THE BLOG

I Went On Strike At Home

15/06/2017 15:13 BST | Updated 15/06/2017 15:14 BST

Pete's first day as a house-husband.

Neither of us could quite believe it.

He took the girls to school and came back with a massive grin on his face: "I think it's sinking in now."

"Ooh why? Does it feel good?"

"It feels incredible.

"We passed some kids, and one of them said 'I've got you for two lessons this morning Sir.' And I said 'No you haven't!'

"And it hit me, I really was just coming home."

And he just looked at me and smiled.

I had a good happy-cry at that.

I've never seen him so happy, so relaxed and so content.

We've all begun to realise just how stressed he was.

I explain to my clients that subconscious stress is like a computer running a programme in the background.

It takes up memory and capacity, and prevents you from operating at full speed.

That's how Pete felt all the time.

He was constantly running a programme called I HAVE A STRESSFUL JOB in the back of his mind.

And now we've hit Force Shutdown on it.

He's like a different person.

His tolerance levels are sky-high, he's constantly joking around and he's actually present with us when he's here.

It's a beautiful thing to witness.

The burning question seems to be 'How's Pete getting on at home?'.

Fecking brilliantly.

And here's why...

Early last year I was trying to move my two businesses forward and struggling to gain traction.

Soul-searching to find why, I asked myself:

"What's holding you back?"

The answer:

"Working from home and feeling responsible for every aspect of family life."

On a normal day I dropped the kids at school, came home, and did all the jobs waiting for me. By the time I sat down to do any work the day was half gone, I was fed up and frustrated and had lost my motivation for doing any work on my business.

Things came to a head one Sunday.

Pete and the girls were having a fab time, laughing and playing together. Meanwhile, I was organising dinner, school uniforms, PE Kits, lunches, swimming bags, and planning for the weeks activities, clubs, playdates and meals. Again.

I thought 'Bollocks to this'.

I was fed up of being the only one who had to think about all this stuff.

Then I made a decision. (After a good cry, obviously.)

I was going on strike.

I typed a "Guide to Being Me", which detailed every job I did around the house, and when it was done. I didn't want to spend my strike answering questions about the washing machine.

I included the things that take up brain-space - days, times and kit lists for the girls' activities. How to do the online grocery order, ideas for meals, snacks and lunches.

I also stressed the need to check in on everyone - is everyone happy, have the girls got play dates arranged, what are we doing for family fun?

The Guide To Being Me was five pages. In a small font.

I went to Pete and told him I was going on strike.

He said "But you know I'll always help you, you only have to ask."

"But I don't want help. Because having help means I still have to do all the thinking and organising - and that's as time-consuming and stressful as all the practical stuff. I want you to know what has to be done without being asked. And I think the only way you'll really know is if you do it all for a couple of weeks without me being involved."

The idea didn't go down that brilliantly to start with to be honest.

So I explained - this is a problem for lots of women.

Past generations fought to give us the right to work, but without enough support at home it's like having two full-time jobs.

I told him that lots of women struggle with this but maybe we could find a solution.

And that if we worked as a team it would allow me to build my business - and that one day I hoped to make enough money for him to quit his job.

So I went on strike. At home.

And fair play to Pete, he took the challenge and he kicked ass.

I was able to fully focus on my work. It felt amazing. And fulfilling!

And Pete finally understood why sometimes I got a little bit stressed by the housework. He fully appreciated how much I was doing that previously went un-noticed.

At the end of the two weeks, we were able to divide all the responsibilities and chores up between us.

Pete continued with his share, without me having to do all the thinking and organising.

We began to thank each other for taking care of things, because we each knew the work involved.

And I was able to keep focussing - working, learning and growing - without the constant and never-ending distractions of being solely responsible for an entire home and family.

I know striking might seem a bit extreme.

But it worked.

That extra time and focus on my business was one of the things which led to me having all the skills I needed when things went crazy in August.

It's certainly made our transition to hubby-at-home really easy so far.

All this, just because I asked myself:

"What's holding you back?"

Now I'm not suggesting you immediately go on strike - but, if you're running a business (or you'd like to) and you also do everything at home - it's definitely a conversation worth having.

What I really recommend though, is asking:

"What's holding you back?"

Lots of love

Michelle xxx