Dreaming of strike action

5am and you’re up, Monday to Friday, not through complete choice. No, just to get a cup of tea in peace. ‘Peace’, of course means whilst feeding the cats and rubbing the dog’s tummy (the dog they all wanted) so that he doesn’t wake up the entire house and thus, in one bark, negating the entire point of you being up so fucking early.

Whilst the tea is brewing, you unpack the dishwasher, lay out the packed lunches you made the night before and empty the recycling bin. Whilst drinking your tea, you write a list. On this list there are things that need to be done. In theory you are writing this list for the entire family to pitch in and share it out. Willingly and joyously. Like they would in a commune – each member taking responsibility for the chore that relates to their strength. But no-one in your family appears to have strengths in the chore department. Nobody notices that the clothes make a long and tiring journey from body to washer to dryer to airer to drawer. Nobody notices the donkey that carries them.

You hear voices upstairs and you sigh. Time up. Buckle up. Brace, brace…

“I’m in the shower!” “Where are my tights?” “Darling, have you seen my wallet?” “I hate you!” “Can you sign my planner?” “I need a pound for own clothes day”. “I need new shoes” …

You need to get to work. You dodge the missiles, but still manage to get hit. It hurts and you want to scream, but you know that you wouldn’t be heard. The storm cloud of husband and teenagers leaves the house just ahead of you. You shut the door behind you on a mess that will greet you with arms flung wide open on your return at 6pm.

Your train is cancelled due to the strike and as you clutch at your one bastion of freedom that is a Costa coffee, you dream of going on strike. You stand there on the platform and you imagine that one day your service will not be running: there were crisis talks, but no resolution was reached and the dispute continued. The two sides could not agree. One side felt aggrieved that she did all the work running the home, for no extra pay and the other side disagreed and felt that her allegation was unfair.

Work is spent juggling texts from teenage children who have lost things, who need lifts later, who want to stay over at a friends, who are wondering what you are doing a week on Saturday because they need a lift back from a party and, somewhat miraculously, it is also spent doing work: managing, delegating, presenting, answering questions, writing reports and feeling a little bit human.

Your key is turning in your front door and every night, Monday to Friday, you have a tiny hope that you will walk in to an oasis of calm. Perhaps some rose petals scattered, following a candlelit path to a bath overflowing with bubbles. Every night, Monday to Friday you walk into everything that hasn’t been done and more. Like a rabid dog you are on it. You are filling pans with vegetables and boiling water, whilst yelling for someone to feed the cat, as you put the dog out for a wee, at the same time as you are listening to a grievance about a teacher and it is all done whilst you are still in your coat.

Your husband walks through the door, the Clyde to your Bonnie. You are a team once more. Back-up has arrived. “I’m just going to take off my suit and I’ll be down” are his cheery words.

“Noooooooo!” You want to scream. “Not the fucking suit!”

The suit that means the lie down on the bed, the check my Facebook, the take a leisurely shit.

Every day, Monday to Friday nobody seems to care. Nobody seems to notice. One day…one day you will get your freedom. Just not today.


51 thoughts on “Dreaming of strike action”

  1. Loved this Alison and I consider it almost daily! Last year I went on a semi-strike. For my own sanity from the pressures that we are expected to manage daily, and be happy about it! I saved up and booked to go to a spa. Everyone thought it would be a day jobber at a hotel. Oh no. I arranged it to coincide with my son’s days at his dads, sorted extra pick ups from school and then took myself off to Champneys for 3 days. Alone…pahahahahahaha! X

  2. This is a brilliant post! It’s such a mother thing to notice both big things and little things when they need doing. Unless they’re not done for a little longer than normal, but then everyone else is incredibly quick to point it out! This is why every single mum should be entitled to a day off just for them. I now take a day off every few months which is just for me. Because otherwise I would go mad! Sounds like you definitely deserve the same! #BlogCrush

  3. Whilst all with your coat on. That’s what the husband doesn’t GET, that in order to have dinner on the table before the child melts down and the dog fed and the laundry hung, you need to get started AS SOON as you get in. Not after you have made a cup of tea and played with the dog and child. The dog and child will love you if you play with them, but will be unfed. It is having a complex critical path analysis automatically playing out in your head, all the time. Getting the pasta water on before you start hanging out the laundry. It riles me that he doesn’t get it, and the one night when he is expected to do it, it doesn’t happen my way. But it does happen and if I were to explain the above detailed moan I would sound so pathetic and controlling!

  4. I don’t even work and I can relate to this..especially the bit about hubby coming home and having a leisurely shit and hide in the bedroom…mine does this every.single.day. Thanks for linking this up to #BlogCrush xx

  5. It’s like you’ve captured every mother’s day to day life! Love it! But kind of sad too, right? I sometimes wondered if it was my fault, that I made it happen and should do differently. But now I see we are all in the same sh… So, here’s to you and to me! we’ll make it trough! :)) x #anythinggoes

    1. It’s definitely not our fault! Although I do think we need to make everyone else in the house aware of our thoughts…not that they’d necessarily listen or change!

  6. Oh the chaos of motherhood – so many similarities to my household! But wouldn’t change it for the world would we? Though maybe one day of strike every now and then could be the treat we need – go book a spa day!! #MarvMondays

  7. I’ve only got a little one, but this feels like my future in a post! Do it. Go on Strike. See how they cope. No one realises how much you do until you don’t. They’ll soon learn that they have to take their own action! Or at least, that’s the dream, hey! #marvmondays

    1. When I stomp around muttering to myself about how no-one does anything, I just get: “Oh Mum, you’re always saying that”…erm well, yeah!

  8. Oh my God, I thought it was just us – “I’m just going to get changed then I’ll be in to help” literally means, have a lie down, have a crap, listen to some music on his phone, check Facebook, moan about work for 10 minutes, grab a snack… Hahahaha! Loved this. #MarvMondays

  9. Oh god, the suit line got me! Mine does this and I die a little overtime. He also gets an hour every morning, taking a shower , going to the toilet while I juggle everything else. Wasn’t til I joined Mumsnet and ready the monthly threads asking, “Why men feel so entitled to 45 minute toilet breaks?” I realised I wasn’t alone.

    1. It’s definitely a them and us situation a lot of the time, isn’t it? It’s so funny that Mumsnet made you realise this was a normal feature of a relationship!You are certainly not alone! (Not that it makes it any easier to bear!)

  10. Hi Alison, you’ve described being a Mum brilliantly. I must send this to my husband to read as he thinks is the only house where children don’t willingly (and without being told) do their chores or pickup their clothes. That time before they family wakes up is the best, it’s my favourite tie of day.


  11. Great post! I only have a little one at the moment and another on the way, so can’t relate to the teenager bits yet (the joys to come I guess!) but the rest is all very familiar. My husband does the same thing with getting changed and having a poo when he comes in too! I do wonder re the differences between men and women if part of it is that they know we will always think about the ‘little’ things like washing/school bags/food shopping etc and so they don’t bother as they know they don’t have too? #DreamTeam

  12. Omg this just sound like my house! I am going to my mum’s next week for 4 nights to look after her dog while they are on holiday. I am so looking forward to it! #FamilyFunLinky

  13. You made me feel tired reading that!! Maybe you should go on strike! As your husband walks through the door intercept with a – I’m just going to take my coat off upstairs, watch the pans boil for me… it may work!!? β€ͺThank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  14. Love this Alison. When I was on maternity leave and my husband working I used to do everything. He used to come home, have a shower, have a snack, relax. Our role reversed and I went back to work. The minute I get in the door in the afternoon I am in Mum Mode. I make a cup of tea, I start making dinner – no shower and no snack and certainly no relaxing!

  15. You definitely need to renegotiate the terms of your position lol! But on the bright side, at least if you do it, you know its done right!
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes πŸ™‚

  16. Fab post, I was nodding along with you the whole way through. Especially the Hubby coming in and having to change… the leisurely shit and Facebook reading!! My Hubby does the exact same thing!! Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

  17. Yes, exactly that! It’s as if we somehow share windows to each others houses, expect mine is a single fournado rather than gaggle of teens. When the underground goes on strike I do often wonder what would happen to the world if all the mums went on strike for a few days too. Forget transport coming to a halt, it would literally be EVERYTHING! Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam x

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