• Tue, Oct 9 2012

A Mom Went On Strike And Proved She Is A Sucky Mom For Raising Slobs

Here is some excellent parenting advice for you, and I advise you strongly to take notes. I’ll wait while you find a pen because if your house is like mine, your children constantly steal all the pens and take them to school, so the only writing instruments left in your possession are an unsharpened pencil, a hot pink Sharpie marker, and an eyeliner. Okay. Ready?

If you need to go on strike to prove to your children that they need to help out around the house more you are DOING IT WRONG.

From the Huffington Post:

Jessica Stilwell has lived every mother’s fantasy. She went on strike. For six days the mother of three girls — 12-year-old twins and their 10-year-old sister — did no “picking up, tidying, washing, cleaning, clearing, reminding or nagging.”

It all began on Oct. 1, after Stilwell spent a weekend alone with her children while their dad, Dylan, was away playing golf. Also in the house was a foster baby, as Stilwell is a social worker by profession and regularly takes in infants in need of temporary homes. It was a typical weekend, filled with errands and sports, and at 11 p.m. Stilwell sat down for the first time all day and looked around at all that hadn’t yet been tidied — realizing with new clarity that none of it was mess that she had made.

First on Facebook, and then on a separate blog called Striking Mom, Stilwell spent the week chronicling the dissolution of her home. That outlet, she says, strengthened her resolve.

“If I hadn’t done the blog I wouldn’t have lasted more than a day, maybe two,” she told me in an interview this morning from her home in Calgary, Alberta. “I am a real Type A. The mess was making me crazy. The only way I stayed on this was by telling myself ‘that’s going to be funny to write about tonight.’ “

In the Huffington Post article and the Striking Mom blog you can see what became of the Stilwell home. It basically looks like it was soon to be featured on an episode of Hoarders. And before you accuse me of being all mom-judgey and dirt-shaming these people, I’ll warn you that this is exactly what I’m going to do. The Stilwell kids are two twelve-year-olds and a ten-year-old. They weren’t taught to clean up before now? Parents! You are raising humans here! Humans who will one day grow up and (hopefully) live in their own homes and apartments and need to be able to wash a damn glass and put it away!

My children are not perfect. One of my sons has a tendency to leave Legos and wrappers in his pockets. My daughter forgets to wash the sink out after she brushes her teeth. My teenager sometimes leaves his clothing in the dryer overnight. But this same son has been doing his own laundry and folding it and putting it away since he was twelve. My daughter hangs up the towels after brushing her teeth. And my forgetful Lego son carries down his dirty clothes and puts them away after they are washed. He also helps me fold them. And he has been doing this since he as a toddler.

I don’t do the dishes in my house. My kids scrape, rinse and put their own dishes in the dishwasher. After dinner they all clean the kitchen. If there is a pan that needs a bit of work either me or my husband do it, but the majority of the washing up is done by my children. My job is to purchase the groceries, cook the meals, and provide exciting dinner time conversation. Their job is to clean up after. Yes, we help them after holiday meals or family gatherings but my children have always been expected to help around the house. Especially in regard to cleaning up their own messes.

From the time they were crawling my kids have helped me “clean” the house. You give a baby a basketful of freshly-laundered socks and have them sit next to you while you fold laundry and they are happy as a baby with a basket of freshly washed laundry. Babies are very observant. And by having them next to you and talking to them about what you are doing you are stimulating their little minds. Sure, a baby can’t match socks but a 3-year-old can. And a 3-year-old can also toddle around the house and wave a feather duster around. As a 4-year-old one of my daughter’s favorite activities was washing plastic cups in a sink full of sudsy warm water. She would stand on a chair at the kitchen sink and I would compliment her on “helping” me. It was fun for her and it taught her that in my house, everyone helps. The house belongs to everyone, so the housework belongs to everyone. And because of this, my house is always pretty much “company ready.”

You will never see a pair of socks abandoned in my living room. There are never glasses on my counter. There is never a wet towel on my bathroom floor. 

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  • Lori B.

    While I have been trying to teach my 3 y/o daughter to clean up after herself since she could sit next to a basket of freshly laundered socks, it seems to have just clicked with her. It has been my routine to straighten up right before bed and I try to get her to help. Sometimes she just makes a bigger mess, but I encourage the helping. This weekend we were cleaning the house for a small party for my husband’s 30th birthday. She cleaned off her desk and realized “wow, when it’s clean, I can actually use it!” Brilliant! So after the party the desk was made a mess by her and her cousins, but, then she did something unexpected… she cleaned it up without being asked! Then sat down to draw. I was impressed. She did the same thing the next day. She seems to enjoy helping me now and I hope it lasts as long as she lives with me!

    • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

      It clicked with my two older kids around 3 as well, and as she gets older she will get better and better. My 8 year old is incredibly self sufficient and my 4 year old isn’t too shabby either. My 2 year old son is still learning, lol. It sounds like you’re doing an excellent job!

    • Lori B.

      Thanks:) Seems like you are too!

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    You go, girl! I am with you 100%. When we don’t teach our children how to clean and let them know we expect them to help, we are sending a poor message indeed. We are telling them they are incapable and that they aren’t important enough to contribute, or worse, they are too important to have to help. Learning how to be responsible in all areas starts at home.

    I am reminded of when my oldest daughter attended a six week summer program for advanced high school students. The group was made up primarily of the top academic one or two persons in each class between their junior and senior year. Being gone for six weeks meant the kids had to do their own laundry in the dorms. My daughter ran into kids in the laundry room who not only didn’t know how to do laundry, but they didn’t even know what a washer looked like. Yikes. What a disservice!

    • Grandma

      Love how you worked in the big brag about your daughter. (We’re not impressed).

  • Sara

    With every article of yours that I read, I love your style (of both writing and parenting) a little more.

  • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

    I’ve been training my kids to clean up after themselves since birth, lol. My oldest, who is 8, helps with the laundry (and would do it herself if we didn’t have to lug it down to the laundry mat here in NYC) does most of the dishes (not the good china yet) and picks up after herself. My younger two do what they can, though they are still pretty young. I think it’s common sense to do this, though I was raised by a type A who never let me do anything because she thought no one could do it correctly, so I understand the pathology behind it I suppose.

    That being said, I think the terms bad mom (or sucky mom, lol) are thrown around too much. Yeah, she should be teaching these kids to do for themselves, and it’s a pretty big disservice not to which they will learn soon enough when college rolls around, but a truly bad mom has to do a lot more than pick up too much after her kids. A bad mom beats her kids, or neglects them, or lets her boyfriend molest them. A truly bad mom is a danger to her offspring, not a slob-enabler.

    Maybe I’m being the devil’s advocate here, but it doesn’t sound to me like Jessica Stilwell is a bad mom. Maybe misguided a little (or a lot). Don’t get me wrong, I get annoyed at the idea of ‘mom on strike’ because I think it’s ridiculous that she allowed herself to be put in that position, instead of training her kids to fend for themselves and putting her foot down in regards to her husband. But I definitely don’t think a woman who is kind enough to bring foster children into her own home (which I have done before and it can be heart-wrenching) can be called a bad mom with no other evidence than this.

  • LinZoo

    I thought the blog was hilarious. She says that she did teach her children to do chores but had to nag them all the time. Maybe your kids don’t need to be nagged and you never wind up cleaning up after them out of OCD exasperation. That’s great for you! I don’t think that makes someone with less than perfect kids a “sucky mom.” I was not impressed with the commenters on her blog that said they can’t wait to try this experiment when their kids are old enough. I agree with you that the goal should be for this experiment to be unnecessary, not to repeat it.

  • Michelle

    My MIL is living proof that too many moms take on all the cleaning burden themselves and don’t give their children (or husbands!!!) the tools to be self sufficient. When we were dating my husband would just throw his dishes in the sink for her to wash and laundry would be magically folded in front of his door every morning. His mom does everything in that house hold. FIL is no help and expects her to clean up after him. His thought process is that it doesn’t bother him so if it bothers her she should have to clean it. Thankfully my husband is very type a, OCD clean so he picks up after himself. He knows I sure as hell won’t!

  • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

    I love this! When can I come over and hang out with you and your awesome family?

  • Blooming_Babies

    As my nine year old rolls his eyes at me while doing his after dinner job of kitchen cleanup I remind him that as his mother it is my job to teach him life skills. He is not so far from the “real world” and I will not be following him to college to do his clean up. Out in the real world we all do lots of stuff we don’t love but we usually love the results, like a clean house, or a paycheck, or even a good grade at school. If I could get just one thing through to my teenage self it would have been, just do it, don’t expect everything to be fun or rewarding in the moment but just do it anyway…. The rewards are there you just can’t see them in the moment every time.

  • Another Steph

    Right, cause she’s the only mum in the entire world who has pre-teen children who are reluctant to do chores and thus deserves the title of ‘Sucky Mom’ from a website that touts ‘Don’t judge other mums’ as a mission statement.

    • Another Steph

      And while we’re making personal judgements, your constant use of internet slang doesn’t make you sound ‘hip’ and ‘with it’.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Did you just say I’m not “hip” and ‘with it” ? SAD FACE :(

    • Sara

      Yes, the term is a little strong, but I suspect that the author was being hyperbolic with her use of the term “sucky” to describe the mom in question.
      But aside from that, I would actually argue that if your ten- and twelve-year-old children have so little responsibility around the house that everything goes to sh*t the second you stop picking up after them, then you HAVE failed in a relatively major aspect of parenting, which is teaching kids to be self-reliant and responsible. It seems that these kids aren’t “reluctant” to do chores–they didn’t have any in the first place if the only person cleaning anything up was the mother. Several other posters have pointed out that they or their own children, by this age, were doing things like washing and putting away their own laundry, doing their own dishes, etc. I was, too, in addition to packing my own lunch and making sure that my dirty clothes were in the hamper, not lying around. Like the author’s children, I wasn’t perfect, but by the time I was in second or third grade, there was a basic expectation that I would clean up after myself and that my mother’s job was not to follow me around and pick up my messes. And, like the author, I see this not as my parents being horrible mean slave-drivers, but as my parents realizing that their ultimate job is to raise responsible, self-sufficient people who are prepared to survive in the real world, which (for most people) does not include 24/7 maid service.

    • alice

      the author describes a picture of anal-retentiveness. raising anal neat freaks has absolutely nothing to do with raising responsible, self-sufficient people who are prepared to survive in the real world. (and it’s often counterproductive, as i’ve seen with my little niece who CRIES when something is spilled because she’s so hardwired to fear messiness)

      in short: it’s not a badge of honor that no one would ever find a sock in your living room.

  • Pingback: Hey parents: would you go on strike? | Drink – Play – Love

  • http://twitter.com/numbmum Betsy Shaw

    “You will never see a pair of socks abandoned in my living room. There
    are never glasses on my counter. There is never a wet towel on my
    bathroom floor. ” Well done, you!

    Read more: http://mommyish.com/childrearing/mom-went-on-strike-810/#ixzz28uMr9ozg

  • common sense NOT common

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Are you getting a nose bleed from the altitude? That is a VERY high pedestal you are placing yourself on.

    I think in this instance I will do what my mom taught me – to not throw stones when you live in a glass house and don’t judge others until you have walked a mile in there shoes.

    Glad to know there are “perfect” moms out there to set the example for everyone else (extreme sarcasm!!)

  • Dylan

    With each fun post of how great of moms you are compared to Jessica I laugh. Once you walk a day in her shoes you might understand her life. Everyday she wakes up to happy children who love her very much but fell off a little bit in house duties. This was meant as a family experiment. From the moment they came in to the world she has taught them right from wrong and how to be great contributing members of our home and society. We all wish that one of us could stay home with them but unfortunately we can’t. Shame on this writer for making herself the seem like the mom of all moms. Your judgemental attitude is why women all over the world second guess themselves on how great they really are. Jessica is also a social worker who goes to work everyday to try to help families but I guess you didn’t get that far before you passed judgement. The horror stories out there can never be unheard or lived but every night she comes home with a smile because of what she has ( but yours is better I bet ). The purpose of the website is not to judge but I guess “let he or she that casts the first stone ” was never followed here. I am very happy for all the parents that have great kids, we do too. For all the parents that commented that they are so much better than my wife I’m sorry she can’t live up to your standards but let me tell you she far exceeds our families standards and we love her for it. Sincerely Dylan Stilwell

    • anniepjammie

      ATTABOY Dylan for standing up for your wife and your family values. Being a full time working single mom with a small family at home, I know all too well how its more important to spend time with your kids, let them know that you love them and in the process, teach them lifes lessons and how to be better people. To the verbal “trash mom” who started this rant..have a look at the Stillwell house, look at these kids and their parents, they aren’t neglected, they aren’t in need, and they certainly won’t look back on this time or “ecperiment” with any sort of contempt or feeling that they weren’t cared for or havent’ learned to better appreciate the parents they have and all that they do.
      To the Stillwell Clan, don’t change who you are for anyone, society needs more people who care enough to step back, breathe, and find a little humor in the day to day that often bogs us down and stresses us out. Thanks for letting us into your world so we can have a laugh at your approach to want things to be better without having to preach and seeing that in the end we’re all human and to judge is far worse than letting your house slide for a mere week in the grand scheme of life and the daily grind!
      cheers

    • Another Steph

      I don’t know how I missed this the first time around but oh my gosh, Jessica Stilwell is a foster mother! Yeah Eve, until you’ve opened your pristine home, in which no child dares leave a solitary sock where it shouldn’t be, to someone in need, STFU.

    • fred karam

      Well said Dylan. Good on you guys for not being bullied around by those who point fingers and whisper in the background. And and extra respect for Dylan for standing up for his lady. Both Andrée-An and I know how that feels, and it’s one of the values we try to instil in Lilly-Ann, and ourselves everyday.

    • Mitsya

      Your wife sounds like a truly great (and rather overworked) woman, Dylan. It seems to me that the support and respect you show here could also be shown by encouraging your kids to remember to do their fair share. And if you remembered to do yours– why would the house fall apart when your wife goes on strike if only your children “fell off a little bit in house duties?” Righteous indignation is great fuel for pushing a vacuum.

    • Lisa Brown

      Don’t you guys get what fun it is to write about something? This was meant to be a little experiment, and while you are all so busy passing judgement Jessica is basking in the glory of her being an engaging writer and a GREAT parent. The comments are so sad, and proof that so many of you have too much time on your hands.
      Sad, sad, sad.
      L

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Hey Dylan, thanks for the comment, but I think you should probably help your wife with the housework a bit more. xoxoxoxoxoxox, all the best!

    • Winona

      Dylan, I do agree that this post was too judgemental (or maybe just hyberbole) but I am curious as to your role in the strike. Did you also go on strike with your wife? Because if I went on strike in my house, the worst that would happen is the carpet would not be vacuumed and maybe the laundry would be a little late. My husband helps out with every other chore and even exclusively handles some chores.

  • Frustrated by Judgey-Mommies

    I’m so tired of the judgement placed on mothers by other mothers. Get over yourself. Seriously. Every good mother does her best by her children, whether YOU think it’s the best or not. So – your kids will grow up to be very clean and self-sufficient. Will they also put themselves up on a pedestal and think they are better than everyone else the way you do? I would guess that while Mrs. Stilwell’s children might grow up to be messy, they will also grow up knowing that it is GOOD to help others in need, that it is GOOD to open your home (messy as it might be) to children who are suffering far greater abuses than a mother that doesn’t teach them (to your standards) to clean up after themselves. I think the Stilwell children are not at risk of being a BURDEN to anyone. I think they are likely learning very important life lessons from parents who love them and work hard to make the world a better place. Do I know the Stilwells? No. Do I know you? No. But I know you are the one passing judgement on a mother YOU DON’T KNOW and publishing it as a blog. (And yes … I get that I too am passing judgement. That is not lost on me.)

  • Amanda A

    So she’s a sucky mom for keeping her house clean herself? I’d call her a sucky mom if her house was always filthy. I grew up with 4 siblings. My mother eventually didn’t have to do the cooking or cleaning any more. I found it kind of lazy. She is the mother. It was her house too. My son isn’t even 2 yet. I do all of the cooking and cleaning. We make a game of picking up toys. If he spills his raisins he picks those up to. I don’t even have to ask him. I think its some times easier for the mom to do the chores. I’m sure some mothers feel it puts them in more control of their lives to do it their way. I know that if I do the cleaning it’s done the right way. My sister and I share a house. She does nothing. Not because I want to do it all. She is lazy. Our mother didn’t raise us like that, but she’s still lazy. I also went on strike. For 2 days I didn’t do anything but pick up after me and my son. The floors didn’t get swept or mopped. The counters didn’t get cleaned. The litter box stunk(i’m totally OCD about the litter box). After 2 days I couldn’t handle it any more. I feel like I’m taking care of 2 kids instead of one.Thank god we dont’t share a bathroom! She took a crock put full of dip to work. Its been sitting on the counter for a week!! I refuse to clean it. I’ve made jokes about all the socks and shoes she leaves in the living room. I refuse to pick those up too. They’re in a pile in a corner. I work 3rd shift. I don’t have anyone to keep him during the day so that I can sleep. Which is why I work 3rd shift in the first place. I sleep for an hour or two in the afternoon when my son takes a nap then when I put him down for the night at 8. I get up at 11 to get ready for work. I still have the energy(barely) to keep up a household. There are some days I just want to say F this. I get frustrated when she messes up the kitchen that I just cleaned and doesn’t clean up after herself. I don’t understand how she can not care. I know this may not be relevant to the article, but I needed to vent. Any suggestions on how to bring this up to her?

    • wonderer

      I would just say, hey, while i’m doing this or that will you do this or that? You avoid confrontation and is she really going to say no? If that doesn’t work just sit her down. Tell her how you feel. She’s your sister. If she’s grown she should be cleaning up after herself. I wonder why you got 3 down thingies. Its a legitimate question and concern and relates to the post. You’re doing better than I would have.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      That’s great advice.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh wow, poor you. That’s such a hard situation because she is your sister. I think you just dealing with you and your son is all you can do. Maybe you could write her a letter and leave it on her dirty crock pot? If the litter makes you crazy, I would keep cleaning that, but maybe in the meantime get you and your son some paper plates and cups and refuse to do any dishes until she cleans her’s up. Not the most enviormentally friendly solution, but until she does her part you may have to resort to keeping things simple for you, considering your work schedule!

    • pnutbrittle

      I’d pile up her crap and put it in her bedroom.

  • Kim

    Way to go dylan!! Stick up for your wife.. let the haters be haters. Until they’ve spent a day in your shoes, they can eff themselves. I don’t know your wife as well as I know you, but I do know how you were raised and I do know that family values and the haters are only haters because they didn’t think of doing something so amazing themselves!! Enjoy the ride! You guys deserve it!!

  • Jenn Goodwin

    Eve – maybe instead of teaching your kids how to such
    perfect neat freaks you should spend some time teaching them how to be nice and
    respect others. Teach them that they shouldn’t judge others, especially others
    they don’t know. Have you ever heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its
    cover” ? I do know Jessica and I can tell you that she certainly would not
    teach her kids to use the Internet to bully and put down others. So before you
    write up a nasty post about how bad of a mother a complete stranger is why
    don’t you sit back and realize maybe YOU’RE not so perfect in the example
    you’re setting for your kids.

  • kylie523

    No wonder kids are so self entitled-how dare you try to teach your kids responsibility and reliability!

  • anniepjammie

    hmmm in a world going so wrong with how we treat each other in terms of physical, emotional, sexual and mental suffering…you’d think that we could recognize that these kids are healthy, happy and functioning citizens in society. Seriously, to all of you Duddley do right, no where near as perfect as you apparently claim to be, uptight, too much bloddy time on your over analyzing critically painful hands…get a life, get off the hater train, your 5 minutes of fame didn’t even get near the glimmer of attention that Jessica Stillwell got as she did it in fun…yes…fun…you “ladies” who judge are painfully pathetic. tonite I think I’ll leave the dinner dishes in the dishwasher and not turn it on, leave the clothes in the dryer and not fold them and maybe tomorrow morning in a complete act of defiance to your petty ways, I won’t make any beds!!!! hows that for ya!!!! seriously don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya! HAHAHA!

    • Guest

      For someone who was saying that people who judge are painfully pathetic, you sure did a lot of judging yourself and maybe you should follow your own advice and get off the hater train. Such vitriol in your post.

  • Karen

    I thought this was a very funny post, and I totally agree with Eve. I feel like so many moms take on a martyr role in their households, when it doesn’t need to be that way. Kids LIKE helping out, especially if you make it fun, and these are things they need to know when they move out of the nest.

  • Robson

    I grew up in a house very like Ilike’s, where we were all expected to do part of the work. My mum was a single parent who worked full time to support me and my older brother, and she started teaching us to contribute to the house very young. When I was about 7, and my brother was about 9 she got the flu and was laid up in bed for about 2 weeks. The first school day she was ill for she woke up late and panicked, and went to bang on our doors to wake us up. To this day she’s a tad smug about the fact that we’d already gotten ourselves up, got dressed, had breakfast, made fairly healthy packed lunches and my brother had rung his friend’s parents to beg for a lift to school. At the end of the day we came home with the same friend, my brother made dinner for all three of us and then I washed up. The entire time she was ill we did everything, we were 7 and 9 and with no parental oversight, but cooked almost every meal ourselves (she does admit the meals were quite odd when we were that age, but they did contain protein, carbs and veg, even if that meant fish fingers, pasta and baked beans), washed up afterwards and generally kept the place tidy and ourselves and our clothes clean. By the time I was in secondary school the only meal she cooked was Sunday dinner, she never washed up, and we shared laundry and general house cleaning. She had more time and energy to spend doing fun things with us, and we learned how to take care of ourselves.

    In 6 days these almost-teenager slobs didn’t once wash a bowl, and yeah, part of that laziness is because they’re teenagers, but most of it is because they were never told that that was what was expected of them until after they’d learnt that that was mum’s job.

  • Andrea

    Jeez, Eve, with all respect, in this case, you don’t really know, what you are talking about. You are a tidy person, I’m sure, you’re home was always tidy before you even had kids. But we’re not all this was. I’m not that way. I have always been a very untidy person, seeing through my own chaos. When I was living alone in my 20s, my apartment looked like there was a bomb attack, ‘cos I never cared. It was clean, because I had a lady coming each week, but messy.
    I think I have values, some might even say, I’m a good person, but I’m definitely not tidy or organized. I have great memory, so I could always remember, where I’ve put my things, even in a mess.
    Period. Than I had children. When they were small, they could not learn, how to be tidy and organized, ‘cos I’m their mother. They are great kids though, warm hearted, bright, cute, but messy. By the time I realized, I cannot rule chaos created by four (because I can’t remember, where THEY have put things) it was waaaay too late.
    So now, they are 5 and 7, and I desperately try to teach them to be a bit more organized and tidy, but now it’s not easy anymore. I’m totally with Jessica, and I can truly understand her.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      There is a big difference between “clean” and “messy.” I love seeing books on tables and a few toys scattered here and there. I can’t deal with dirty dishes and unclean toilets and food being left on counters. I’m all for a cozy, happy, nicely art directed mess. I just hate dirt.

  • Sl Melodrama

    Hi, I’m from Sri Lanka and I stumbled upon this site quite by accident and then went on to read some of the great stuff. Anyway, to get on with the topic here, I think a lot of people are missing the point of this article. Yes, the title is very rude, but please look past it to the real SUBSTANCE that this woman is trying to say.

    One commenter says, referring to Jessica Stillwell:”She says that she did teach her children to do chores but had to nag them all the time. ” THIS is exactly the point the author is trying to make, that if you have to nag, then maybe the manner in which you TAUGHT was not so effective. Before you all jump on me, I need to say that my mother herself is a Jessica Stillwell type. From the time I was born until I was about 6 years old she would happily pick up after me and then when I was about 5-6 she started verbally telling me what my chores are and expected me to magically pick up on those and when I didn’t she got frustrated and went on “strikes”!

    This author’s common sense approach in incorporating neatness and cleanliness into children’s day to day lives from the time they are infants is a very VERY good approach. Because lecturing and nagging makes something a horrible experience while what this author is doing is making cleaning up to be second nature to the kids. As for saying the kids are “neat freaks” and “anal retentive” that is just so absurd! They do not sound at all like freaks of kids. They sound like well rounded kids who love their mother enough to appreciate her and help her out.

    Plus, maybe it’s a culture difference because I’m guessing most of you are from western countries and I’m a Sri Lankan, but I saw some posts saying that even if Jessica’s kids are messy they’d still be kind adults? Where oh where does this presumption come from that messy people are more easy going, more fun to be around, more kind etc etc?? I really don’t get it. If these kids are so unkind and disrespectful of their mother and her feelings as to just let the dirt pile up, just because Jessica is a social worker (althoughthat is very admirable) does not mean that the kids are kind kids. In my personal experience I have found it is very hard to get on with people who are so very messy (little slip ups here and there we all have, but that’s not the type I’m talking about) are very selfish people because they only care about their own comfort and refuse to sacrifice or spend any time for another person’s comfort.

    To the author, I don’t know if you’ll even see my comment, and we’re two worlds apart, but I think you’re a great mom!

  • Sl Melodrama

    Hi, I’m from Sri Lanka and I stumbled upon this site quite by accident and then went on to read some of the great stuff. Anyway, to get on with the topic here, I think a lot of people are missing the point of this article. Yes, the title is very rude, but please look past it to the real SUBSTANCE that this woman is trying to say.

    One commenter says, referring to Jessica Stillwell:”She says that she did teach her children to do chores but had to nag them all the time. ” THIS is exactly the point the author is trying to make, that if you have to nag, then maybe the manner in which you TAUGHT was not so effective. Before you all jump on me, I need to say that my mother herself is a Jessica Stillwell type. From the time I was born until I was about 6 years old she would happily pick up after me and then when I was about 5-6 she started verbally telling me what my chores are and expected me to magically pick up on those and when I didn’t she got frustrated and went on “strikes”!

    This author’s common sense approach in incorporating neatness and cleanliness into children’s day to day lives from the time they are infants is a very VERY good approach. Because lecturing and nagging makes something a horrible experience while what this author is doing is making cleaning up to be second nature to the kids. As for saying the kids are “neat freaks” and “anal retentive” that is just so absurd! They do not sound at all like freaks of kids. They sound like well rounded kids who love their mother enough to appreciate her and help her out.

    Plus, maybe it’s a culture difference because I’m guessing most of you are from western countries and I’m a Sri Lankan, but I saw some posts saying that even if Jessica’s kids are messy they’d still be kind adults? Where oh where does this presumption come from that messy people are more easy going, more fun to be around, more kind etc etc?? I really don’t get it. If these kids are so unkind and disrespectful of their mother and her feelings as to just let the dirt pile up, just because Jessica is a social worker (althoughthat is very admirable) does not mean that the kids are kind kids. In my personal experience I have found it is very hard to get on with people who are so very messy (little slip ups here and there we all have, but that’s not the type I’m talking about) are very selfish people because they only care about their own comfort and refuse to sacrifice or spend any time for another person’s comfort.

    To the author, I don’t know if you’ll even see my comment, and we’re two worlds apart, but I think you’re a great mom!

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      awww, thanks and I agree, being a social worker is amazing and thank you for “getting” that the point of my article was mostly humors, and focusing more on how I am raising my OWN kids. I can only talk about me and what I do. xo

    • Another Steph

      Dude, I hate it when you backpedal like this. If you’re going to say something outrageous and give it a controversial title, have the balls to stand by it when the tide of opinion turns against you; your constant, “You guys, I was JOKING! Also, I’m only talking about me!” is so weak and kind of insulting (if you’re only talking about *your* situation and this article is only about how much *you* hate dirt, why make judgemental statements like, ‘Jessica Stilwell, a mom who went on strike to get her kids to actually do something all kids should be expected to do may now have kids who appreciate her more and who will help out more around the house, but she really should have been doing this all along.’?)

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I am having a hard time seeing where this is a controversial statement. ” Jessica Stilwell, a mom who went on strike to get her kids to actually do something all kids should be expected to do may now have kids who appreciate her more and who will help out more around the house, but she really should have been doing this all along.’”
      It’s really, really mild if ya ask me.

    • Another Steph

      I didn’t say that was controversial, I said it was judgemental. Your title is controversial – ‘sucky mom’ is a freaking huge call, and certainly not something that would apply to a foster mother.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I think it’s sucky parenting to not teach your kids to clean up, to raise them to be disrespectful towards you by not being able to help around the house. Regarding foster mothers, I’m sure if you asked Jessica Stilwell if she has ever heard of ” bad” foster parents who are abusive or neglectful she could tell you a story or two. There are amazing foster moms and bad ones. No one can say every foster mother is as great as you say Stilwell is. But foster parents have nothing to do with my article. My article is about how I feel kids should be able to help around the house.

    • Another Steph

      And I think it’s sucky to be a sanctimonious twat. Are you seriously suggesting that Jessica Stillwell might be a bad foster mother? Or are you saying that she shouldn’t get props for being selfless because bad foster parents exist so therefore we shouldn’t praise the good ones? Seriously, you write for a living, make some sense please.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Nah, you lost me at ” twat.”

    • Another Steph

      How convenient.

  • KatMommy

    Eve, you are unbearably sanctimonious. I thought Mommyish was better than this. So disappointed.

    • Kat

      This!

  • concerned

    oh shut up. i fear for the future of your kids

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      My kids will have a terrible future because they know how to wash a plate?

  • Janet

    Don’t pat yourself on the back too soon there are still many years before that you can say “I did a great mommy job.”

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh I agree, all I’m saying is that even if they turn out to be drug dealing serial killers, at least they will know how to match their socks together.

  • DaphneStooper

    http://strikingmom.blogspot.ca/

    Take a read and then possibly ask yourself why you feel the need to attack Jessica or any other person out there. Unless you know her, you really should not speak of her. I do know her and can say she is amazing and a wonderful mother and friend. Her children are beautiful souls with hearts of gold. They are also one day going to be able to access the internet and the hurtful comments will be there to see. How do you think they will feel to see such horrible things written about their mother and themselves. Shame on you for putting trash out there with no regard for fact or feelings.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      ” How do you think they will feel to see such horrible things written about their mother and themselves.”
      I, in no way, think it’s HORRIBLE to say that kids who are ten and twelve should be able to pick up after themselves. I don’t think it’s ” horrible” to say Stilwell should have started teaching them before they were preteens. I’m not disputing the ” beauty” of her children or saying Jessica isn’t ” amazing” — I am responding to her experiment and saying kids should be taught to help around the house. I would share this opinion with ANYONE. Parents, you should teach kids to clean up. That’s not a horrible thing to say.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Yep, calling someone a sucky mom is totally a compliment – not horrible at all, definitely not when said about a stranger who you know nothing about aside from what she chose to share in a blog. Come to think of it, though, there might be a way to respond to an experiment without personal attacks. Something like giving an opinion on parenting decisions without labeling a mother “sucky” or saying she’s a bad parent.

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  • Poster4

    I fail to see the point of your derisive article. Jessica admitted as much in her own article. She admitted that she realised the disservice she had done her children. Both mother and children learned. What is your point again?

  • Chrissy Loo

    Wow Eve, your critical blog, your chest thumping responses to comments, your arrogance is your downfall as a parent. I don’t believe for a second you, your children, your parenting, your household is as perfect as you’re trying to sell. Unfortunately based on your blog, your comments, and responses I cannot take you seriously nor would I recommend anyone taking parenting advice from you. There is no such thing as a perfect parent or child so to try to come across as one the only person you’re selling your bull crap to is yourself! You insult parents like me, who teach and re teach my teens on a weekly basis how to clean properly, it’s not that I don’t teach my children, it’s just that they are lazy and cut corners, procrastinate, and don’t like to clean. The more I as a parent try to cram it down their throat the more they rebel…and its normal! You are probably an overbearing, drill Sargent like parent who although now you think your the cream of the crop are probably causing psychological damage to your children…just based off of your thinking, arrogance, and chest thumping. This Jessica mom is teaching her children valuable life lessons and what she is doing is good…making her a better parent than your arrogant narcissistic self will ever be! Find another hobby as this one isn’t working for you! !

    • Chrissy Loo

      Oh, and thank you for this crap article, I was at my wits end with my children and cleaning, then I read this crap and your comments and I feel better, I’m going to go back to my day, not jump down my kids throats because I don’t want to be anything like you!!! My children get to have a childhood today thanks to your idiocy as a parent, it put me in check and made me realize what a crap parent is, and I don’t want to be like you Eve!!!