After 13 years of being her family's cook, maid, and chauffeur (you know, in addition to her full-time job), Sherri Mills was seething. But instead of freaking out — or walking out — she went on strike! And for Mills, the author of the new book I Almost Divorced My Husband But I Went on Strike Instead, it had a big payoff:
When I first got married, I didn't mind being the one to clean and cook. But once we had two kids, I needed help. I'd ask my husband, Gerald, to do the dishes or fold the laundry, and he would say yes but would never do it. The resentment got worse every year. Finally, I snapped. I was fixing dinner, and I asked our two kids, then 11 and 12, to run down the street and pick up an ingredient. They came back empty-handed. I was angry, but Gerald defended them. That was it. I announced, "Not only am I not cooking dinner, but I am officially on strike."
How did you think up the idea?
I considered divorce — I was that unhappy — but I didn't want to put our family through that. Gerald works at a factory and he handles union contracts. I read one of his contracts and wrote one for myself modeled after it. I made a list of 70 chores that I did regularly and demanded that he check off 35 that he would take over. I listed other terms too, like, "When the female householder is ill, all duties will be taken over by the male."
...It was hard not to cave, but after two weeks, Gerald said to me, "I'm exhausted, but I can't complain. You have been doing this for all these years. We need a change."