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A tired mom next to a kitchen sink full of dishes | Source: Getty Images
A tired mom next to a kitchen sink full of dishes | Source: Getty Images

My Husband and 4 Kids Are Constantly Slacking off Their Chores – This Time I Taught Them a Good Lesson

Dorcus Osongo
Jun 20, 2024
03:13 A.M.

A mother of four was exhausted from doing all the household chores, despite working longer hours than her husband. She repeatedly begged her kids and husband to help out, but her pleas were often ignored. Eventually, she took matters into her own hands and taught them a lesson for slacking off their chores.

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An exhausted mother | Source: Pexels

An exhausted mother | Source: Pexels

My name is Sarah, and my life is a whirlwind of real estate deals and family responsibilities. My husband, Mark, works at a shipyard, and we juggle raising four kids: 13-year-old twins Emma and Ethan, 12-year-old Lily, and our 8-month-old baby, Mia. We both work around 50-60 hour weeks, and while Mark gets weekends off, I do not.

A man, a baby, and the mother | Source: Pixabay

A man, a baby, and the mother | Source: Pixabay

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For years, I enforced a chore system, teaching our kids to contribute to the household. But since Mia was born, everyone's efforts have dwindled, Mark included. I often come home to find him on the couch, glued to his phone, while the kids are absorbed in video games or makeup tutorials.

A tired mother asking for help | Source: Pexels

A tired mother asking for help | Source: Pexels

The house isn't dirty, just cluttered, but the state of the kitchen drives me insane. I've repeatedly voiced my frustration, sometimes resorting to drastic measures like cutting off the internet, canceling family trips, grounding the kids, and having heated arguments with Mark.

For instance, one weekend, the kitchen was a battlefield once more, the remnants of dinner scattered across the counters and dishes piled high in the sink. I stood at the doorway, my frustration simmering just beneath the surface.

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A kitchen sink full of dishes | Source: Pexels

A kitchen sink full of dishes | Source: Pexels

"Mark, I can't keep doing this," I began, my voice trembling with pent-up anger. "Every day I come home to the same mess. What do you even do all day?"

Mark looked up from his phone, his expression a mix of annoyance and guilt. "I work too, Sarah. I'm tired when I get home and would love to just rest on the weekends."

I threw my hands up in exasperation. "And I'm not? I work just as many hours as you, if not more! But somehow, I am the only one who cares about this house being livable."

A woman confronting a man | Source: Pexels

A woman confronting a man | Source: Pexels

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Mark's face hardened. "I do my part. But sometimes I need a break too."

"A break? You think I don't need a break?" My voice rose, the edge of my tone sharper. "I can't even cook dinner without washing a sink full of dishes first. The kids have chores, you have chores, but nothing gets done unless I nag everyone. I'm tired of being the bad guy."

Mark stood up, his own temper flaring now. "I'm sorry I'm not perfect, okay? Maybe if you didn't make such a big deal out of every little thing, the kids and I wouldn't feel so stressed."

A man and woman arguing | Source: Pexels

A man and woman arguing | Source: Pexels

My eyes flashed. "Oh, so it's my fault now? If you'd just step up and parent, maybe I wouldn't have to be the one holding everything together. I'm exhausted, Mark. This isn't just about dishes. It's about respect and responsibility."

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The argument continued, our voices echoing through the house, each word a reminder of the growing chasm between us. On that day, he took care of the dishes and organized the house after our intense arguments but my efforts often yielded short-term improvements that quickly faded away.

A messy house | Source: Pexels

A messy house | Source: Pexels

So, yesterday was no different as much as I had expected my husband and kids to at least clean the house. Before heading to work, I reminded them, saying, "You guys better have your chores done by the time I get home." They responded with the usual, "Yes, ma'am."

After leaving work, I texted Mark around 4:30 p.m. to ask what they wanted for dinner, and I picked up their requests at the grocery store.

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I walked into our home to find the same disheartening scene, a sink overflowing with dishes, a wet load of laundry in the washer, Mark lounging on the couch, and the kids in their rooms.

Laundry in the washing machine | Source: Pexels

Laundry in the washing machine | Source: Pexels

I set the groceries on the table, packed a bag for Mia, and told Mark, "Have at it. I'm going to Applebee's." He looked up in surprise, but I walked out with Mia without another word. About 20 minutes later, he called.

"I washed the dishes. I'm sorry. I was super tired today."

"You use that excuse all the time. There are three older kids with chores, and you couldn't even tell them to do anything?" I shot back, my patience worn thin.

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Angry woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

Angry woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

"I know. I'm sorry. I'm trying to work on it. Can you just come home? I don't know how to make this dish," he pleaded.

I was tired of him behaving like an inexperienced baby yet he was a grown-up.

"It is a complicated dish but you can Google how to make it or find tutorials on YouTube. So, no. I'm sitting at Applebee's, enjoying my steak and shrimp with Mia. You and the kids can fend for yourselves. Apology or not, I'm not letting you off the hook this time."

A frustrated woman | Source: Pexels

A frustrated woman | Source: Pexels

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He had me on speakerphone, and I could hear the kids in the background, chiming in, "Please grab us something from Applebee's."

"Absolutely not," I said firmly and hung up.

When I returned home, the groceries were put away, and the family had settled for grilled cheese and cereal for dinner. The tension in the air was palpable as Mark and the kids sat at the table, their expressions a mix of frustration and resentment.

A girl eating cereal | Source: Freepik

A girl eating cereal | Source: Freepik

"Everyone should know that this is how it will be every single time you don't do your chores," I stated firmly, standing my ground despite the uncomfortable silence that followed.

Mark looked up, his eyes tired but defiant. "Sarah, we get it. But was it really necessary to leave like that? You could have just told us to get it done, and we would have."

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I took a deep breath, trying to keep my voice steady. "I have told you. Over and over again. And nothing changes. I'm tired of being the only one who cares enough to do something about it."

A couple in disagreement | Source: Pexels

A couple in disagreement | Source: Pexels

Emma, one of the twins, looked down at her plate, pushing her food around. "Mom, we're sorry. We didn't mean to make you so upset."

Lily, the 12-year-old, chimed in, her voice small. "We didn't think it was such a big deal. We thought you'd just remind us again."

The sad twin looking down at her plate | Source: Pexels

The sad twin looking down at her plate | Source: Pexels

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I felt a pang of guilt but pushed it aside. "It is a big deal. It's not just about the dishes. It's about all of us taking responsibility for our home. I need to know that when I come home, I'm not walking into more work yet all you have been doing is sitting around."

Mark leaned back in his chair, running a hand through his hair. "I understand that, Sarah. But maybe we can find a better way to handle this. Storming out isn't the answer."

The man at the dining | Source: Pexels

The man at the dining | Source: Pexels

My frustration bubbled up again. "I've tried talking, Mark. I've tried asking nicely, reminding, and even nagging. Nothing sticks. I needed to show you all that I'm serious."

He sighed, looking at the kids, then back at me. "Alright. We'll do better. But can we also agree to talk things through before they get to this point?"

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Husband and wife reconciling | Source: Pexels

Husband and wife reconciling | Source: Pexels

I nodded, feeling a mix of relief and lingering anger. "Yes, but only if everyone truly steps up. I can't do this alone."

The kids nodded solemnly, and Mark reached across the table to take my hand. "We'll make it work, Sarah. We'll all try harder."

A happy household | Source: Pexels

A happy household | Source: Pexels

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As I stood there, watching my family, I couldn't help but reflect on the day's events. Had I gone too far? Maybe. But something had to give. I hoped this would be the wake-up call they needed. Only time would tell if the message had finally sunk in.

Take a look at another story with a similar theme below:

My Husband and I Agreed to Share Chores Equally, but He Sabotages His Part on Purpose

In their cozy Maplewood home, Sarah Jennings was getting fed up. Every chore Jake, her husband, supposedly took on ended up as another mess for her to clean. As she stared at a disastrously stained kitchen and a shrunken sweater, Sarah knew it was time for a lesson Jake wouldn’t forget.

Woman looking fed up as she sits by the kitchen counter olding a scrub | Source: YuliiaKa on Freepik

Woman looking fed up as she sits by the kitchen counter olding a scrub | Source: YuliiaKa on Freepik

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When Jake and I got married last June, we promised to split everything right down the middle — money, decisions, and yes, even the chores. It seemed like a great plan. A real team effort, right? But months into our marriage, I started seeing cracks in our perfect plan, all thanks to Jake.

A husband and wife shaking hands | Source: Freepik

A husband and wife shaking hands | Source: Freepik

At first, I thought maybe these were just those typical newlywed mistakes. Everyone messes up a meal or shrinks a shirt at some point, right? But with Jake, it's like he’s in a league of his own.

Young man in orange holding a bucket with cleaning tools and leaning on a mop | Source: stockking on Freepik

Young man in orange holding a bucket with cleaning tools and leaning on a mop | Source: stockking on Freepik

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His cooking disasters turn the kitchen into a disaster zone. And don’t even get me started on his “cleaning” that just makes everything worse. And every time something goes wrong, he just gives me this goofy smile and says, “I guess I’m just bad at this stuff. Maybe you’re better off doing it.”

Man wearing an apron and holding a basin, looking confused | Source: stockking on Freepik

Man wearing an apron and holding a basin, looking confused | Source: stockking on Freepik

Today, seeing my favorite sweater ruined was the last straw. Jake needs a wake-up call, and I’ve got just the thing in mind. But let me back up a bit to give you the full picture of how we got to this point.

A woman holding up a brown sweater | Source: rawpixel.com on Freepik

A woman holding up a brown sweater | Source: rawpixel.com on Freepik

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After our honeymoon, we jumped straight into the daily grind, and that's when the "fun" started. Jake was enthusiastic about our arrangement at first, or so it seemed. He'd tackle his chores with a grin, but that smile quickly turned our home into a scene straight out of a sitcom—only it wasn’t funny when you're living in it.

Woman staring at a dirty kitchen with her back to the camera | Source: rawpixel.com on Freepik

Woman staring at a dirty kitchen with her back to the camera | Source: rawpixel.com on Freepik

Take his cooking days, for example. The agreement was simple: he cooks, I clean. Sounds fair, right? Well, not exactly. Jake's idea of making spaghetti involved every pot and pan we owned.

I’d walk into the kitchen to find sauce splattered all over the counters, the stove... heck, even on the ceiling once! And there I was, scrubbing tomato stains off the walls, thinking, "How does spaghetti sauce even get up there?"

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Woman wiping the kitchen cabinet | Source: Freepik

Woman wiping the kitchen cabinet | Source: Freepik

You’d think Jake was auditioning for a show called 'Extreme Kitchen Makeover: Disaster Edition.' Seriously, how many pots does it take to boil spaghetti? According to him, all of them.

Plus, the way he’d fling sauce around, you’d think he was trying to paint the kitchen red. The only 'flavor' that got added was probably in the paint job he gave the walls.

Man in a dirty kitchen | Source: Freepik

Man in a dirty kitchen | Source: Freepik

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After a few weeks of this, I tried to give him some tips—nothing fancy, just basic stuff like how to keep the workspace clean and maybe not use every kitchen utensil we own. But the next time around, it was the same story. It's like he had a talent for creating a mess.

And then there was the laundry. Oh, the laundry. I thought, how hard could it be to mess up laundry? Well, Jake found a way.

Woman looking upset as she's leans on a washing machine, surrounded by laundry | Source: Freepik

Woman looking upset as she's leans on a washing machine, surrounded by laundry | Source: Freepik

Seriously, mixing reds and whites? It’s like he thinks our washing machine is some kind of miracle worker that sorts colors on its own.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if he started a new trend—'accidental pastels' could be the next big thing! It would have been kind of funny if it weren't my work clothes that turned pink.

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Man holding an iron in the midst of pink and yellow laundry | Source: wayhomestudio on Freepik

Man holding an iron in the midst of pink and yellow laundry | Source: wayhomestudio on Freepik

I tried to be patient. I really did. I showed him how to sort the clothes and which settings to use on the washing machine. But every time, something new would go wrong. It's like he was doing it on purpose, but I kept telling myself, "No, he's just learning. Give it time."

Woman pointing at the laundry as a man covers his mouth in embarrassment | Source: KamranAydinov on Freepik

Woman pointing at the laundry as a man covers his mouth in embarrassment | Source: KamranAydinov on Freepik

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And don’t get me started on his cleaning days. The man used window cleaner on our wooden dining table. I came home to find it streaky and smelling like chemicals.

It's like he thought the window cleaner was some kind of magic elixir that could clean anything. Next thing you know, he'll be trying to fix the car with it!

Man cleaning a wooden table | Source: jcomp on Freepik

Man cleaning a wooden table | Source: jcomp on Freepik

He just shrugged and said, "Oops, wrong spray, I guess?" And there it was again, that grin, as if he was getting off scot-free while I googled how to fix the finish on our table.

Little did I know, the true depth of Jake's carelessness was about to come to light in a way that would change everything between us.

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Curious to know how the story unfolded next? Click here to find out.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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