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

discipline, food, independence


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Lisa Gayle Bucket Johnson

My teenage son would use my expensie salon shampoo (he has a buzz cut) so I saved the enpty bottles and put dollar store shmpoo in it and hid my good stuff.


tuffy... tuffymama

Some of these seem petty and just plain filthy. I'm not living in filth just to be passive-aggressive. Dirty sheets are NOT staying on the bed in my house. I just say, "take your sheets off your bed and wash them." Done. TP stays in the basket in the bathroom. If it isn't on the spool, it's still within reach. I'm not perfect. If I ever forget to put it on the spool, I don't want one of my kids going behind me and taking all the rolls out after them to teach ol' Mom a lesson. Gah! That's just nasty behavior.

Amanda Briggs

#3 I once saw a brilliant idea for. Kids leave their toys out and won't pick them up? Fine, Mom will pick them up, but they are going into her "chore bucket". If you want your toys back, you have to do a chore around the house to get it. One chore for each toy! The mom I saw do it, even had an envelope on the bucket with cards that listed chores on each card. My son's not old enough yet, but when he is, I plan to remember this trick!


Rose Martinez

I have to agree with tuffymama, most just seem silly and passive aggressive which your children will pick up and it'll come back to you. Oops you made jr mad, he left your favorite book, new make up, expensive purse out for the dog to chew, he didn't tear the leather from you shoes the dog did! I heard an awesome idea, when kids start complaining about not having the right outfit clean it's time for tm to do laundry. Just get a small basket and they can make two trips. I do whole heartily agree with the chore bucket, but that is clear and not at all underhanded.


"Toy faerie" Any toys left on the floor after he's in bed mysteriously disappear over night. Maybe never to be heard from again.

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