The brave stepdad who no longer cleans the house

by Lee Wang

The coronavirus has brought a lot of strange circumstances. As many countries introduced some form of quarantine or lockdown the majority of families had to spend a lot more time together. Children found out about their parent’s personal lives, parent’s found out just how much energy their children have, teenagers, well teenagers mostly still just isolated in their rooms. While being in close proximity to your family for a large amount of time has its benefits, it also has its challenges. One of the biggest issues facing the average home is the increased mess around the house. Today we want to share one story of a man who finally said enough was enough and stopped cleaning. Here is why.

One man is dividing his household and households around the world as he has lit a fire on a longstanding debate. Just how much can we ask of children in terms of household responsibilities? Our protagonist, Mark, lives with his wife Susan and her three children. Mark is their stepdad and so is often put in a strange position where he is an adult in the home but is not in a position to create rules for the children. The kids are aged twelve, nine, and seven and get on with Mark really well.

He loves them a lot and enjoys being with them. In fact, he came from a family in a similar situation and was so grateful to his stepfather for doing so much work around the house that allowed his mother to spend more time with them while they were young. When he moved in with his wife he wanted to do the same. He made a special effort in the home to do a lot of the housework to take the pressure off his wife so that she can enjoy some special moments with her kids. Overall he does well over 50% of the household cleaning and chores and has absolutely no issue with that. The issue he has though is that the three children do nothing. Absolutely nothing. They treat their mum (and new dad) as their servant. 

The kids don’t clean up after themselves, they don’t wash dishes, they don’t even flush the toilet. Mark was at his wit’s end and spoke to his wife. He asked her (not for the first time) to ask her children to do some simple tasks around the home. He didn’t want them to do work so that he would have less to do, he wanted them to do it so that they could start to learn responsibilities and show their mother some respect. 

Susan said no. Of course, they are her children and she is entitled to raise them in any way she wants and she told Mark that they are doing enough. As the coronavirus quarantine continued Mark lost his patience. He didn’t want to get mad with his wife or the kids but he decided he had to do something. He decided to stop doing any housework too. His wife was furious. She accused him of leaving her with more housework than she has ever had at a time when there was already too much to do in the house. She accused him of no longer being supportive.

Mark made a bold move and we will have to check back in with the family in a few months to see if it worked. The action has caused a debate online as some people feel he should have continued to help her and that playing these games is no way to get what he wants. Others feel that Susan should have listened to Mark from the outset and taken his views on board. Whether Mark is wrong or right, one thing is for sure, he is brave.

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