5 Lessons Learned During My Mom Strike

About 6-weeks ago, I began to lose control of my house. You see, my garden began calling me. Begging me to break out of the cave I'd been hiding in all winter, and come out and tend to it.

So, happily, I did.

I started spending entire weekends in the garden, which resulted in me neglecting the inside of my house. Within in two weeks, my house became a proper shithole. There were toys everywhere, socks and shoes thrown about, dishes piling high, laundry piles that resembled the great Alps, a toddler bedroom that looked like a tornado hit it.

It was like I was living in a frat house that runs a daycare.

Being that I am super Type-A and OCD, I could only ignore the mess for so long. I started finding ways to clean the house and still spend time outside. I would clean one or two rooms, and just tidy-up and organize the rest. After a week or two, I got a routine down. Even still, I was so damn exhausted, miserable and unfulfilled from that schedule. So much so, I cracked.

I broke down to FTD insisting,  "I couldn't do it ALL anymore." I couldn't handle the house, groceries, bills and garden and keep the toddler clean and fed. I needed help, or I was going to need a padded room and a straight jacket.

And rightfully so! Why in the hell should I have to do it ALL?  Why am I the one racing around keeping the frat house with a daycare, tidy? It's 2015, Housework is no longer, "the woman's job."

Oh. Hell. No. It. Isn't!

I had hit my limit and needed FTD and Ollie to step up to the cleaning plate. Starting immediately. Those two were going to help me, or be in big ass trouble! So, I announced that I was going on mom strike. I was no longer jumping to cook or clean.  I was no longer going to do it All!

My mom strike lasted five days, and coincidentally, taught me five life-long parenting lessons.

1. I created the filthy beasts living in my house. My need to have things cleaned and organized my way led me to always doing the cleaning myself. I would turn my head to Ollie chucking his socks across the room. I would let Ollie go up to bath at the end of the night with FTD while I cleaned up his mess and organized toys into their respective bins. At first, I didn't mind. I wanted the house cleaned to my standards, and I was sure FTD and Ollie couldn't come close.

It turns out, with direction, they can. Kind of.

Goats. Toddlers. Same thing. 

2. My Timing and FTD's timing are WAY OFF.  Every night, immediately following dinner, I would jump up, do the dishes and clean the kitchen. While being on my mom strike, and letting the dishes pile up, I realized that both my kitchen and head will not explode if the dishes aren't done immediately. I have the need to do everything immediately. FTD has a need to sit back, relax and deal with the dishes later. My mom strike was epic in teaching me that if I wanted help around the house, I had to accept that it wasn't going to be done immediately.

3. There is NO reason my three-year cannot pick up his own damn toys. He's old enough to "get-it", now. I had a girlfriend who taught her toddler that the 'Clean-up Fairy' will come and take the toys not cleaned up at the end of the night. It worked for her son, and now it's working for mine! The trick is to hide the toys left out, and then on nights the kid does clean, after the child has gone to sleep, put the stolen fairy toys back as a reward for keeping his toys tidy.

4. I don't want a damn cape; I want a cocktail. I'll be the first to admit, I need to chill the F*$k out. I run around like a crazy person trying to keep my house in tip-top shape. It's like I have something to prove to myself and the world.  I waste so much time picking up and cleaning things that get wrecked 30-seconds later.  WHAT THE HELL?  It's so not worth it. It's like I think if I have a perfect house and a well-behaved child, then I get to go to the Hero Mom Ball at the end of the year and claim a super-hero cape. Well, screw the cape, I'll take a cocktail and a better use of my time.

5. Mom strikes are so awesome; I'm already planning my next one.  I cannot recommend enough going on strike. If you are worn out, feeling under-appreciated, sick of being the one that does everything, while your partner and child are having a blast watching you, then call a strike! Clean up after yourself ONLY! When they start complaining... FIVE DAYS LATER. (Filthy beasts!) Make a list of things you do, hand it to your family and haul ass out the door. Go to the park with a good book. Let them realize just how much effort it takes to keep the house cleaned, cupboards stocked, clean laundry in the drawers, bills paid and any of the other four million things you do in a day to keep your family healthy and happy.

I'm sad it took me flipping out, crying to FTD and letting my house turn into a shithole to get to this place. But, in the end, it was worth it. Look, the man is a professional dish-guy now!

Have you ever thought about or gone on a mom strike?

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com