Saturday, 6 October 2012

DAY SIX




I hate to disappoint you all…but late last night all three children caved.  The Strike is over.

They actually began turning on each other. It got ugly. Each one blamed the others for the mess and they began yelling at one another to pick up after themselves.  Oh the irony. I wish I had filmed it. The drama and fight was Oscar Award winning worthy, or a nomination at the very least.

Dylan and I did not intervene in the fight, which of course made them turn on us. Their anger at why I hadn’t cleaned up made me laugh. Turns out my laughter was like poking a bear;  hormonal pubescent bears with dirty clothes and pooh bags for lunch.  Not pretty. Each of them insisted NONE of the mess was theirs. So we took a walk around the house. I even held their sticky little hands as I led them around on our discovery tour.  Good times I tell ya, good times.

Now we all now that at the age of about 12 each child has a magical transformation that enables them to know EVERYTHING there is to know about ANYTHING. Ironically at the same time of their knowledge acquisition, adults around them lose ALL of their own previous knowledge in any way, shape or form. This is confusing to me as I was once was a 4.0 student with scholarships and my name on the Dean’s List and Presidents Honour roll.  Apparently now I’m so clueless that I could make a guest appearance on TLC’s Honey Boo Boo.  Regardless, no matter how hard they argued that they were right and I was wrong…the evidence around us was like a CSI crime lab.  Yeah, that’s right, I went all ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ on their ass’s. And science doesn’t lie folks

Humour is obviously an important part of our family life. We kept it light and made jokes as we talked and explained what has been going on. They argued as they told me some of the mess was mine. I’m a little embarrassed at the satisfaction I took from explaining that I had washed only my dishes and picked up only my things. Ahh, who’s kidding who, I'm not embarrassed. I loved every freaking minute of it. It helped that I was already one glass in.

Dylan jumped up and down yelling while flapping his arms in the air “I PACKED YOUR LUNCH IN POOH BAGS!!! LOOK AROUND YOU PEOPLE, YOU ARE DISGUSTING CREATURES”. I was worried he was going to have brain aneurysm. I poured him a glass of wine.

The light bulbs went on…some brighter than others.  I never really liked science but a bonus conclusion of this experiment was to watch and learn more about my children’s personalities by how they reacted.  I should have included this in my original hypothesis.

Olivia told me this was the “Dumbest thing ever!! Kids have parents for a reason, to clean up after them”. I almost spit my wine out at that one...but I held back as I didn’t want to commit a wine crime or face having to have the carpets cleaned on top of it all.  She was irate that I had ‘lied’ to her all week telling her I was ‘busy’. No, I really was busy my sweet Olivia. Busy getting my nails done, busy drinking red wine and busy writing a blog all about the basement trolls I live with. She was down right angry and blaming everything on everyone around her. If I recall from my psychology classes this is called ‘External Attribution”…..or Socio-Path. I really can’t remember which right now.

Peyton announced that she  ‘knew something was up” Really Einstein?? What was your first clue?  The Jenga game of dirty dishes on the counter, the homemade crazy glue or our new colony of fruit flies that I have started giving names to and tucking in at night? Although she laughed, she insisted that only 5 thing left out were hers. Yes, that’s right, 5 things in 5 days. What a little angel. I call bullshit. I think it’s hard for her that I was right. Oh, I love saying that, lets say it again. I was right. I made her do the “I was wrong, you were right dance” complete with Jazz Hands. I filmed it; perhaps I will post it someday. She did laugh hysterically at my creative parenting and I realize she comes by her snorting honestly.

All three of them apologized and did thank me for what I do. I must admit I imagined this moment a week ago very differently than what I actually felt last night.  I pictured we would all hug and cry while the “Wind Beneath My Wings” played as background music. They would  crown me the best mother in the world as they all cheered me on and applauded my brilliance. In reality, the theme song in my head was from “Chariots of Fire” as they all yelled and fought around me. I closed my eyes and imagined I had just climbed Mount Everest and as I stood at the top of the mountain I screamed “THAT’S RIGHT!! IN YOUR FACE SUCKERS!! I WIN!!” I’m not proud, but its how I feel. Like the Stilwell Fight Club.

Today began the cleanup. I am not touching a thing and this house is on lock-down until it is to my standards. I’m sitting on the couch drinking coffee that I made them make for me. Quinn continues to gag and mini barf in her mouth every time she goes near the sink. She had to sit down as she felt sick.... awe muffin...are you ok?

Olivia held a glass of  ‘milk’  UPSIDE DOWN and announced  “Look mom, we made cheese!!”  I laughed and laughed and laughed. No I didn’t.  But I sure as hell giggled when she was dry heaving over the sink as she tried to clean it.

Peyton cannot believe that she lives with such pigs. I guess self-awareness is hard at this age. They all continue to blame each other and argue about who has cleaned up what. The fighting today is like WWIII. I now understand why some creatures eat their young.

I am assuming the clean up will take more than one day. Some of the small people are taking a break from this daunting clean up task to paint their nails. That’s seems like a priority. Good choosing girls.

I know some of you are sad ‘The Strike’ is over. But feel happy for me please. I WON!! And those of you who know me well know that I do love to win. My goal is to post ‘after’ pictures of my clean house in tomorrows blog and let you all know how the clean up went. But more importantly I hope you will read tomorrow as I explain from my heart why I decided to actually do this strike, how I followed through with it and what I learned.

But for now, it’s the weekend and I’m pretty sure it’s ok to start drinking earlier than usual todayJ Raise your glass with me!!

                                                   Glass of upside down milk...and a bottle of Pinesol at the ready :)

72 comments:

  1. I noticed the pine sol!! The house will be back to normal soon! Good for you to stand up and not back down. I am pretty sure I would have caved after day 2, no matter how much wine I actually drank, or I would have lived in drunken bliss until it was over. Congrats!! YOU WON!! :)

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    1. Thanks Kim:) If not for the blog and the wine..I may have caved on day one!!
      J

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  2. Ok, this is pretty awesome! As my kids are only 3, 6, and 9 I think they're a little young to get it, but when they're old enough, I plan to stage a re-inactment of this experiment to get my own results. I think there is a very valuable lesson here to be learned. And even if they seem not to get it 100%, the results will sink it eventually. And in the meantime, it is fun to win. :) Absolutely LOVE it.

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    1. It is fun to win!! PLease let me know when you strike and let me know how it goes:)
      J

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  3. While I am sorta bummed that this hysterical journey is over, I am thrilled for you, because I suspect that you second-guessed yourself a zillion times, as mother sometimes do.

    But Mama...this is one incredible lesson for your kids (and will likely be for mine too, when I, inspired by this blog, stop being their slave. It's gonna happen, I can feel it.)and you've brought light and belly-laughter to so many of us out here.

    So really, you're like the gift that keeps right on giving. It's Thanksgiving in Canada...today, I'm thankful for you!

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    1. I initially read your comment as I was about to board a plane to New York and was feeling very overwhelmed, to say the least. I want you to know that your comment brought tears to my eyes and your words of encouragement were needed at that exact moment. Thank you...from my heart:)
      J

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  4. I loved reading your blog. I hope your girls learn their lesson, but if they don't, feel free to go and strike again and write about how long it takes them to figure it out that time. Often a lesson must be repeated 3 times before it is learned, in which case, you still have plenty of humor and wisdom to impart :-D
    Have a happy day!

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    1. I'm pretty sure if I decide to strike again they will be onto me pretty quick..but I promise I will find something to write about....
      J

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  5. I will just admit it. Your house at day 6 looks like mine at the end of everyday. Then I spend hours, literally HOURS every evening cleaning. Not that I don't try to curb the mess throughout the day! I just cannot keep up with my four kids and still do things for ME (running, reading, creating)! So I have to choose between doing things for myself or for my house (which is hard to differentiate sometimes)....

    http://shumakerfam.blogspot.com/2012/02/explorations-experiments-and-art.html

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    1. I agree that keeping a clean house is for my own mental health, yet finding the balance is SO hard. I also find it hard to keep up with the kids, dogs, sports, husband and work etc...so I am learning to carve time out for myself too!
      J

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  6. Coincidentally, I'm reading my 3-year old "Where the Sidewalk Ends" lately, and tonight's storytime included the poem "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out". It's long, so I won't post the full thing here, but I found it online: http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/699/sarah-cynthia-sylvia-stout-would-not-take-the-garbage-out/

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    1. I LOVE that poem and remember reading it as a child. Perfect for this situation!!
      J

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  7. Loved this blog. I'm a producer in Los Angeles, I'm interested in chatting with you more. Email me at jmerchant@home-and-family-show.tv if you get a chance. Thanks!

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    1. Actually, if you had read interviews with her, you would know that chores and responsibilities had been a part of her kids' lives for years. If you have spent any time with pre-teens, you would also know that those lessons never stick for long. For most families it's dealt with by a series of arguments and constant nagging. This was simply a far more concentrated (and probably more effective) "crash-course" in consequences.

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  9. I read sections to my 14 and 10 year old daughters. They are worried that I might copy this brilliant idea. One is cleaning her room and the other is vacuuming the living room...out of fear that this mama might go on strike! I think I will go pour myself a glass of wine....

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    1. This comment lone made the whole thing worth it. Your kids learning vicariously through mine..FANTASTIC!!
      J

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  10. Great job! I hope that you keep blogging, I like your writing style.

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    1. Why thank you!! I am keeping up the blog and I hope you continue to read:)
      J

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  11. You are an awesome mom! You need a medal! I laughed all the way through your blog. I laughed so hard my kids came to check on me. I had to block the computer screen lest they see what I'm reading of the notes I'm taking. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. I totally want a medal!! :) Glad for the laughs..I laughed at the thought of you hiding your computer screen:)
      J

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  12. You are a funny, funny lady. I was literally crying with laughter. Thanks!!

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    1. Thank you...sorry for the tears though. lol
      J

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  13. i loved ur blog, it just came up on my facebook i tried the strike with my sister few years ago (im her legal gaurdain)diddnt work tho lmao and pinesol is bleach? lol

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    1. Good for you trying with your sister!! Sorry it didn't work but if you ever think of another creative way, please share it with me k?
      J

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  14. I had a friend who got so frustrated with his teenaged daughters slovenly habits and dangerous bedroom he actually used a staple gun to secure the pile of clothes to her floor. So no-one would trip on them.

    His granddaughter asked him last year "did you REALLY staple mom's clothes to her floor?". She was gobsmacked when he said yes, and then blurted "she's not stapling mine! I'm going to go and clean my room!".

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    1. I am taking this one on board! It comes close to a friend of mine who removed his teen daughter's bedroom door after one too many slams!

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    2. Now that is a brilliant idea!! I am going to buy a staple gun for sure!!
      I also have removed doors from being slammed...doors are a privilege not a right...and they had to be earned back :)
      J

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  15. My favourite episode! your are very funny and I hope you continue to Blog!

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    1. Thank you...and I will! I hope you continue to follow.
      J

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  16. I laughed and laughed - noi didn't.

    LOL oh girlfriend, you are the bomb.

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    1. Why thank you!! I love that you called me the bomb..totally made my day:)
      J

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    1. Oh hush. If you don't agree with her methods, do something different with your family.

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  18. Oh my god I think I love you! I have thought of 'striking' many times! I have refused to do laundry if its not put in the basket and oh those lunch bags..yes, my kids didn't like it after they sat on the floor for the whole weekend with leftover food in them...stiiiinky. Too bad I don't still live in Calgary...I'd love to have a glass of wine with you! And I think your new wine glasses are cool!
    Oh ya, and screw you to all those will negative / degrading comments.....do you even have kids???

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    1. Thank you for your kind words!! And yes, if you still lived here I think we could have raised a glass together.
      J

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  19. They actually began turning on each other?!?! That is fantastic! So amazing. You are a genius! I´ve been laughing my ass off here in Sweden. Love this!

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    1. I love that you love this..and all the way from Sweden!! Wow, thank you.
      J

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  20. Oh my god you are my hero. And I cannot believe you could stop yourself from cleaning. I should go on a strike too, but my kids are too young yet. I'll keep it in mind though.

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    1. It wasn't easy trust me:)
      Let me know how it goes if you ever do strike:)
      J

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    1. I am putting on my super hero cape right now!! LOL..thank you!
      J

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  22. Oh, look at you, "Ribs"...passing judgment...ever hear of David Foster Wallace? If not, I suggest you google his name and the phrase "This Is Water"...pay particular attention when you get to the phrase "blind certainty"...because DFW is talking to YOU there...

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    1. I just read David Foster Wallace's 'This is Water" speech. Thank you for leading me to those words...very powerful.
      J

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  23. As a fellow social worker and self-ascribed "mean mom" I loved every word of this. Creative parenting at it's finest. My children have been warned. I was reading this out loud to my visiting adult children who are currently grateful to not have to live under this roof with mom armed with a new idea.

    Your nay sayers are in denial about their own children, at least that is my belief.

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    1. According to my children I am the meanest mom in the world. As far I'm concerned...that means I am doing my job right!!
      J

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  24. very interesting though it might not have been actually interesting to go through. love ur light touch in writing. thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts.

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    1. Thank you...it was always meant to be a light look at parenting so I am glad you enjoyed it.
      J

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  25. Oh my gosh, I have never laughed so hard. thanks for sharing your travels with the world

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    1. I am so glad this made you laugh:) I hope you continue to read my adventures:)
      J

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  26. that is hilarious but is that a beer glass?? haha did they dirty all the regular glasses they had to tap into the barware? awesome.

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    1. Yes indeed the milk cheese is in a beer glass...they began using whatever they could find!! Makes it just that more awesome doesn't it!!
      J

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  27. Hhahaha..you are AMAZING!! My eyeballs almost jumped from their sockets seeing that you have a cheese farm in the kitchen.

    Really, I wish my Mom had done this to me. Instead, she constantly nags. My brain deeply associates cleaning with nagging that now I tend to leave my house as it is. The fear of becoming a nagging mom that drives everyone crazy for clutters or a speck of dust is soooo much greater than the urge to keep my house neat. And I share this phobia with my sisters, haha..her room is just like your pictures all the time!

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    1. Your comment really hits home for me. You make such a good point and I refuse to become nagging mom. The biggest lesson of all may have been for me.
      J

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  28. I know this is an old post now, but I just wanted to say wow you gorgeous woman, thank you for the sharing, the honesty, the laughs and the lesson - that kids are the same all over the world! If you're ever in Sydney, Australia, look me up and I'll pour you the biggest glass of red you ever saw!

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    1. You have yourself a DEAL if I am ever in Sydney...

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  29. I have just found this blog and have laughed so much...............thank you for cheering up a very grey day here in Lochwinnoch, Scotland. I should have tried this when my children were young.......well done :-)

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    1. I'm glad it could bring a little laughter on a dreary day. If it makes you feel any better is has been snowing here all week....blah!!
      J

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  30. You absolute, utter, rocking star! Fantastic writing - and unbelievable persistence - how you stopped yourself from cleaning up midweek I will never know (though the wine helped I'm sure). Just wait till I have a houseful again in the holidays when they all come home... I trust the dogs are booked in for therapy...

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    1. The dogs have definitely had some extra loves and cuddles. I think they liked all the available food...they seemed sad when the house was cleaned up. lol Thanks for the kind words and the compliments.
      J

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  31. There was a link to your story on BBC News today, here in the UK, and I read your blog at work and laughed so much that my colleagues kept giving me odd looks. Thank you for bringing such light and laughter into the world. This method is absolutely going to come in handy in the future, when my little boy (currently 3) reaches puberty.

    Hope you do keep blogging, you have such a great writing style.

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    1. Im so glad you were able to laugh..even at work:) I will keep blogging and I hope you keep reading:)
      J

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  32. Reading this in order - I think the key to disaster, or rather to avoiding disaster when you don't clean, is to know what must be cleaned and what can safely be left.

    Milk can't be left.

    I think, also, the fact that our house is pretty much sitting at external ambient - i.e. refrigerator temperature - is very helpful in this regard.

    JMH

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    1. I'm going to be honest..your comment confuses me a wee little bit:) Of course I know that milk cannot be left out...but this was part of the Strike. I do hope you have had the chance to read the entire blog to help understand what was going on. In any event, I appreciate your advice and hope you got a little chuckle out of the read:)
      J

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  33. Hello Jessica, Im from Brazil, and you story came to me by a facebook update of a magazine.
    Here is the article.
    http://colunas.revistagalileu.globo.com/buzz/2012/10/26/mae-canadense-entra-em-greve-e-conta-tudo-em-seu-blog/

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    1. Ok..the fact that you are reading all the way in Brazil is fantastic!! The fact that I cannot read the news article is not so fantastic...but thank you for sending me the link!! I hope t said nice things...lol
      J

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  34. Hi Jessica!
    My name is Alvaro and I´m from Spain. Sorry about my english.
    Congratulations! I read about you in a national newspaper in my country. Here´s the link:
    http://www.abc.es/20121029/familia-padres-hijos/abci-madre-canadiense-gana-huelga-201210291144.html
    You´re an excellent example to follow.
    Today, the parents transforms their childrens in evil dictators.

    What you´ve done is really AMAZING.

    Congratulations!

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  35. That is pretty damn hilarious.

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  36. I want video of this I'm wrong you're right dance complete with jazz hands. LOVE THAT.

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  37. Hey... You did it right!!! This give all of us a HUGE lesson!!!

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  38. Yeah..Mine twins also turn against each others when they have messed whole home..When I asked: who has did this? They looked so innocent angels and looking each others: I didn´t do anything, she did..he did !!! and then they start yelling (MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM) when they don´t found anything and that it´s MY FAULT :/ I working with with handycap teenagers and they are more clean and organized than mine teenagers. I scaring sometimes to come home to see hell this house :)

    Peace and Love; Petra (from Finland)

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  39. Awesome! I can't believe you lasted 6 days. What I really want to know is did it stick? I have three teenagers and it feels like we are teaching the same lessons over and over and over... Feels like parenting on repeat.

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