Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Million-Dollar Question

So what does the house look like now??

It’s been a month to the day that I started my strike.  Many people are asking if 'The Strike' worked? Is the house clean? Are the girls doing their chores?

My house is spotless. Each morning the girls spring out of bed before their alarms, get dressed without a fight, eat their breakfast and put away their dishes. They are even wiping the counters before school with pinesol and then bringing me coffee in bed. Each dog is fed and let out before I even open my eyes. After school, each one of them is bringing their lunch kits to the counter, emptying them and wiping them out before they quickly share the task of emptying the dishwasher and setting the table for dinner. Dylan and I have sat down after supper each night as they clean the entire kitchen, listening to them delegate jobs amongst themselves and then attending to homework. Laundry is not only being delivered to and sorted by the laundry room, but also being washed to perfection, folded and put away the second it is done. Last Saturday we cleaned as a family and they eagerly volunteered for jobs like dusting, bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping.  Today each of them asked me what extra jobs needed to be done before computer or TV time.

And I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you at an amazing deal today and today only.

It sounds nice doesn’t it? A girl can dream right? I used to think this was my goal. My perfection. It’s not anymore…well some of it, like the freaking laundry mountain to become at least a laundry foothill.

I am proud to announce that ‘after school jobs’ have been done each day without one reminder. Each dish is being cleaned up immediately after each meal. My dishwasher is being emptied each day with only like 4 nags, not 1000. Laundry is being brought to the laundry room and if its not...I don’t careJ I’m not yelling or nagging. When my girls have noticed me picking up a glass or plate, they quickly have said, “Oops sorry mom, that was mine, or thank you mom”. I did catch Dylan arm flapping the other day…shhhh, don’t tell him I told you.

This was not a magic wand for parenting by any stretch of the imagination. Instead a creative hands on reminder. I do not expect perfection…. it’s not healthy for them or for me. (I keep telling myself this) But we have giggled and laughed a lot these last three weeks. They are kids…normal kids, well-behaved kids and I am blessed. Really all I need to do is just whisper the word ‘blog’ and everyone jumps to action!

I can honestly say for those asking if the lesson did stick…yes it did.  Mostly FOR ME!!

I am a nurturer by nature. For the love of God, when they were out of diapers I got fish, when the fish were flushed I got dogs, when the dogs were no longer puppies I started fostering babies. I have a weird need to take care of things. Except plants. Those things are just so difficult. I think they hate me and die on purpose. Stupid plants. I really need to explore that about myself (not the plant murders, but my need to care give). Maybe I should start a therapy pot for me. Oh wait, I already have one; its red and in a bottle.

I love being a mom and I also love having a clean house. What is more important? Well obviously the clean house…I’m kidding. My anxiety went a little bit high even as I wrote that…but it's true and I am a work in progress. It’s a balance for me between many things. Like teaching them responsibility, doing things for them because I love them, letting go, not letting go, not becoming crazy nagging mom and having time to drink red wine. I drew a smiley face in dust on the shelf AND messed up the vacuum lines in the carpet the other day.  J Gold star for me!

Halloween has come and gone. Thank goodness. I hate hate hate Halloween. Sorry to all the Halloween lovers out there. It’s just so stressful for my type A scheduled/perfect costumes/balanced diet personality. This was the last year for my older girls to dress up and go trick or treating. I high fived Dylan (yes, same hand as I high fived Matt with) as I cheered that we are so close to the end of the costume and candy night phase of crazy in our parenting. I realized as I was falling asleep last night that when all is said and done and our nest is empty…I will miss it.

Halloween wrappers left around the house make me crazy!! I was clear with the girls that anytime I find an empty wrapper around the house this year, I will go into each of their bags and throw away one treat of my choosing. So far so good. Well except for the wrapper…oops, make that multitude of wrappers around me. Those chocolate bars are just so little its ok to have ten(ish) right? Damn Peanut Butter Cups. I have mini chocolate bar shame.



  1. Best of luck. Someone told me that if we never felt anxiety we would never push ourselves that little bit harder. From one Type A to another way to go!!! My other

  2. Glad to hear that the girls have learned from the strike and so have you. :) It sounds like it was a good thing for all. I have enjoyed reading your updates.


  3. As a mother of 5, (identical twin 5 year old boys, 7 year old daughter, 11 year old son and a 13 year old son) and also a Type A personality I completely understand your frustrations. I feel I have become that nagging mother! I do not like this fact all!! Like you, I feel the need to nurture and take care of everyone and everything alone. This has certainly taken its toll on my family and myself. I have been trying to take deep breaths (woosa), take a step back and reevaluate the situation. I have tried to strike. My house fills with trash and stinch, only to end up being cleaned by me. I am happy that the strike has brought some peace into your life. You seem to have a wonderful family and are very blessed. I love my family and am truly blessed myself. Someday (hopefully soon, lol) I will find what works for my family. God bless you and your family. Hang in there!!

  4. Hi, I am a single mom of three teenish boys, 12, 16, & 18. (18 yr old is out now) I saw you on some talk show Id never known existed yesterday and googled you up to read :) Very interesting!
    I recently had surgery and have had to count on my 12 & 16 year old boy to clean our home and cook me meals for the past few weeks! After 2 gramma visits and plenty of lectures lol the house is coming along nicely. I still need to appoint jobs and "nag" a little but things are ok. My sons have always helped around the house and picked up after themselves, with reminders. But this has been an eye opener to myself and boys just how much momma does. I cooked my first meal yesterday and my 12 year old said WOW this tastes better then before lol simple scallop taters ham and brocoli. They have aquired a new found appreciation for me as it sounds your girls have you :) I guess I wanted to say in my own way I can relate :)
    As for your nurtuing nature, Im not sure that will ever go away. I use to take in "stray" people now I take stray or rescued animals haha we have 2 big dogs and a kitten. We did have a stray Momma cat with 7 kittys lol
    I found my career in health care took most of my need for nurturing & balanced my life for the most part.
    Good luck & I am enjoying your blog :)

  5. Sounds like everything is ship-shape - for now! Anyone with kids will tell you the S.S. Parent wasn't built for calm waters, far from it....
    But that's the nature of the beast, isn't it? In your case, Fate was throwing you a bone - a BIG one - in the form of a challenge that yielded ridiculously huge rewards when answered properly.
    Now your kids have seen what happens when they are lax in their duties and more importantly, they've seen what happens when you become a voice for a segment of the population that feels unappreciated at times. You've attracted the world's attention, Jessica; good for you.

    On a personal note, I was truly impressed when you wrote "People go to school and work a lifetime for this career…and here I was in the lobby having it handed to me on a silver platter.'
    its funny how life works; I've been working on my literary aspirations for a few years now and while I'm proud of my accomplishments so far, the next step is proving impossible. A certain segment of the media not only refuses to acknowledge self-published writers, they spit on them at any given opportunity!

    Enjoy your clean home and fresh start, Jessica. I'd say you've earned it.

  6. Of course it's okay to have 10 of them. Halloween chocolate doesn't have any calories or fat, didn't you know?

  7. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)