Kids under the impression that a mystical laundry-loving fairy magically makes their clean clothes appear in their drawers? Perhaps they think the dirty dish elves pop out of the cupboard and clean up after them. When you start to feel that the kids are completely taking you for granted, take a tip from my mom. You need to go on strike.
Teach kids responsibility
When I was a kid, and my brother and I were getting too self-absorbed and demanding, we would suddenly find that many of those things we took for granted weren’t getting done. It was never something critical—we were always well cared for. But there’s nothing like not having clean underwear to realize, someone washes them.
Mom would’ve made the ACLU proud. Here’s how she did it. For a day or two, she would stop doing most of the mom stuff that you can let go without major detriment—things like laundry, dishes, rides to friends houses, picking up toys.
Me: “Mom, I want to go to Jenny’s and I don’t have clean socks.”
Mom: “I’d like to help you with that, but I’m on strike. You’ll have to play with Jenny another day, and you know where the washing machine is.”
My brother: “Mom, where’s dinner? I’m starving?”
Mom: “Sorry to hear that. I’m on strike. You’ll have to fix it yourself. You know where the peanut butter is.”
Me: “Mom, my favorite hair band is missing.”
Mom: “Perhaps if you clean your room, you’ll find it. I’d help you but, I’m on strike.”
It’s not about guilt, it’s about respect
It usually only took a couple days for us to realize all the things my mom did for us. Her strike wasn’t to make us feel guilty and I never questioned that she loved me. She was teaching us to respect her contribution to the family. Everyone in the family had a job to do, and we each needed to appreciate and respect each other’s contribution. (See this blog: You do your job, I’ll do mine- Teaching kids responsibility Whether you bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, wash the dishes after, do your homework while someone cooks (or all of the above), we all have responsibilities in the family that must be appreciated.
Teach responsibility and self-confidence
The side benefit of my mom’s strikes was that we learned to be more responsible for ourselves. I gained self-confidence knowing that I could make my own dinner. I could wash my own dishes. I could clean my own room. I was glad when my mom did it for me; but it was a big boost to my self confidence to learn what I was capable of.
(This blog is republished from an early date.)
Mothers of the world unite! It’s time to strike.
Comments are closed.
Comments are closed.