A woman wrote in asking how to deal with the following scenario: She has a daughter and a husband who do not help her with anything around the house. They don't help cook, clean, shop etc.
She's called three sit-down meetings and nothing changed. She then went on strike for 8 weeks and still nothing changed! She said they had no problem with the house looking a mess and were happy to buy themselves meals out of the house. Meanwhile the messy house was driving her crazy!! Now she doesn't know what to do because the anger and resentment is building up towards both of them and she is not sure how to handle it.
The following is a response from "Bekki" which I loved:
"Which is why I live alone. ;-)
Frankly, do YOU like a clean place and does it make YOU happy to feel good in
it? Then do it for YOU. Ignore the others and YEAH, that can be VERY hard to do.
But once you remove yourself from them and just do what YOU have to do and never
talk to them about anything else about cleaning, etc ever again, they will also
feel that lack of you being removed and withdrawn from them.
I did this for years and years.. my ex would come home, climb into a computer
game and the house was all mine.. "ok, I see how you're playing this" I'd think,
but I DID stand up when after 4 years of my packing his lunch, one evening he
said to me, "you're not packing my lunch right". I immediately replied.. "It
will never be a problem again, because, since I no longer do it right, it's all
yours, I'll never pack it again".. I hear him say, "Oh, crap" under his breath
and that was the end of it.. and of me packing his boring ass lunch at 9 at
As for my daughter, as I just kept MY space clean, she kept HER space clean and
does to this day .. but I love doing dishes as I get to think.. I LOVE keeping
my bathroom clean and sheets changed, etc.. we wont' talk about the rest of my
little condo that I use for storage..
Since you have no help and you admit that you've railed against the whole thing,
change the way you think of things and what you think of things WILL change.
Every day before you get out of bed, smile and stretch and think.. "I CAN"T WAIT
to get around in my gorgeous and clean house! I'll dust, wash, wax and as I
finish every single thing I have to do and bring love, joy, happiness and a
clean surrounding to my family, they will see the joy and love I've given them
and they will just relax and enjoy it with me!"
Will it work right away? who knows? but doing it for a while, giving up and
hounding again just won't get it. DO IT FOR YOU!!! not ever for THEM. YOU like a
clean place, make it so. They love you when you're happy in your clean place,
maybe they'll all grow up and enjoy the vibration of MAKING YOU HAPPY!
Do NOT count on anyone else's participation. At this second, claim that house as
YOUR house.. YOUR space where YOU are going to groove in it and BE HAPPY,
EXCITED, THRILLED to be there! Heck, put on an apron, hold out your hand for the
little birds to land on your finger, and while you sing they will chirp a
response to your tune.
Dance w your Swiffer.. spray your furniture polish like the finest perfume in
the world.. watch Dawn power your grease away (NO idea why I keep endorsing
Dawn, but there it is)! just totaly groove on YOUR feelings that YOU want in
your house.. good, airy, light, fun! And after a great long time, the world will
change as you know it.. butterflies will rule the world and we'll be dazzled by
their irridescence and gently fanned by their wings and glory. Pfft.. well, you
But when YOU get over all the angst that you've worked yourself into, you'll
realize that kids (no idea how many or their ages you have) revolt against
parents on all levels.. esp if they're teens or tweens or whatever.. and if your
husb wasn't trained by his folks to honor your home, you accepted that and have
to work around it.. he may shape up, he may not.. but YOUR vibes are what's MOST
important.. Just know that they might appreciate it down the road, they may not.
You have a couple of choices.. 1) move out and leave them all and find your way
to a commune where EVERYONE contributes, 2) shoot them all and no one will find
them under the clutter for a long time, since the trash will scent the
neighborhood before their bodies are ever found.. and still move out to a
commune, or 3) LOVE YOUR HOME and want to be able to invite dinner guests,
ladies over for tea/cards/recipe exchange and enjoy afternoons.. whatever.. but
rather than 1 or 2, make peace with YOU enjoying doing it all.
It could be worse.. but don't think of them.. think of all the good things that
will come from you not wearing them out with your anger and turning all that energy
into making your home a heaven to be in.
You are amazing and wonderful and a marvelous keeper of the home. And you WILL
be appreciated for it and SOMEDAY (again, see the butterfly theory and bird on
the finger.. NO! Not the finger AS a flipping bird! LOL), again, mercury will
align with mars and THEY WILL GET IT! and actually help out!
Now, when they do, DO NOT respond in surprise and make comments.. just go over
and hug and thank them for helping out and doing such a good job to help you in
your day. How old are these critters anyway? And trust me, if they are girls and
want to start having their friends over THEY WILL CLEAN so they won't be
embarrassed by a 'less than' house like their friends have.. you MAY end up w
more help than you ever dreamed of.. or not..
But you can also establish a 'learn to cook' situation for the kids.. as they
WILL move out someday (fingers crossed that they are a raging success and don't
move back in and you STILL have to clean up after them) and learn to fix their
(you can also create a YouTube page where you video stuff like "how to clean" ~
you can do very short ones on stuff all around the house!, "how to make a simple
casserole" .. on and on and MAKE it a fun and joyful and EDUCATIONAL thing..
just a thought!)
We love ya, darlin, and KNOW if we were close we'd be over helping, having FUN
and making tea and having cookies with you!
I just thought that answer was so much fun! Lighthearted, but truly awesome advice!