What Happens When Wives Go On Strike: The Experiment That Went Wrong!

BY: - 29 Aug '12 | Home

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Credit: Wash Me by Zieak

Credit: Wash Me by Zieak

As a mother of 3 and wife to 1,  I do it all. I wash (and fold) multiple loads of laundry every day, I wipe  snotty noses all day long, I referee fights, I pay bills, I negotiate contracts, I register the kids to school, I  coordinate multiple doctor’s appointments and I even act as a consultant when a family disagreement comes about. I literally do it all–and many times without a simple, “thank you” from my family.

Just the other day, I was so exhausted that after work I decided to go upstairs to take a nap. As I went upstairs,  I noticed there were dishes in the sink.  However, there are at least two other capable people in the house who could take care of them–or so I thought. When I awoke from my nap, I went downstairs to start dinner but as soon as I crossed the threshold I was greeted with a nightmare. There were even more dishes piled up in the sink (some not even rinsed off), there were open containers of food scattered across the counter tops and someone had the nerve to load the trashcan with more trash without even pushing it down.

Needless to say, I LOST it. I caused so much commotion, that my entire family scattered in fear that World War III was about to erupt. I was so freaking angry at everyone in my family. WHY do I have to clean up when there are at least 2 other people who can significantly contribute to the upkeep of the household? Who puts more (stinkier) trash on top of trash with out taking it out? WHO thought it was a good idea to open food and then leave it on the counter? WHO?

You see even though I was pissed about how my kitchen looked, I was more pissed about how my family (at times) does not exercise thoughtfulness when it comes to me. They ASSUMED that all because my title is MOM that I want to be a full time housekeeper for them.

They are dead wrong.

Even now when I think about it now I get mad as hell. So to show them that they need to respect what I do around the house I decided to go on strike after that incident.

No, I didn’t go and get a sign and start marching.  I did something more subtle, yet effective. I refused to cook/clean/be concerned for  4    straight days. I did not even look at their endless laundry, instead I simply washed my clothes and dried them. When they needed something clean, I deferred all decisions to their Dad. Instead of cooking, I ate “take out ” every day and left the receipt for my husband to see.  More importantly, I didn’t clean any bathrooms, kitchens, or common areas for 4 days straight. In addition, I only made lunches for myself and I definitely didn’t suggest solutions for  any common household problems.

I was on strike!

Before I tell you guys the outcome of my “strike”,  let me tell you how things went. Days 1 and 2 were easy– I got take out for me, while I watched my family struggle to do all of the things that I normally do. I went to bed early and even had time to read a book before dozing off. However, days 3 & 4 were hard. My kids looked helpless and my poor husband looked like he was about to “crack under pressure”. By the end of day 4, I decided I couldn’t let my family suffer any longer– I rightfully took my place back as doctor, referee, negotiator, and general awesome mom. After I put everything back in order,  I was still a little upset about not being appreciated until my husband said, “You know what babe..I don’t know what we’d do without you.” Just him saying those words made me feel appreciated. So for now, I’m not going to go back on strike.  But I now know what to do to prove my point!

BMWK – Have you ever gone on strike in your household? How did it go? Please share your tips for getting your family to help out around the house and to appreciate the things that you do.

About the author

Franchesca Warren wrote 44 articles on this blog.

Franchesca Warren is writer, author, blogger, educator, runner, entrepreneur, mother and overall BossyGirl. She's currently working on her second book detailing her chronicles of working in two of the roughest urban school districts with a release date of August 2012. You can find her full-time on her blog chronicling her life trying to balance it all and run a marathon by the end of the year. In her spare time she runs her own editing company, The Editing Nerd, and working on the launch of her first magazine. For a daily account of the good, bad and ugly of being a BossyGirl follow her on Twitter!


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6 WordPress comments on “What Happens When Wives Go On Strike: The Experiment That Went Wrong!

  1. Monise

    I hear this a lot from married women or those living with their child’s father. It’s foreign to me because my mother taught us to clean up after ourselves. I even saw men cook and clean. Pethaps you waived the white flag too soon. Do you still feel unappreciated? Are all of your children in diapets? If not, then yo shoyld probably start assigning chores. Or, you could allow the same inconsiderate behaviors to continue so that you will have something to complain about. Either way, people only treat us the way we allow them to treat us.

  2. Nessa

    I applaud you for taking a stand for yourself. However, I fear that unless you agreed as a family to change things then you did it for naught. As people, we have short memories! When I was around 16, my best friend’s mother gave me some of the best advice ever, she told me “baby, don’t start something that you can’t finish; don’t start a trend where you always give more of yourself because it is hard to break people for the habit that you helped to create”. She explained to me that as I dated and eventually married to be careful not to start trends that I set unrealistic expectation. For example, a friend of mine married a man who never ate left overs and expected her to do ALL of the cooking (and she accepted the arrangement even though she didn’t like it). It was all cute at first but then he lost his job and they had a baby and she still was expected to do these things by herself even though he was at home while she worked (she’s an active duty soldier). She became resentful and it caused friction.

    I would like to add that I am married (we have two children: 3 yr old boy and 18 month old girl) and my husband is extremely supportive. I believe that this is because of the way his mother raised him AND because I have always been consistent in letting him know that I am not super woman and he’s not super man….we are in this together so everyone shares the load. Girl, you have to give your family a chance to show you the changes you desire and need for the sake your sanity! Let their appreciation be shown in action and words! God Bless! This mothering/wife thing is something else, lol!

  3. Jaminthia

    I love this. It is articles like this that I keep for the future.
    Have you instituted a chore chart?

    Just because your can do the dishes, laundry, and lunches; doesn’t mean you should all time.
    Dinner I do b/c I love my DH however I don’t want him cooking often-if you know what I mean. I love this.
    We are newly married (4years) and we have our little ones working around the house now.
    Our oldest (she’s 3), takes her shoes off, helps get her sisters’ shoes off (they are 2) when we come in the house.
    And she helps put up groceries. She is currently learning to make her bed. The twins are learning to bring and take things when prompted. And we will have the baby (6 months) cleaning up his own drool if we could. My DH and I believe that everyone works in the home not just Mami.

    Hold on-I just read your bio- you do all that and work outside the home. Oh no, you need to end that madness. (Said only in love)
    You need to be here for you, everyone works.

    Please take a new stance, un-break that habit that was created (like and earlier reader posted), assign chores to everyone, including DH.
    And you need some required ME time. No DH, or children. Just you and your goal of rest and recuperation.

    Great Post

  4. Briana Myricks

    Love it! I went on strike from my husband for a few days. Also didn’t last long. Didn’t cook. Didn’t clean his “man cave”. Only washed my clothes. It didn’t work as well as I planned because he didn’t learn much from it. So instead, I had to sit down and talk to him. “We have to share certain responsibilities.” So we decided who would wash dishes, cook on certain days, vacuum, do laundry, etc. Sometimes you just have to flat out delegate in order for the people in your house to understand.


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