Have you heard about the mom who went on strike? For six days, Jessica Stilwell, mother of three girls, refused to pick-up, clean up, or otherwise wash anything for her daughters in the hope that they would simply do it themselves. Sure, they eventually broke down and cleaned the mess but only after six days of forcing their family to live in squalor. Who wants to live through that??
I’ve often dreamed of going on strike except in my dream I run away.
I run away to a beautiful tropical island where I don’t have to look at six days worth of dishes in the sink or clothes on the couch. If I’m going to teach my kids a lesson I might as well do it in comfort.
But, alas, fleeing to a tropical locale is not always a realistic option. That’s why I’ve come up with a new solution: throw out your back!
No plane ticket required; just a lack of mobility and a hefty doctor’s bill (unless you’ve met your insurance deductible for the year, then your golden).
Sure it’s painful; but it has an upside: even if you want to clean up, you can’t. Ms. Stilwell had to fight her natural impulses to scrub, organize and scream. I get to escape to my room and lay on the floor, no questions asked.
I really can’t push a vacuum cleaner or empty a dishwasher and, although, I suppose I could assemble a meal (or at least pick up the phone to order one) why would I do that?
I don’t want to give them hope.
Which reminds me; don’t let them see you doing ANY housework. Don’t wipe down the counters, or let the dog out or even fluff a pillow. They are looking for signs that you are improving. If you can put away the cereal box, then obviously, you are well enough to do the laundry. Don’t give them hope (this, by the way, applies to your spouse as well).
If you opt for this plan, however, make sure at least one of your children sees you writhing in pain. There is no substitute for this. If they only see you limping around or moving slowly, they may know you are in pain, but it may not be enough pain to prevent you from making them lunch.
Unfortunately, only my youngest saw me injure myself while taking off my boots. (Yes, taking off my boots did me in, and, no, I’m not 80-years-old). My subsequent screams were enough to reduce my 12-year-old to tears. Now, if he sees me lean forward to get something or I simply ask him to do something he jumps to my aid.
My oldest, on the other hand, missed the show. He came home after I was already tucked in bed at 8:30 at night. Although that did seem disturbing to him, it clearly wasn’t enough for him to really understand the extent of my pain. The following day I actually had to text him from my prone position on the family room floor to get him to let our barking dog in.
He was sitting 15 feet away.
Yelling for him didn’t work because he had his ear buds in and the music was so loud that even I could hear it. Now, normally, if I need him to do something and his ear buds are in I have two options: walk up to him and yank an ear bud out or—as is more often the case—I simply do whatever it is myself. This time, however, I didn’t have much of a choice. So I sent him a text.
I saw him lean around the corner to see why I was texting him from 15 feet away. I looked him in the eye as I reached for my back and moaned. Unfair, I know, but, come on! I’m on the floor!
He only bitched for a little of the 20 foot walk to the door.
At that moment I actually considered recreating my back spasm so he, too, could witness the extent of my injury. One pull on my cowboy boots or a quick twist to the right and bam! Maybe that would be enough to make him stop complaining. But, no, even I’m not that much of a masochist.
Or aren’t I…
Did I just hear my youngest mutter that he doesn’t have any clean clothes to wear? Where are my boots?