On Strike for Christmas Lifetime Movie Makes this Mom think!
On Strike for Christmas is a Lifetime original movie airing next Sunday, December 5th, starring Daphne Zuniga and it's part of the Falalala Lifetime holiday movie programming on Lifetime Movie Network. I had a chance to watch the movie and to prepare for my interview with the actress Daphne Zuniga. In the movie, Joy Robertson, played by Zuniga, is frustrated by her family's lack of helping her with Christmas preparations while constantly adding up to her work load with new Christmas party plans expecting Joy to host at the family's home.
Joy is a small business owner, and a typical mom who is trying to balance her work and family life. This particular Christmas she has put even more pressure on herself than ever - this is the last Christmas her high school senior boys are still living home and she wants it to be "perfect" and she gets mad that neither the boys nor her husband are not helping her at all. She decides to have a Strike for Christmas and not be the only one in the family to make Christmas happen, in hopes for her family to step up and help her with party hosting, Christmas decorating and gift buying. Almost all of the women in her town join her - and her family finally steps in to help with Christmas.
I watched the movie with my husband, and I most certainly have shared Joy's frustrations with the lack of family enthusiasm for many things, but like my husband semi-sarcastically told me - I invented the wife strike. Or as I call it; I have allowed myself to accept less and go for less perfection and just not do too many things at all. When my children were little, the house was cleaner, the cookies were always made from scratch and the silver was shined for the Christmas table. I know I was driving my husband crazy, and his words "why everything has to be so perfect" and "lower your standards" still ring in my ears. And I started the wife strike several years ago. I think it started the day I was 9-months pregnant shoveling snow in upstate New York and saw my husband through the window watching videos online. Now I don't even remember when is the last time I have shined our silverware (hey, stainless steel works as well and you don't have to shine it) or had ironed the tablecloth and ironed the cloth napkins, and I don't even vacuum the house anymore. It's my husband who does that. It's my husband who makes the morning biscuits from scratch, goes grocery shopping with three kids and dusts the furniture on Sundays.
Granted I work much longer days than my husband does, I am a business owner with a full time job. But part of the reason I work and have my own business is because I have this need to keep busy and thrive for perfection and to ultimate productivity. I did feel that all of the energy that I put into our home and family when I was a stay-at-home-mom was not appreciated, I was not appreciated. Truth to be told, I loved it. There are still days that I wish I was back in the old Victorian house renovating it and restoring old furniture and sewing and knitting my kids clothes, scrap booking the memories and mastering my family recipes.
Believe it or not it is a tougher job to be a mom and a wife than anything else, and now to look back I feel like I failed by trying to be too perfect and pushing my family to be "perfect" too. However, I feel that I also failed by being "on strike" and being too laid back. The balance is very hard to achieve. While the On Strike for Christmas wasn't the best movie of all times, it was great entertainment and worth a watch, it had a larger effect on both me and my husband than I would have ever thought.
On Sunday morning my husband was folding laundry with our two girls and he asked if I was ever going to give up on my strike. My mother-in-law has suggested to my kids that she can bake cookies with them via Skype and sent them new cookie cutters. My daughter had a fit because she wanted to bake cut out cookies, and I told I didn't have time to help - I had to work, including writing this blog post. It's funny that I have worked from home for almost 7 years, and now I feel I finally have "made it" by not just bringing home the bread for my family but also the gravy - yet there is a part of me wanting just to be mom, nothing else. And now I feel the pressure to be the "perfect" wife and mom from several directions. I hear their plead for me ending my strike and getting back being the cinnamon bun baking mom I used to be before this business woman entirely took over. The funny thing though - we all have been much happier and fighting so much less after I took this laissez-faire approach to family matters, but deep inside I know my family still would like to have that perfect mom, who can do it all. The questions still remains, how can I do it all?