Being a mom is a 24-hour, 365-day-a-week job -- there's no overtime pay or compensation, sick time, or even real vacation time. In fact, a lot of what moms get done may go unnoticed by their kids -- until the moms stop doing it. That's exactly what Calgary native Jessica Stilwell, a social worker and the mother of three girls, did to prove a point to her kids about cleaning up after themselves.
Stilwell went on strike when she noticed that her girls, twins, age 10, and her oldest, age 12, were not picking up after themselves and seemed to have the expectation that Mom or Dad would do it. Stilwell reached her breaking point one night when her husband, Dylan, was out of town. After a typical weekend of running errands and taking the kids to various sporting events, Jessica sat down around 11 p.m. on Oct. 1. That's when she noticed the mess and knew that it had not been created by her or her husband.
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Stilwell did not inform her kids that she was going on strike. Instead, she just stopped cleaning altogether. Stilwell did update her Facebook status with this message: "This working mom has officially gone on strike within the home! Nothing said, no warning ... updates to follow."
Unfortunately, it took the kids a while to notice that the house was in total disarray. Stilwell began detailing the mess first on Facebook, then on a blog called Crazy Working Mom. On day one, dirty plates and clothes were piling up around the house. By day two, she wrote, "cereal left sitting in milk in the bowl begins to stink much sooner than one would expect." On day three, her kids began to take notice of their unkempt surroundings. Stilwell's 10-year-old daughter Quinn broke down in tears as she asked her mom to help clean the house.
Stilwell took her daughter on a tour of the home, pointing out that none of the mess had been made by the parents. On day six, the strike was officially over. Stilwell got an apology in the form of her daughters cleaning while she relaxed.
Stilwell says that in the end, her children gained a much larger respect for all the work that goes into keeping the place tidy. Here's hoping the kids learned a valuable lesson, and maybe they'll even share it with their friends.
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