It seems I am surrounded by labour strife. The contentious replacement of NFL officials, the tiresome lack of progress in the negotiations between NHL owners and the NHLPA, and the squabbling between the Ontario government and both the elementary and secondary school teachers’ unions seem to be ongoing dinner table topics in our household. I should also mention the most recent epic collapse in negotiations which saw me cracking under pressure and buying my 12-year old a strapless dress for a recent family wedding. When will it end? Soon enough I am sure for the athletes and teachers; probably not soon enough for my 12-year old and I.
However, the labour conflict that provided the highest relevance and entertainment factor to me was between Jessica Stilwell, aka The Striking Mom, and her children. Ms. Stilwell received quite a bit of notoriety when she declared a strike in her own household. She conducted a week-long experiment in her home free from picking up, putting away, cleaning, sorting, clearing, washing – most importantly – reminding and nagging. She made meals but only washed and put away her own dishes. Despite the fact that she had no teenage boys in her household , no pets that I could discern, and not a single hockey player among them, she still had a lot to write about. Nevertheless, her reflections on her ‘week on strike’ are worth a read with your next glass of wine.
In thinking (and drinking) while I read her blog, I wondered…
How many times this week have you made a simple household request, and got the following answer: either no response at all or “Yeah, in a minute.” Kidspeak translation = “never” or “remind-me-every-two minutes-for-the-next-hour- until-you-threaten-to-ground-me-from-all-known-manner-of-social-interaction-for-the-rest-of-my-life- because-watching-your-blood-pressure-is-entertaining-but-will-soon-be-boring-and-then-I’ll-probably-do-it“.
And about as many times the same week, I would answer with the question, “I wonder what would happen around here if I took on that attitude?” I wouldn’t have the nerve, would you? Or the persistence. Or the patience. Or the budget for the post-apocalyptic cleaning bill. I’m not really sure what would happen in our household if I took on this mission, because I simply do not posses the intestinal fortitude of Jessica Stilwell. I do, however, possess astute scientific hypothesizing abilities and can predict what would NOT happen.
I’m pretty sure that the back door and the garage door would NOT ever be closed and remain open 24/7, making anything of value in our garage (including my Christmas supply of pinot grigio) entirely available to the neighbourhood.
I can say with some certainty that the dogs would NOT survive on love alone, would starve and die (although their life expectancy would likely exceed that of the fish and the hamster because the dogs, at least, know how to beg).
The toilets would NOT ever be flushed (unless I am using one; then for sure it will be flushed and then for sure it would overflow and then for sure I would be blamed for that).
All the lights in the entire house would NOT ever be turned off nor would the TV.
We would NOT have any tops for any of our tubes of toothpaste.
We would NOT have curbside garbage collection anymore because the garbage will NOT make it to the curbside.
Everyone would NOT have any clean laundry but on the upside, I will NOT run out of laundry detergent.
We would NOT have any clean dishes from which to eat but again, on the upside, perhaps a new set of dishes for me is sitting under the tree (but, Honey, in case you’re reading, that would be pretty pathetic).
There would be NO dry towels in the entire house, though there would also be NO need for a humidifier with all these damp towels on the floor and beds.
There would be NO need for me to get my sports update from TSN for each newspaper would remain on the kitchen table spread open at exactly that day’s sports pages.
There would be NO milk in the kitchen frig because NO ONE will walk out to the garage to get more.
Oh, I know, many of you would suggest that I am to blame; that I have raised a household of slack and unappreciative dependents. In the end, I guess it the end the question really was a rhetorical one. We all know that mothers were long ago declared an essential service without the right to strike. Meanwhile my right to seek redress for domestic grievances is – well – chilling in the garage.