CHICAGO: Mothers have gone on strike across the globe, setting off a chain of catastrophic events.
After watching her husband snooze all day every day over a three-day weekend while she did housework, fed and entertained their three kids, and caught up on work emails, Jefferson Park native Kristy Donovan decided she’d had enough.
“Listen, I get it. He works hard during the week. But so do I. And when I come home from the office, my work doesn’t end. If I didn’t make dinner, who would? If I didn’t check my kids’ homework, who would? If I didn’t send a birthday card to my husband’s grandmother, who would?” Donovan asked in a slightly irritated tone. “So I got to thinking… Maybe I should stop. Maybe all the mothers out there should stop doing everything. Maybe we’re actually enabling them [husbands and kids] to be dependent on us.”
So Donovan began texting her mother friends. And they started texting their friends. And they texted their friends. Even some women who aren’t mothers to human children, but find that they’re the ones in their relationship or families who “keep the shit from hitting the fan,” decided to go on strike.
“We realized we were the glue holding our households together. In fact, we were the glue holding other households together,” said Natalia Cortez of Brooklyn, New York. “We wondered what would happen if we just threw in the towel. You know, if we went on strike.”
WHAT DID HAPPEN?
When every mother on the planet stopped doing things for other people, the shit in fact did hit the fan.
No one got to school on time.
No one remembered their lunches.
In fact, no one ate at all.
Underwear was worn for weeks in a row.
The dog did not walk itself.
No gifts were bought for the kids’ friend’s birthday party, or for Uncle George and Aunt Nina’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Everyone sat alone in a dark corner on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and every other religious holiday across the world. People suddenly realized they had never even helped set the table for these holidays, so how would they know how to bake a ham?
But those were the small things – all the things no one ever realized moms did.
Suddenly, people stopped learning because there were no motivational teachers.
Patients were left with doctors who just didn’t listen.
The only coworkers left in a group project were too incompetent to finish the presentation.
Cases attacking evil corporations and ruthless predators weren’t taken to court.
Science halted because no one was determined to find cures or perform experiments based on their fierce desire to protect and uplift all human beings, especially the weakest.
Global treaties were never signed as no one considered the children—our future.
Climate Change rapidly intensified as no one considered the children—our future.
CALLING OFF THE STRIKE
Three weeks after the strike began, Kristy Donovan and Natalia Cortez decided to end the strike and a solution was reached.
“This is not a negotiation. We’re not negotiating,” Donovan said.
Cortez explained: “Here’s the deal: we’re not going to say yes to everything anymore. We’re not carrying the group presentation every time. We’re not going to answer emails when we are home with a sick child. We’re not going to let you talk back to us in the classroom because you think moms and women aren’t worth respecting. And we sure as shit aren’t buying our in-laws Christmas gifts anymore. If our husbands don’t take responsibility for their own lives, we aren’t either.”
Donovan added: “And don’t you dare ever make us feel guilty for taking time for ourselves each week – or each day – to do something we want to do. Or next time, there won’t be a strike. There’ll be a nuclear war.”
“Damn straight,” Cortez said. The two crossed their arms and walked away toward a nearby spa, taking a much-deserved break.
UPDATE: FOUR WEEKS LATER.
It appears husbands and children are capable of helping out around the house and taking control of their own lives.
Who would have thought…?
When crocuses push through wet dirt, standing tall underneath a waking sun, we’re quick to be grateful for this season of life. But when the pewter clouds sink heavy in the sky, ushering in brittle winds, it’s not as easy to bow our heads in worship, thanking Mother Nature for her melancholic weather.
For months on end, it seems we’re stuck in a season of grieving. Dull, bleak, stagnant. The weather hangs heavy on us, mirroring our personal discontent. Frozen ground and bitter air dictate we stay inside.
We could decide to hate the season of winter, especially in the Midwest. Or we could choose to celebrate it, accepting the cold months for exactly what they are.
If spring is a time to bloom and inspire change, and summer a time to explore and engage, and autumn a time to harvest and gather, then winter is a time to rest and recharge.
But it’s too difficult to rest and recharge in a society that tells us our worth is measured by our productivity. Rest is sinful. And the guilt you feel when you indulge in a cozy night in is warranted.
Except, it’s not.
While perennial plants lie dormant under hardened ground, we still expect our bodies to grow tirelessly, forever reaching toward the sun. While enormous beasts sleep inside caves, their heavy bodies rationing energy, we still expect to run the race that has no finish line. All of nature takes this time to slow down. Yet we stare out the foggy windowpanes, questioning our value during moments of idleness.
If only we could see that every season is worth celebrating. Every mighty wind, every howling storm, every sprinkle of dew, every burning ray of sunshine. And every chapter of life. The chapter in which we scale corporate mountains, arriving at the top successfully, is just as worthy as the chapter in which we spend our days chasing toddlers, accomplishing nothing but having changed a few soiled diapers. The chapter in which we are dizzy in love and the chapter in which we wallow in grief all are woven together seamlessly in the end, creating a rich and fulfilling life, filled with joy and sorrow.
Every chapter—every season—teaches us something, whether sunshine or tempests.
Your bleak, wintry season might seem like it’s lasting longer than nature intended. But just remember: soon the season will change, and seeds planted months ago will finally begin to sprout from the dirt, blooming into the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen. And soon after, that flower will wilt just the same. For that is one absolute truth.
Seasons can be long, but seasons change. And every season is worth celebrating.