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

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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?”

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.”

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.

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