I picked the wrong week to go on strike. La Huelga de la Madre (Strike of the Mother, in the labor sense, not a spanking) began on Sunday when two Things chose to ignore my pleas for help. The sun was shining and I thought it was a good time to clear the mountain of moving boxes off the front porch and recyle them. Silly me. One Thing, who got out of her sick bed, came to my aid for twenty minutes before I sent her back.
Last week I commented, “This is how my children wear me down.” This is another way: the selective listening/misremembering when it comes to chores. My mother, La Rábana, was disturbed by this trend at Christmas. Me, my tolerance level was higher. There were a lot of us in a small house and my husband was “on vacation”. I am a whip-cracker by nature but sometimes I have to refrain for holiday peace.
Sunday’s whipcracking wasn’t even a major occurrence. It was just something that needed to be done and I didn’t feel that I needed to do it by myself. I am a devotee of the Country Bunny’s organizational mode of task completion: many hands make light work. The Country Bunny was the original delegator but perhaps I was unduly influenced?
So, when the response was, “Not now, I’m doing my homework” and “After I finish whatever is more important than what you are asking me to do”, I went onto the porch and did most of the job myself. (Honestly, I left a little bit as a visual chastisement). Mr. Understanding was off the hook as he had been gone all week and was preparing a work presentation.
And then it occurred to me to go on strike. No laundry, no meals. Fend for yourselves! If it works for the French and Spanish air traffic controllers, why not for me? Perhaps I might even cross somebody’s radar?
There was no family meal on Monday evening. I washed my own clothes.
The Bible verse Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” was taped to a glass of water when I went to bed that night.
And then Tuesday morning, the non-compliant Things came into my bedroom at 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. respectively, complaining of headaches, sore throats, and fevers. Naturally, I had to go back into service cranking out chicken soup, carrying trays of ginger ale and ibuprofen to their rooms, and emptying the garbage cans of horrifically germy Kleenex of not only one, but three children, as part of some hideous cosmic joke. Only their utter misery has mollified me.
Even though I missed my bible study this week, I was schooled in another way. As was the sneaky Bible quoting child. If only they’d moved their eyes a little farther down the page to verse 3:20: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord”!
I am not going back on strike just yet. Paris in March for a Mother’s Vacation will have to do. Just as long as the air traffic controllers continue to do their jobs.