5 Brilliant Maneuvers for Moms Who Want Their Kids to Appreciate Them More

my momRemember the mom who went on strike for a week, refusing to clean anything in her house to show her dirty rotten kids what she's worth? Another mother is giving her a run for her money. The mom behind the blog Otis Sidekicks refused to make dinner for an entire week. All her kids got was oatmeal. Every night. For a week!

Sounds kind of crazy, but it worked. After days of bland as anything eats, her kids had a whole new outlook on complaining about what she made for dinner.


As her eldest son said of the week of oatmeal:

I don't think this was as much about food as being nice to mom. Sometimes I am really nice about food, sometimes I am not, it has to do more with me than the food.

Bravo kids! Way to learn your lesson! And bravo, Mom, for sticking to your guns. It makes me wonder if this whole "striking Mom" movement couldn't be applied to other segments of a Mom's (or Dad's) life. Could we finally end some of the bad habits by simply going on strike?

More from The Stir: 20 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Grows Up


1. Bedtime Stories. I used to love snuggling with my daughter and a book. But kids seem to reach a certain age -- and I've confirmed this with some other Moms -- when bedtime is more about keeping Mom camped out in their rooms because they don't want to go to sleep. To heck with the fact that you have their lunch to pack, three loads of laundry to do, and you'd actually like five seconds to sit on your couch and just do NOTHING after they go to bed.

  • Best Strike Move: Record yourself reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (or something similarly mind-numbingly repetitive). Present book to your child along with recording set on repeat. Supply this and only this as "bedtime story" for one week. 

2. Laundry. I do not mind doing my daughter's laundry. Our washer and dryer are both down one whole flight of stairs from our main living space, and at 7, I do not expect her to lug baskets of clothes up or down. I do, however, mind that the clothes I just cleaned are more likely to end up on her floor than in her closet.

  • Best Strike Move: Simply quitting laundry seems a bit too obvious, and I'm not mean enough to make my kid go to school in dirty clothing. Laundering the only one outfit over and over? That I will do.

3. Toy Pick Up. At any given moment, there are at least five or six random Littlest Pet Shop figurines or LEGOs in my living room. They bother me most when I step on them. Because, well, have you EVER stepped on a LEGO?

  • Best Strike Move: I am not giving up on cleaning my house. But leave the toys where the new puppy can get them? Don't mind if I do. At the very least, there will be fewer toys to clean up in the long run.

4. Changing Their Sheets. If you have a child who insists on sleeping on the floor night after night, eventually you get tired of climbing on that top bunk and pulling fitted sheets off the corners.

  • Best Strike Move: This one is rather obvious. Stop changing the sheets. It may not change the behavior, but it will certainly save you from banging your head on the ceiling in that top bunk.

5. Stocking the Bathroom. Do you live in a house where there never seems to be any TP unless you refill it or toothpaste unless you grab a new tube out of the closet? My daughter is forever leaving empty rolls on the toilet paper hanger and empty tubes of toothpaste on the counter.

  • Best Strike Move: Leave all items in the linen closet (where they have always been). Bring only what you need into the bathroom with you, returning the excess to the closet. It may be a pain for you, but imagine how much worse it is for them.

If you were going to go on strike, what would you do to get your kids' attention?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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