just found out about you today. Coincidentally, this past weekend, I started the process of "letting go" of doing certain things for my teens. I ask myself, can they do this? And the answer is usually "yes"!
    So I told my son that from now on, everyone is taking responsibility for their own stuff. His response: "I don't like where this is going, Mom..."

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    1. Your son's response made me laugh....I feel afraid for him!!

      Good job!!
      J

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  19. This was great! Thanks for sharing and giving me a good chuckle!

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    1. I'm glad you were able to laugh with me:)
      J

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  20. I don't have kids...but can I please know if you're a Virgo? I feel like I'd be the same way if I had kids! Like WTF is this cup doing here...have I vaccummed today?

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    1. I'm an Aquarius....but truth be told I have no idea what any of it means. lol.
      I vacuum for sport.
      J

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  21. I came about your blog after seeing the article on Yahoo News. What can I say, you must have nerves of steel. LOLLL My kids are grown now and at uni, one living away and the other still at home.
    I have never gone on strike but have left them for a month a couple of times with hubby while I went abroad to visit my parents and when I come back I am so loved and appreciated. Only problem is it only lasts for a short while, having said that my daughter appreciates what I have done in the past for her, after living alone she realizes how much mess she makes and my son does his own ironing and clears his dishes. The only room he messes is his bedroom and if he doesn't give me his clothes for washing he walks round naked. LOLLLL I won't go in his room. I've even managed to train hubby. I figured if they can manage without me for a month at a time they can help when I'm at home. LOLL
    Congratulations to you and I hope that they continue with their new found skills. You gave me such a laugh this morning. Just keep any eye out, as time goes by they will start to revert back to their old ways. Best of luck. Maria

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    1. Oh I've got my eye on all of them...mwa ha ha. Your daughter gives me hope.
      J

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  22. Apothic Red IS GREAT!!!! Good choice!! I have also been lobbying the wife to let me get those mason jar wine glasses. Great minds and thinking alike and all.

    I posted a comment on your day 4 post and I would like to say after reading the whole blog (after seeing your story on NBC News while at the gym), Bravo!!

    In my previous comment, I spoke of our chores as kids. Children have to have responsibility. The have to. I have met soooo many young adults that have not the foggiest idea on how to maintain an adult life because they were never forced to grow up. I have a co-worker whose college age daughter called her from her dorm room to ask her how ice cube trays work as they had an ice dispenser in the fridge door. I credit my Mom with SOOOO much. Somehow she made raising us three (in hindsight) look easy. We were all on the honor roll almost every single time and never so much as went to the principal's office for anything bad.

    Thank you again for inspiring so many parents to take the control back. The patients should never run the asylum.

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    1. "The patients should never run the asylum"...that gave me a good chuckle.
      I do have a love affair with Apothic...and I do think you deserve the wine glasses.
      Thank you for the kind words and I do think the media from this has started some much needed parenting conversations around the world.YEAH!
      J

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  23. Have you ever heard of Vicki Hoefle and her Parenting on Track Program or Duct Tape Parenting Book? This is one to the first things she suggests doing. Go on strike or as she calls it, "No Nothing, Say Nothing" week. It's a great exercise to see what your kids are capable of and what they need trained to do. When things start getting out of hand, and they always do eventually, I go on strike. Great job. Check out Vicki's blog, www.parentingontrack.com

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    1. I have heard quite a bit about this as of late. Seems my Strike has a name eh:)
      The only thing I struggle with is the world 'train'.
      I believe we are our children's most important teachers and nurturer's...so I feel like the word training should be reserved for a puppy. What do you think?
      J

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  24. OMG this is the most hysterical thing I have read in forever. I have 4 teen girls- I can relate!! I am sending this to every mom i know, thanks for sharing. my belly hurts from laughing so hard. what a great idea! wish I could copy but I have one child who is a real neat freak and I would feel bad cause she would clean everything herself!!( maybe I can send her off to stay with relatives for a week than try it out on the other 3..... hhmmm)

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    1. 4 teen girls!!! YIKES.
      I too have one that I thought was a neat freak..she did clean up on the first day, but then meh...couldn't have cared less. If you ever strike, please let me know how it goes.
      J

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  25. Thank you for sharing your awesome experiment with us! The humor and wine were just as important here as the strong will not to cave and "just do it yourself". I would have caved when the little one cried and asked you to help clean up on day four. That tells me I'm not strong enough for my own strike yet. I'm going to go get a bottle of wine and start building my strength so that I can successfully stage my own strike in the future.

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    1. I love how the wine and laughter was just as important too! The little one almost had me....but I stuck to it. It was very hard.
      J

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  26. I HAD to share this with my page!!! I LOVE it!! I laughed, cried, and gagged!! AWESOME!!!

    - Patty
    www.facebook.com/SAHMandD

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    1. Thank you SO much for sharing!! I hope you continue to follow along:)
      J

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  27. hahahah! this was BRILLANT!!! great job and Kudos for sticking to your strike! lol!!!!!!!

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  28. This is awesome! Way to stick to your guns!!

    And by the way ... I LOVE your Redneck Wine Glasses! We have some too!

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  29. Cheers to you, Jessica! My husband and I have used a similar strategy for the last several as a key component to understanding our children (ages 8 and 9) and ourselves as a parents better based on Vicki Hoefle's Duct Tape Parenting book/Parenting on Track Program (http://www.parentingontrack.com/http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=duct%20tape%20parenting) . We have our periodic "Do Nothing, Say Nothing" weeks at our house (duct tape over our mouths included), but it is no longer motivated by our parental resentment or frustration. It is about seeing clearly what more everyone in the family needs to learn -- what tasks the kids don't know how to do yet -- and maybe more surprising -- what they can do when we parents butt out. It isn't easy, but this process is a great source of information that we can't get any other way and it helps to teach us how important it is for us to stop 'doing' our kids lives for them. My 9 year old spontaneously told me today that he felt sorry for his best friend because "his mother lives his life for him" -- cleaning up after him, standing over him as he does his homework, etc. and that "he won't know what to do later". This process is about empowering our children to live their own lives, not having a perfectly kept house. It is about giving them a chance to practice responsibility -- to mess it up as well as experience in how to get it right. And it is about us as parents setting side our expectations and really seeing our kids and encouraging them to take care of themselves which will ultimately give them the confidence to charge after their dreams. Vicki's parenting book/program/seminars are amazingly insightful, funny -- and she has changed our family forever.

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    1. I love to hear about when families find a parenting strategy that really works for them and makes a difference. I have heard a lot about this program and may put it in my bag of tricks for my everyday life and for the families I work with.
      J

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  30. Hats off to you! This was amazingly funny to read and the reflection was fabulous! While you had fun with this (and I did reading) I love how the lesson came from a desire to raise responsible humans. I work with college students and have for 15 years, I've seen a huge decline in personal responsibility of our students. THank you to parents like YOU, your children won't be those kids I see in a few years BUT the children who will flourish and become amazing adults! (dimples and all)

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    1. Your comment meant a lot to me. Sometimes we get so focused on the every day we lose sight of what the goals is...
      Cheers
      J

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  31. I just found your blog via the Today Show. This is sooo fantastic (although I am sorry you had to go through it), but I totally understand why you did it! Like you, I would call myself a little OCD. I love a clean house. I actually like to clean. I had to make a lot of adjustments to my mindset when I had my son 2 years ago. My husband, well, he is a work in progress, he is clean and likes order, but he is known to leave things laying around at times. I do tests with him as well, but have never gone on strike. But I am already working with my son on cleaning up and how to help Mama around the house with daily chores. I love that you said that you are not paying your children to do things that are daily tasks to keep a house running smoothly, I couldn't agree more! Congrats on winning!

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    1. Thank you and congrats on your little 'tests"....I too love to clean, but s when the job is too big I feel very overwhelmed.
      Cheers
      J

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  32. I love you a little bit for this.

    I'm not a crazy stalker, I promise.

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    1. This made me laugh...a lot. First because I can tell I love your sense of humour...second because you reassured me your not a stalker...I have never had a stalker before:)
      J

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  33. This is great!!! You are absolutely hilarious! Keep blogging :)

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    1. Thank you and I plan too...keep reading :)
      J

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  34. Loved every minute!! What a brilliant idea. I am currently struggling with a seven year old who wants to go back to us doing everything for her as she is not enjoying responsibility. So glad to have read this and to see that I am on the right path with her. So true that sticking to your guns was the hardest part. I find myself daily doing the same thing. If they only knew what we really did for them!!! Thanks for sharing your adventure!!

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    1. 7 is a hard age isn't it. They don't want to be little anymore..but they don't want to do big kid responsibilities. Stick to it..you are doing a great job!
      J

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  35. You ma'am, have a great writing style & wit. I about cried laughing. Also, the after pictures made me drool with envy. So much clean! I love "clean" :)

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    1. You can come over and clean whenever you want!!
      J

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  36. Just wonderful. I wont clean my daughters room, that's her job. It's a mess! But it's her mess which she has to live in. So well written and you made me laugh out loud.

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    1. I'm glad you were able to laugh with me too! I also don't stress about their rooms...I just don't go in them if I can help it.
      J

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  37. I'm 24 and still live at home for financial reasons. Inspired, I just got up and took out the veggie scraps to the compost, cleared the dish rack, loaded the dishwasher. :)

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    1. This comment made me smile from ear to ear!!
      J

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  38. I only had one child, and I have to say he was/is great, but I have to share this blog via my Facebook for those of my Family and Friends that could have problems with their kids.

    I have been in hysterics reading this, and I am positive it will help some of my family and friends out at some point. Good on you for starting and carrying on through to the end. The power of a Mother is very strong and your blog proves it.

    Regards
    Julia

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  39. Hilarious!! Even though my 'Darlings' are 7 and 5, I feel a strike coming to my house very soon. Thank you for reassuring me that I am NOT the only one! Lol.

    Kind regards,
    Mel
    Bristol, England

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  40. You are amazing. I think about going on strike all the time but my kids are 4 & 7 a little to early right? Maybe in a few years. If I did it now they wouldn't even notice and my husband wouldn't be that much of help, besides like you said no one can clean as good as us. I hope you keep blogging.

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    1. I am going to keep up blogging and I hope you keep up reading! And if and when you ever do strike I really hope you will tell me all about it:)
      J

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  41. Congratulations!!! You really are the winner! I don´t have any children but I am sure going to remember you and your blog..oh well..I can´t even remember what I did last week so I am sure as hell going to write down everything so I can find it when I have messy and crazy children! I am already going crazy with the people in my life because I am always the one who cleans and cooks. Maybe I should start my own strike now for practice and add the cooking in to it..hmnn...

    You really should keep on blogging. You are good at this and I enjoyed every moment of it with laughter!! Thank you for that!

    Regards,
    Piia
    Finland

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    1. Oh a cooking strike...do it for sure! Im glad you were able to laugh....and thank you for reading all the way from Finland!!
      J

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  42. Hats off to you.. I watched your interview and I think the key word is 'entitlement'. My boys are now 18 and 21 gone off to college. Why do we as moms punish ourselves to do everything for them. What my husband and I did is create a charity school for girls in the Philippines. In many ways,it teaches them compassion and how lucky they are to have us and the lives they live. Please continue to write about the real situations moms go through today. Yes we love fashion, food travel, but deep inside there are things we are embarass to share. But all moms can relate. You made it happen. Thank you.! Maybe now moms out there will teach their children life skills that they don't teach in schools today. More worried about their phones, clothes etc. Keep on going..

    Raising my glass!

    Monica from Toronto,Canada

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    1. Thank you so much and bravo for you for teaching your children through your actions about compassion. By the response to this blog it does seem many many moms can relate...mother unite right:)
      J

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  43. You made my week. A friend posted your blog on Facebook and I could not leave my seat until I'd read the whole thing. I may print it all up and make it required reading for my kids this weekend. You are brilliant. Thank you for going to the trouble of documenting the experiment day by day!! I see a book deal here...

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    1. Amy I am glad you liked it:) I like to think I am brilliant...others may see that as crazy! I hope you keep following the blog and my writings....
      J

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  45. Congratulations! This was a great blog. I found it via an article published in a Finnish newspaper. Your strike is famous ;)

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    1. I feel like my messy house is famous....lol. Thanks for reading!!!
      J

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  46. Reading it from France. Too funny.

    http://theceliachusband.blogspot.fr/

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  47. Reading your experience made me laugh out loud. You Go Girl!

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    1. I am so glad it made you laugh...oh and I am going girl:) and how!!
      J

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  48. Hi, moms! How inspiring is Jessica?! Are you tired of cleaning up after your families? Our show is looking for moms who want to go on strike THIS WEEKEND! We'd love to hear from you.
    Please email us asap: Talkshow.losangeles@gmail.com
    Thank you!!

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  49. I SUPPOSE I just don't understand because I'm not prepared to be a mother yet. But all "moms and dads" have different parenting techniques and this one seems to work for you. Congrats on the big headlines! Tough love works, and will be reflected on your childrens' behaviour in the future :) kudos

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    1. Thanks for your kudos. I appreciate your comment that you are not prepared to be a mother yet:) That show much wisdom.
      J

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  50. Im a stay at home mom of 4. Kids in general, I've come to the conclusion, are pigs. Maybe mine are worse than average because my house looks like yours on day 3 every day after school. I'll clean it all again the next day and the same thing happens. I also dont give an allowance. Not that I could afford to, but even if i could, i dont feel I should have to. I think what you did was pretty cool and hopefully gave your kids a new respect for you and all you do for them.

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    1. Hi, Felicia! Can we chat?! Would love to hear more about your story. Talkshow.losangeles@gmail.com. Thank you!! :)

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    2. It was very eye opening for all of us for sure:) Hang in there....4 kids can create a mess comparable to a tornado!!
      J

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  51. I heard about it on Alberta at noon! LOVE the idea!!! I just told my husband the other day that I feel like a maid and although I do house work all day long it seems like nothing gets accomplished. You ROCK!

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  52. I am TOTALLY making myself a set of those wine glasses! Those are awesome!

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    1. I know right!!! I leave them on my counter I love them so much!
      J

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    2. You're both ridiculous. And Jim, your a real idiot for thinking that she did it for publicity. Seriously? Yes that's exactly what she thought when she was exhausted and tired at the end of the day.."I wonder how much publicity my strike will me?" No Jim, shame on you for not thinking before you wrote on this blog. Go spread your negativity somewhere else.

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  55. Holy crap. Funny stuff. Best quote of the blog: Olivia held a glass of ‘milk’ UPSIDE DOWN and announced “Look mom, we made cheese!!” I laughed and laughed and laughed. No I didn’t. But I sure as hell giggled when she was dry heaving over the sink as she tried to clean it.

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  56. Amazing! I love the way you have written this blog. I'm so sorry that you had to live through this and I will have to remember it for when my own two children are older!

    I really think that the only reason people are sad to see your strike end is because that was what this entire blog was about, and if they are like me they found you highly entertaining and loved your writing. So please, keep writing, you're very good at it :)

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    1. Thank you so much:) I promise to keep writing if you keep reading! It has been an adventure to say the least...and fun to write as well.
      J

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  57. I did something similar to my brother when he came and lived with me for a while. I refused to do the dishes but he wasn't fussed, he just started using the lid off the margarine (for example) as a plate. Things grew fur and eventually I caved. Glad you had some more success!

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    1. ok...to be fair, if things starting growing fur..it may have looked very differently for me!!! Yikes!!! Creative to use the margarine lid though no...lol
      J

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  58. Oh how I enjoyed reading this... I actually shed some tears laughing :-). Beeing a father of three boys 9, 11 and 14 I do know what build up to your decision. Next time you get frustrated - and believe me you will be - try this... 1. Change the password to your wifi network 2. Give the kids a note with a portion of the new password 3 tell 'em the the other half will be shown when you are satisfied with their cleaning. Works like a charm

    Regards
    Jerry from Sweden

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    1. I think you are brilliant!! I have also taken just the mouse or the keyboard away...lol. It was very effective as well:)
      J

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  59. I think I love you. Three cheers for mammies.

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  60. pay cheque is spelled pay cheque not pay check

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    1. Actually it's both. In some countries it's cheque, but others spell it check. It's kind of like color vs colour. Both are correct. :)

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  61. I did something similar, but my target was my husband, that one day said "I don't think you do that much at home as you claim". He changed his mind...

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    1. I was lucky when I was a stay at home mom...Dylan never questioned what I did all day. But let me tell you if he did...I would have showed him in a very similar manner. Mwa ha ha....atta girl!
      J

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  62. I just want to mention that the idea of giving the kids everything they need including all the latest gadgets and clothes (plus some because you like to shop!) and making them work if they want something that's above and beyond is how I and my sisters were raised. ALL OF US have had money problems because we never had to manage money when growing up; we just got it all. It's the same principle as the cleaning up part - if you do it for them, they don't realize it's something they need to learn to do for themselves. I agree that keeping their rooms tidy and putting their dishes in the dishwasher isn't something they should be paid to do, but having to manage their money to get snacks they like, music they want, and toys or games instead of adding to the weekly shopping list would be very helpful to them when they turn 18.

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    1. I think you bring up a VERY important point..thank you. The way we work things around here does teach financial responsibility...it's just one way of approaching it but let me know what you think.
      We do not pay allowance for jobs that are required you as a member of this family, for example, clearing and washing dishes, emptying the dishwasher or garbages and of course those damn lunch bags. But I do have a budget for clothes, shoes etc. For example, at back to school time, I have a budget of X amount of dollars, if they want the latest and coolest shoes that cost MUCH more than my budget, they can come to me for a job for money until they save enough for said shoes. In addition, the older girls babysit a lot and I have opened a bank account with them so they can learn online banking and spending responsibilities. Although I do love to shop...I also know that me saying NO at the cash register and asking them how they plan to earn the money is far more important. I have also let them spend their money on 'silly' things and then when they really needed money for a bigger purchase I was the first to jump in and say.."ooh, I bet that candy doesn't seem like a good purchase now does it?"
      lol
      Like I said, I think what you brought up is SO valid and I would love to know your thoughts.
      J

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  63. jess - i think i love you, and you are an inspiration to frustrated parents everywhere. i have two teenage boys, and while things for me have never gotten this bad, i can definitely commisserate. ignore the naysayers, you have taught your children a valuable lesson, one which they will hopefully remember for a long time.

    you may need to do "mini-strikes" as a reminder however!

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    1. Thank you:) I'm not sure if I'm an inspiration but I do hope it has started some parenting conversations. I'm crossing my fingers for no need to mini strike....
      J

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  64. Fabulous! Way to go! I too agree with you about not paying your children to keep their rooms clean. I have a friend who gives n allowance but her children need to do everything she asks....if not she take some money away each time. It is a way to have something to use for disobedience. But I am curious how you run your system (what are your family responsibilities and which ones are outside of that)? My son is 10 and daughter six so I want to get something in place for them now that they are old enough to handle jobs and I want the to learn money management as well.

    Thanks so much for doing this! Great idea!!

    Kristie

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    1. Our family responsibility jobs are things like: setting table, clearing dishes and cleaning after meals, emptying garbages, organizing/putting away jackets and shoes, bringing and emptying lunch kits, sorting laundry and brought to the laundry room, putting away clothes,cleaning their own bathrooms, keeping bedrooms 'tidy' etc. Our "jobs for money" are things like, baseboards, blinds, organizing cupboards, folding the mountain of laundry that tends to pile, washing windows etc..
      If they don't do a job for money there is a simple 'no' from me if they have a purchase they want to make that is above my budget or necessities. It works well for us...and they are more often than not motivated to come to me for money. If they don't...oh well:)
      J

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  65. This is one of the best things I have ever heard!
    Hats off from Sweden!

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    1. Thank you!!! And a hats off right back at ya!
      J

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  66. This is an amazing story! Hilarious but also beautiful because it demonstrates how much you love cleanliness but how you love your family even more. I'm not a mother yet but I am OCD about chores so I may end up doing something like this one day. Please submit this for publishing! An inspiration for mothers worldwide. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and speaking to how much more important love and family are than a perfect house!!
      J

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  67. I have recently been trying to think of ways to make my life simpler. I have not come up with many ideas, but reading this makes me realise the two things making my life complicated are my perfectionism and doing too much for my children when they are old enough to do things for themselves.
    I think a strike is in order. But the Malaysian climate may bring in more bugs than I can cope with! I have to think of a way to make it work for me......

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    1. MALAYSIA!! Wow..unreal how far this is being read! Yes...the bugs may put a damper on a strike but I am glad it has helped you. If you think of any other ways to make life simpler....will you please let me know:)
      J

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  68. i am so ocd, and this is so awesome. i've been learning how to do things "satisfactorily" and to not strive so much for perfection. the tip on "allowance" is so enlightening. very good idea, very good principle. rock on.

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    1. Thank you!!! Striving for perfection often outs me in a tizzy and I am learning....
      Rock on you!
      J

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  69. Hi,
    In case you didn't know, your story arrived in the most important and major newspaper in Italy. Corriere della Sera. Its acually where i read it this morning while i was having my coffee. Im a single guy of 37 yo,( I adobted my son he is 11 now) working as marketing manager all day and living with him, however im super organized person and i do everything myself just like you, ( without the 3 doughters ) but i have 2 german sheperds. I loved what you did, sometime our chid thinks that everything is granted and they donn't understand that things doesn't come without effort, from the small stupid things up to the big things. You were able to give a great life lesson to your childs that they wont forget, don't give up. And congratulation from Italy.

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    1. Thanks for your comments..all the way from Italy!! Italy is on the top of my travel list!! I applaud you as a single working dad!! Congratulation to you!
      J

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  70. Thank you for this blog! You are truly right in your analysis that picking up too much after your children does not make them responsible adults. I think it is our first and most important job as parents to prepare them for being adults, living their own lives. Spoiled brats are not what the community wants or needs.

    And you are a good writer too. I love the way you describe what happened during the strike.

    Best regards from Sweden :)

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  71. IS it something with twins? I have twin 12 year old daughters and they are the laziest pair I know, will just walk by and look at the sink with 2 feet tall worth of dishes, will use every cup/glass/plate until there a no more . then thier bedrooms would make a stay at a maximum security prison seem like a holiday.. I took photos with my phone but the wife wont let me put them on facebook... I thought girls were supposed to be neat and tidy !! thats without all the plates and cups etc left in thier bathroom, bedrooms, and tv area......

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    1. Twins for sure....evil masterminds. lol. I love love love your description of their bedrooms. Mine just recently got their own rooms...now I have two disaster zones to deal with. Sigh....
      Stay strong.
      J

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  72. I can't believe all the attention you're getting - from ALL OVER THE WORLD! I love your sarcastic story-telling,your blog is hilarious. Like actually laugh out loud hilarious. If my mom went on strike when me and my three siblings were in junior high our house would have looked just like yours - maybe worse. I hope you aren't paying any attention to the freak moms out there commenting on the Huff Post article that think their children can do no wrong and are perfect little neat-freak angels. I am an art teacher. I eat, sleep and breathe kids of this age. NONE OF THEM seem to know how to clean up after themselves......maybe I will go on strike in my art room one of these days....

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    1. If you ever go on a strike in your class will you let me know? You sound very wise and I appreciate your kind words.
      J

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  73. Oh, WOW! I am so relieved to read such a refreshing and supportive blog from a fellow working mom. You have no idea how empowered I feel after reading your story! I am the mom of 3 boys...and 11-yr old and newly crowned 9 year old twins. My house is a contsnat battleground and source of grief for me. Added to that is the fact that I work from home, so there is no escape for me. I have "said" several times that I was going on strike, but never really did for more than several hours, during all of which my great husband did all the work instead. I am contemplating how I can coordinate a week's worth of mommy strike as I type this LOL! I think my time has come. We have tried taking away all electronics (wide-eyed petrified boys would eventually find Lego or books) and cancelled outings (again, Lego and books would substitute after a sufficient temper tantrum x3).... My 11 year old is actually progressing, it's the twins that are slowly and determinedly torturing me. Thanks again for giving me the courage to stage my own mommy strike! Maybe I will finlly find the time to get my own hair and nails done and actually sit with a glass of wine at night without waking up next to it @ 2am and puttering off to bed sulking at the wasted treat!

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    1. Oh the wasted wine makes me sad:) I am glad this has left you empowered and I laughed at your comment about the twins determinedly torturing you!! I believe twins have super powers themselves...its like they are ganging up on us:) You can do it!!!!!
      J

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  74. Holy cow I am insanely jealous at how clean your kitchen is! I have a 24 month old and a 4 1/2 yr old and i feel as though a bomb has exploded in here with toys and laundry and dishes. I do have my lil guy cleaning up his dishes after he eats but he likes to fling his bowl into the sink like he's a disk thrower so I have to make sure there is nothing in there that can break before he gets to the sink. And God forbid he clears one of my glass dishes! Anyway, the only way I know to cope is writing a mom's blog too. http://mytalesfromthecrib.blogspot.com/ I'm now following yours and look forward to reading more. You're very funny!

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    1. Im totally going to check your blog out...even the name has me laughing!! Thanks for the follow and I will do the same.
      J

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  76. Those wine glasses are hysterical!!! I was laughing so hard as I read through your week that my girls (ages 11 and 13) came running to see what was so funny so I read it aloud to them. Like you, we don't believe in allowances. My mother always said "PAY YOU? I let you live here!" We do not have set chores but they are expected to pitch in and help around the house. They are homeschooled so home during the day with plenty of time to pitch in. They do an ok job however my youngest has a tendency to leave her stuff EVERYWHERE! I have come to realize that my house will not be perfect with all of us here all day. There will be dog hair (3 pugs) on the floor, there will be books on every flat surface, and their might be a few dishes laying about. Underneath the stuff, it is clean though. I aim for the "not horribly embarrassed if someone pops in" look.

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    1. I am also aiming for the not horribly embarrassed look! I am learning to live with the clutter...but it has to be clean for my own mental health!! It really is amazing the little hurricanes that they are!!
      J

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  77. Awesome. I can personally relate to the pine sol as perfume bit.

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    1. I know right..that and bleach. Ahhhhh, the smell makes me happy.
      J

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  78. Congrats on a very well written and hilarious blog! It's circulating in Georgia, USA as we speak. Do I see a book for moms on the horizon? Look into it...you would be fabulous at it!

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    1. My neighbour is from Georgia and my girls babysit for her all the time. Ironic is she is always bragging about how neat and tidy my girls leave her house when they sit:) I'll keep you posted about any future writings.....
      J

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  79. This was a fantastic read, I love your idea of the strike! You write really well and are very funny - I´ll share your blog to all my mummy friends :-). Greetings from Sweden!!

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    1. Thank you!! I hope all your mommy friends in Sweden enjoyed it and had a much deserved laugh...being a mommy is one tough job!
      J

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  80. Hi Jessica. Thank you for this idea - fabulous! You inspired me to stage a mini-strike for 4 days before my daughter caved and cleaned up. I blogged about it here: http://singleme.posterous.com/ and it was reported about here: http://www.parent24.com/Preschool_2-6/care_nutrition/Moms-on-strike-20121016

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  81. After hearing you on the BBC Today programme this morning, I just had to read your blog. Fantastic and very funny ..good for you and I hope lots of other parents follow your example. Greetings from the UK. Sue

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    1. Greetings from Canada and thanks for reading and saying such nice things!!
      Ps...I wote this with a british accent in my head.:)
      J

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  82. Crazy mothers
    Someone mentioned your experience to me, as I have been carrying out a similar experience at home with my two boys.
    If interested (in French), it's here : http://mere-d-ados.blogspot.fr/

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    1. I knew I should have paid better attention in French class...
      My husband is from Quebec, so I am going to have him read me your blog!!
      Cheers,
      J

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  83. You are one wise woman. Think I will try this with my husband and divorced son who lives with us. I am sure my husband will remind me he does the dishes often and my son would remind me he does take out the trash often. I they would just pick up after them selves I would be so happy that I would do all the dishes, well not the ones the dirty and take out the trash all the time, well some of the time. Our son is moving out in a few months and I will miss his constant thanks you for cooking, something my husband hardly ever does. I am ready for him to move out...he is ready too. So then we go back to the empty nest where I can control things better...hehe. Great post, I mean great post and I think you should send this to all magazines.

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    1. Thank you..and me thinks it's time to start your wife strike. I will say thank you for all you do...it's a hard job!!
      J

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  84. Amazing blog. Please keep writting.

    I am from Brazil, so please excuse any mistakes.
    You were news here too. Happy to say with no judgement.

    Unfortunately here moms do judge each other a lot on the internet about anything they write, for giving junk food, for not giving junk food, for having a c-section, for natural birth, for home birth... just sad and a waste of time. Mons could support and learn more from each other. (also be a good example as you said)

    I did learn a lot and entertained myself with your blog. My son is only 4 years old and I recently realized I was doing too much, helping too much. Not easy to change. At this age I cannot do a strike, but I can make him help more, teach him how to be more organized.

    Thanks for sharing your experience

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    1. Thank you for your comments..it is unreal to me that parents from all over the world are reading this and relating to it!! I really appreciate your comments on moms judging moms...parenting is the hardest job ever and it would be nice if we could all support each other and learn from each other.
      And I think your English is amazing..thank you for taking the time to write to me.
      Jess

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  85. This was amazing!!! And hilarious :D

    I too will bookmark this blog and get back to it if and when the same kind of situation starts developing in my house - kids now ages 6, 8 and 10... so this will happen undoubtably soon, I think ;)

    Thank You for sharing this experience with the world and high five for enduring it :D

    Greetings from Finland,
    Sanna :)

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  86. Jessica:
    I enjoyed reading the blog... It brought back some good memories,and of course some bad ones. I too went on strike several years ago. I had children aged 15 and 10, and a now-ex-husband who did not work. I worked a full time job in Medical Records and often pulled weekend shifts as Emergency Department secretary on weekends. During this time, I also was leader of my local Girl Scouts troup and was attending night classes at a technical college 2-3 nights a week. For whatever reason, my "stay-at-home" husband could not find it in himself to make the home a priority with so much going on in his life (for example, hanging out with the neighbors and entertaining them in the MAN-SHED).
    I found myself resenting everything and everyone as I was appalled that it wasn't second-nature for them to step up and help me as mine was the only income for the house and I always trying to better myself to better provide for them. Couldn't they at least get the small task of keeping up the home between the three of them? I still washed clothes and cooked occasionally but I left the rest to them.
    When one of the kids would ask if they could have overnight guests, I would ask, "Do you want them to see how you live in this mess? I don't think so." They didn't get to have company for months.
    And then I decided it was better that I relinquish the bad example being set for them at home. For many reasons, definitely not just this one, I divorced my husband and sent him on his way.
    Let me just say that striking took a lot of stress off me for a short while, but it eventually caught up to me... The cleanup after the change in our family makeup was horrendous, but it was nonetheless liberating. The kids found out how stressed I had been and at least one of them took heed to the lesson at hand. I guess it was too late for the older one. He still acts like his step-dad.
    My hat is off to you. I stand behind you 100%, and I encourage other working moms to do the same. I look forward to reading anything more you have to offer in the future. Good luck to you!

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