Mothers can often be taken for granted – especially by children. Sometimes, however, a mother will bite back…

Jessica Stilwell, a mother of three girls, showed mothers everywhere that strike action is an option when dealing with the general untidy habits of their children.

While her husband, Dylan, was away the Alberta housewife decided to take radical action and go on strike. On his return Dylan gave his wife full support and the girls were going to be in for a rude awakening.

Things had come to a head one weekend, after Mrs Stilwell had had another hectic day. Looking at the mess around her home she realised that it was all down to her 12-year-old twins and 10-year-old daughter.

Mrs. Stilwell then resisted the temptation to clean her children’s unwashed dishes, collecting up their dirty clothes and tidying up after them. The recorded evidence was terrifying to the houseproud. So much mess mounted that the kitchen table was almost completely covered. The family dog, meanwhile, looked bemused as it tried to tackle a minefield of clothes left on the floor.

By day six 10-year-old Quinn was realising the gravity of the situation as mould started to appear in the house. The girls now knew that no one was going to clean up after them this time, and raised the white flag.

Mrs. Stilwell had won the battle, and probably the admiration of mothers everywhere. Strike action can work, and, though a sea of mess may be hard to endure for parents, the long-term benefits will be worth it. The Stilwell girls have learnt their lesson and now the Stilwells clean up as a family.

For mothers, not taking strike action could result in attitudes becoming entrenched. Teenagers can be an entirely different proposition to pre-teens. A stroppy 16-year-old may be thinking that his sweaty, thrown down T-shirt should always be picked up and washed without complaint. Those attitudes will usually be more difficult to change than that of a 10-year-old, so, when their homes begin to resemble a rubbish tip, mothers should react early and consider downing their dishcloths!