So many of us dream about it but so few of us do it: chuck in the dish towel, lay down our cleaning tools and go on strike from our domestic drudgery.
That's what frustrated mum Jessica Stiwell did for real after she finally snapped and refused to clean up after her 'disgusting' daughters.
Now the Canadian mother of three has become an internet hit after she wrote a blog about her affirmative action which struck a chord with millions of domestically enslaved parents worldwide.
Jessica became so fed up with her children's mess that she announced she wouldn't be doing any more tidying, declaring: "This working mom has officially gone on STRIKE within the home!!!"
She let her husband, Dylan, in on the plan but they didn't tell daughters, twins Olivia and Peyton, 12, and 10-year-old Quinn.
The couple cleaned up each plate and fork they used for themselves but left the girls' dirty dishes untouched. Stilwell wrote that the plates slowly stacked on top of each other like a 'gross game'.
Mould and flies were soon attracted to the mess – and a pet dog ended up cleaning the plates...with its tongue! When the children eventually ran out of clean plates they were given food in doggy bags – nope, not the kind you get in restaurants, but the kind you use to scoop up after your dog pays a visit!
Jessica posted photos of the mess, which included one of a pet that got stuck in a backpack as it tried to get at a rotting school lunch bag. But despite the urge to clean up, Jessica resisted and left the children to wallow in their filth.
She wrote: "Olivia continues to tell me that the kitchen is disgusting. At last count she had made this statement 17 times today alone."
Her youngest girl cracked on Day four. "My little love broke down in the kitchen tonight as she was trying to rinse a glass to use and began to cry," Jessica wrote.
"Through her sobs she said, 'I don't wanna eat out of pooh bags anymore. I don't want paper plates or beer cups for breakfast. Can you please help me clean up?'"
It eventually took two more days before all three girls realised they had created the mess and apologised.
Jessica told BBC Breakfast News this morning that her girls spent the next two days cleaning the house from top to bottom.
"It's not perfect – they are teenagers after all," she said. "But I think they've learned their lesson."
DIARY OF A STRIKING MUM
The dishwasher is overflowing, shoes and backpacks are in the middle of the hallway. Dirty socks, empty gatorade bottles and used kleenex litter the back of my couch. There will be no laundry washed unless it's sorted and beside the laundry room, and lunches will be sent in plastic bags if their lunches are not brought to the counter and emptied from the day (liquor depot plastic bags btw). Homework and agendas you ask? I couldn't give a rats ---. Clean gym strip...Go smelly I say!! I sit back, with a glass of wine and smile..all in silence.
Although I thought Peyton was onto me last night and the experiment had been compromised there is no need to panic. It appears that last night's clean up was a random one off. Whew!! Today she sat down for dinner and looked at the soggy cereal in her spot and exclaimed "EWWWWW, what is THAT??" As she pushed the bowl towards me, I simply said "Why that looks like your breakfast my love" and I walked away. She is no longer my favourite...the dog is, at least he is doing dishes. I fear my sweet Olivia is actually happy with her current surroundings.
It turns out that we are out of 'lunch bags' anyway.... Dylan is just going to use the dogs poo bags. I think it's a nice gesture, after all, they do have those convenient close tie handles.
My little love broke down in the kitchen tonight as she was trying to rinse a glass to use and began to cry. Through her sobs she said "I don't wanna eat out of poo bags anymore, I don't want paper plates or beer cups for breakfast. Can you please help me clean up?" I stood silent for a moment and decided to let her in on it. I began negotiation talks with the 'other side'. NHL my ass...I'll show you how it's done. I took her on a tour around the house and as she noticed that not one item left strewn about belonged to mommy or daddy, her mouth dropped. She hugged me and began to tidy her things only. She has been instructed to NOT tell her sisters.... which of course delights her beyond no belief.
Olivia woke up and announced "You STILL haven't cleaned the kitchen, this is disgusting!!" Peyton asked "We didn't clean the kitchen last night?" WE?? WE?? No dear WE didn't clean the kitchen. They are mad as they want to have friends over this weekend and are too embarrassed. Really darlings? I was thinking about hosting a six course meal for all our friends.
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 poo bags for lunch. Packed lunch packed in..."poo bags."
Have you ever been tempted to do this? Did it work?