If You’re Tired Doing All The Chores Around The House, Why Not Quit!

2 May

I laughed so hard, I had to share this blog by Claire Cisotti….read and enjoy!


Mum’s gone on strike: Mum-of-two Claire Cisotti holds down a demanding job (with a four hour commute) but still does ALL the housework. Last week she snapped

  • Claire, 46, is a full-time newspaper executive and still does all the housework
  • Her husband Max works from home but expects his wife to shop and cook 
  • Claire went on strike for a week, during which he realised how stressful it is


Claire Cisotti pictured with husband Max and their children Mimi (9) and Zac (13)

Housework and men. They’re two words that don’t often mix – and no one knows this better than harassed wife and mother-of-two Claire Cisotti.  Despite a gruelling ten-hour working day and a four-hour commute, the 46-year-old newspaper executive still shoulders the vast proportion (if not all) of the chores in her family home in Mannings Heath, West Sussex.

These include, among myriad other tasks, the cooking, cleaning and laundry for her photographer husband Max and their children, Zac, 13, and Mimi, nine. Week in, week out – she even puts out the bins.

Unsurprisingly, this causes terrible rows. So what would happen if Claire went on strike? Would Max step up to the domestic challenge? And what would the mess do to their marriage? Claire takes up the story…



Today I made the decision that things have to change. I’ve been stewing about it since last night when I got home from work, so exhausted I could barely stand, only to discover no one had emptied the dishwasher, walked the dog or made any of the beds.

When I say ‘no one’, I am actually referring to my husband, Max, who works from home, yet still expects me to stop at a super- market after ten hours in the office to get him something for dinner. Oh, and then I have to cook it for him.

You probably think I sound bitter and resentful. Well, I am. I had no idea when I got married 14 years ago that I was signing up for a life of slavery – though, considering I was marrying an Italian and an only child whose late mother did everything but chew his food for him, perhaps I should have seen the writing on the wall.

Max can’t even boil an egg. This was something I could cope with – just – until I went back to work in 2010, four days a week with a 6am start each day, and our entire domestic world plunged into chaos.  I don’t know what I expected. Actually, I do; I expected Max to pull his weight at home. He is, after all, there all day.

I know he works hard, too, but would it kill him to put a wash on, wipe a surface or prepare dinner? Apparently so – though he still has time to take regular coffee and cigarette breaks, while ignoring the mess around him.

So I have decided to show Max, in no uncertain terms, what is involved in keeping our home the way he likes it. And the only way I can do that is to stop doing what I do.
It will be carnage. We will probably get divorced. But if it forces my husband into action, then it may just be worth it.

‘When I went back to work I expected Max to pull his weight at home. He is, after all, there all day’

'When I went back to work I expected Max to pull his weight at home. He is, after all, there all day'


When I told the children I was downing tools, they looked horrified.  Mimi cried: ‘What are you doing to me?’ I have to admit I am slightly concerned that she might starve next week.  Zac will be fine because he boards at school on weekdays – a decision he made himself when I went back to work. He knew his father’s limitations even if I didn’t.

Max exists on the same diet every day: two Twix bars and an espresso for breakfast; another two Twix bars for a mid-morning snack; ham and salami on white bread for lunch, followed by a Nutella croissant; and then pepperoni pizza, a burger or something with rice for dinner.  I haven’t been able to get fruit or vegetables past his lips since we married. So today, I filled the fridge with lots of healthy snacks so that Mimi can at least feed herself if she’s hungry, and I scrubbed the house from top to bottom.

I have told Max I won’t be doing another stroke of work around the house from tomorrow morning.  He is horrified. I know he thinks I’m a horrible nag, but his response sums up exactly what is wrong with our domestic situation. ‘I never complain about what you do,’ he said. That, my darling, is because I do everything.  ‘I have told Max I won’t be doing another stroke of work around the house from tomorrow morning’

'I have told Max I won't be doing another stroke of work around the house from tomorrow morning'


I wake up early filled with a sense of foreboding about the week ahead. But I don’t want to be stuck in a resentful relationship where all my husband and I do is argue about housework. It’s so utterly boring and predictable.  At 6am, I nudge Max awake; he hasn’t realised it’s up to him to get the children ready for school.

Then, for the first time in three years, I paint my nails – as the chaos cranks up around me.
Despite getting the school uniforms ready the night before, there is the usual yelling about where stuff is and wet towels dumped on the bathroom floor.  I know I will crack if I go into either child’s bedroom, so I stay away and try to resist the urge to clear up the breakfast things.   We all finally leave the house and get halfway to school before the children realise they have left their PE kits in the hallway.

Max looks ready to implode, but turns the car around, muttering about useless other halves who leave them in the lurch. Welcome to my world, dear.



When I got home last night at 8.30pm, the house looked remarkably clean and tidy and Mimi had been fed. Max, however, looked

‘Max asks if I want to call off the strike. I think he believes the whole thing is a joke. I was hoping it would make him realise how desperately I need help, but he seems to be viewing it as an exercise in brinkmanship’

He informed me, before I’d even taken my coat off, that he ‘hadn’t sat down all day’. He had managed to put a few dishes into the dishwasher, picked up the clothes that scattered the house and had even bleached the loos.   Compared to his normal behaviour, it’s a miracle. I feel a pang of guilt. He’s clearly been a diligent househusband and I’m sorry to see him looking so stressed.  Hang on – scrap that – he needs to know what my life is like. When he worked away and I was at home all day, he would get back to dinner on the table and a calm, organised environment. Is it too much for me to expect the same?

But today he’s obviously forgiven me as he brings me a cup of coffee in bed. This is the one thing my husband always does for me. Whenever we argue, he cites it as evidence that he does help. But this is all he does.  Still, I drink it, grateful that I don’t have to fetch Mimi’s breakfast (which she likes to have in bed) or iron her uniform.

Then I do a few yoga stretches and try to ignore Max huffing every time he walks past.  Later, I notice our bed is only half-made. By that, I mean that Max has made his side, but not mine.   I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I have made our bed for 14 years of marriage and the one time it’s up to him, he only does his side.

Also, the toilet paper is running perilously low and I wonder, as I catch the train to work, if he’ll notice. Ten hours later, home from work and caught short in the downstairs loo, I realise he hasn’t.   Still, the house is spotless – helped by the fact that Max took himself off for most of the day, so he didn’t have the chance to create his usual squalor.

But then there’s the question of the laundry. Max informs me he has done the washing, but there’s still a pile of ironing to do. I tell him he knows where the iron is.  ‘Max informs me he has done the washing, but there’s still a pile of ironing to do’

'Max informs me he has done the washing, but there's still a pile of ironing to do'


Today is going to be a huge challenge. It’s my one day off work and I usually spend it tearing around shopping, cooking and ironing, to keep things ticking over until the weekend.  It’s going to take a will of iron to resist, so I head to a friend’s house for a luxurious, lazy coffee and chat. We enjoy a lovely catch-up – normally I’m in too much of a rush for such frivolity.  I vow to do the same next week. I suppose I am a little guilty of prioritising housework. If nothing else, this strike has shown me I can survive when standards slip.

Then I get home to find Max lying on the sofa eating lunch – the usual salami on white bread, of course, with crumbs spilling here and there – and watching repeats on Sky Sports TV.   His dirty shoes are on the carpet, dirty mugs from breakfast litter the coffee table and the sunlight beaming through the window shows the dust clinging to our ornaments.

Instantly, I feel my stress levels rising. I can’t speak because I know we’ll have an almighty row, so I turn on my heel and go straight back out.

That night in bed, Max asks if I want to call off the strike. I think he believes the whole thing is a joke. I was hoping it would make him realise how desperately I need help, but he seems to be viewing it as an exercise in brinkmanship.   I pause for a few moments and turn my back to him as the silence fills the room. Then I say: ‘No. The strike continues.’ I needn’t have bothered. He’s already asleep.  ‘Can’t Max see that I would love, just for once, to get home to a clean house and a meal on the table?’

'Can't Max see that I would love, just for once, to get home to a clean house and a meal on the table?'


I stay in our bedroom, getting ready for work in a deliberately leisurely style. But I can hear Mimi downstairs and Max trying to marshal her into some sort of order, and my nerves are completely jangled.   When I go downstairs, any semblance of calm and cleanliness from the day before has been completely destroyed.

The surfaces are filthy, with spilt milk, breadcrumbs and coffee grinds everywhere. There are sticky glasses all over the worktops and a pile of dirty dishes by the sink. To top it all, I open the fridge to see there’s no milk left.

Max brazenly states that he ‘has everything completely under control’. I stare at him, aghast.  ‘Are you kidding me?’ I explode. ‘All I can see is dirt, an ironing pile the size of Everest and curtains that haven’t been drawn for four days.’

His reply? ‘Well, apart from that it all looks OK.’

I head to work, fuming. On the train home, I receive a sweet text from Max asking me if I want to share a pizza when I get back. He says he’s exhausted and starting to feel a little overwhelmed.   I can’t help smiling. Four days in, I’ve got a slightly unsettling niggle that I’m being a little unfair.  For starters, I knew the man I was marrying. If I wanted him to be good at housework, shouldn’t I have made that clear? And I have to admit, my standards are high; I do iron pants and put them, colour co-ordinated, into our drawers.

Later, Max admits I do sometimes set the bar so high on chores that he feels it’s not worth trying to please me. I vow to be less exacting in the future.   We go to bed, relieved that we have, for now at least, got over our impasse. I don’t even complain as I tread over his underwear and socks strewn over the floor.



I get home to carnage. This is traditionally burger night because Zac is home for the weekend. It’s also my busiest day at work and sometimes I don’t get back until gone 9pm. Despite this, it never occurs to Max to start dinner ahead of my arrival.   Tonight is no different, but he has, at least, got food in. Pizzas (again). Meanwhile, Zac has brought his filthy sports kit back from school and, as usual, has left it strewn across the house. Yet more hell unleashed in my by now unbearably messy house.

‘Please could someone understand what this does to me!’ I scream at the top of my voice. I look around at the bewildered faces and, momentarily, feel bad.  As I enter the kitchen, I am dismayed to see one of my girlfriends surveying the scene, a wry smile on her face.  She’d popped round for a glass of wine, which she’s holding – just as well because there’s not a spare bit of work surface to place it on. And the kitchen stinks because Max hasn’t emptied the bins all week.   I don’t think I’ve ever felt so mortified. I pride myself on my home and now someone’s seen it at it’s very worst.

Later that night, as I put Mimi to bed, she says pitifully: ‘When will things get back to normal, Mummy?’ It breaks my heart.



I have hardly slept all night, so desperate am I to put on my rubber gloves and get scrubbing. Even Max woke this morning and grudgingly admitted things have spiralled a little out of control.   ‘But I do have to work, Claire,’ he says, by way of explanation. What, I wonder, for the millionth time, does he think I do all day?   This comment encapsulates entirely why things have reached crisis point. Our domestic situation works for everyone in this family except me.   Can’t Max see that I would love, just for once, to get home to a clean house and a meal on the table? Even if he can’t manage that, could he at least acknowledge it when I manage it for him?

As my strike nears its end, I realise I’m not even sure I care any more if Max pulls his weight around the house. Perhaps the only thing I’ve been looking for all this time is a little gratitude.



A breakthrough – of sorts. Max has finally admitted he hated the mess the house got into last week. Having packed off the children to my parents for three hours today, he helps me get everything back into order again.   I feel a small victory because, even though I know these things can’t change overnight, it does seem that Max understands, at last, why I am so unhappy with our domestic situation. He agrees to talk about it further and to stop accusing me of being a nag.

Also, in a quiet moment, he admits that he hadn’t realised how much stress I was under and says he is determined to try to help.  I feel the paths of communication open as we talk about our predicament – with no shouting. It’s a huge relief.

Success? I’ll let you know when he’s finished cleaning the sink – with furniture polish…


6 Responses to “If You’re Tired Doing All The Chores Around The House, Why Not Quit!”

  1. Krista January 21, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

    Just as I was so tempted to go on strike myself, I am now fearing of the mess I will have to clean up after its all said and done! I can only imagine the thoughts that went through his head as you went off to work and he was stuck in a mess. Annoyed wouldn’t even be the best description. However, I would do just about anything for my husband to see what its like on our side of the fence. And with two kids… who would suffer the most in the end?! Probably dear old me!

  2. Brian March 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    My wife went on strike 5 years ago and hasn’t done any housework besides shopping since. She’s really good at spending money playing on her phone and sitting on her ass. I guess that’s what I get for marrying an Italian.

  3. Leigh britt April 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    44 years of doing housework…….While retired hubby sits on his butt…. I am getting rid of everything that collects dust…Etc… I am done

  4. FedTheEffUp November 4, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    I went on strike for 8 months. Now I just have 8 months of work to catch up on. Going on strike doesn’t matter if your spouse has no problem whatsoever living in total filth.

  5. Anonymous January 22, 2018 at 10:15 pm #

    I feel to cry after reading this .Somebody please offer me a shoulder.


  1. If You’re Tired Doing All The Chores Around The House, Why Not Quit! – Nomadic feminine … - January 22, 2018

    […] via If You’re Tired Doing All The Chores Around The House, Why Not Quit! […]

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