Thankless Task

Image by Magdalena Mahdy

I’m probably no different to most housewives when I say this and I’m sure mothers will say it only gets worse when you have children, but trying to keep your family happy is sometimes a bloody thankless task.

That morning:

Wife/Mum: “What do you want for tea?”

Husband/Child: “I don’t mind”

That Evening:

Husband/Child: “What do we have for tea?”

Wife/Mum: “vegetable Lasagne”

Husband/Child: “Yuck. Why? I’m not eating that. Where’s the meat. I want fish and chips. And so on.”


Tuesday, having arranged a rare night out with a good mate

Wife/Mum: “What are you going to have for tea on thursday?”
Husband: “I’ll get a takeaway and watch footy”
Wife/Mum: “Sure you don’t need anything from shops?”
Husband: “No don’t worry. You have a nice night.”

Thursday, lunchtime

Husband: “Do we have … At home?”
Wife/Mum: “Um. No. Ran out”
Husband: “Oh. Do we have ….?”
Wife/Mum: “Um no.”
Wife/Mum: “Why aren’t you getting a takeaway now?”
Husband: “Don’t want to pay delivery charge.”
Wife/Mum: “Right. Why didn’t you tell me on Wednesday or Tuesday so I could buy …”
Husband: “Well. I’ll just starve then”

Get home to find the box from 3year old fish fingers (I’d forgotten about at the back of the freezer) in the bin.


One long Sunday afternoon. Pile of ironing complete. Feeling well happy with myself. The pile is the lowest it’s been for yonks.
Slightly complain about aching feet. Hubby surveys the accomplishment.

Husband: “You didn’t have to do my shirts.”
Wife: “Well, I have. Thought you’d appreciate it.”
Husband: “Well they’ll just get creased in the cupboard so don’t know why you bothered.”



Julia Lawrence at her home one week after going on strike on doing the housework for the kids – From the Daily Mail

The mum who went on strike!

This year there has been a couple of reports of the Mums who went on strike.   The results have been quite interesting.  In the case of the Daily Mail feature (link below), in only one week the house descended into chaos with dirty plates and damp towels reigning supreme.  I can imagine how hard it must have been for the Mum in question to bite her tongue and not do anything to counteract the mess taking over.  But kids, and even adults, just don’t realise what is going on in the background . . . to keep the showhome, to keep you fed and watered, to keep clothes on your back for school and work.

I often wonder how quickly our house would lose order if I didn’t carry out my role as homemaker.  I am certainly no wonder woman.  I don’t have the time with working 5 days a week.  And I can also be guilty of leaving my side of the bedroom in a mess as I run out to work in the morning.  But I think all Mums and Housewives, who do at least attempt to go above and beyond for their families,  just want to be appreciated.

1950s fridge

1950s Fridge – Image by Corbis

For their loved ones to not think that the fridges and larders are just filled by the shopping fairies,

to realise that it takes effort to wake up at 5.50am to make the pack lunches,

that it takes care and planning to think about the weekly food plan,

that it takes time, sore feet and back ache to creat that “ahhh” feeling when you slip in between freshly ironed bed-clothes on a sunday night,

and that cleaning the toilet isn’t the most fun in the world!

Now, I’m older, (and wiser), I recognise how much of a nuisance I must have been, especially as a teenager.  I remember getting angry with mum for not knowing that I needed that particular top for friday night, like she was a mind reader.  I remember just expecting dinner to be on the table.  That the house should be perfect.  That my school uniform would be ironed and hanging up for Monday morning.   Expectations on Mums are high, and probably higher than ever as more are also holding down full time jobs.  I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong for families to have those expectations.  Especially for Mums and Housewives that are at home all week.  To some extent that’s why we become Mums and Housewives.  But what I am saying is that it never hurts to say thank you.  To not take everything they do for granted.  To remember that those women who make your homes tick-over, in a way that you don’t even notice how, are special.

So, Mum.  Thank you for all you did, especially for that silly teenager version of me, or the one that “kept coming back” and upsetting the homestead.  I am just starting to understand what actually goes into household management, to keep a happy home running smoothly.   And I must admit, mine often requires a jump-start!

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