A woman who wakes up at 4:30am, every day to take care of her husband, their five kids, her parents, and two dogs, has decided to throw in the towel in protest.
Laura Ben Salem said she doesn’t go to bed before 10:30pm each day as she stays up taking care of everyone’s needs.
She said: “I try to please everybody; I can’t use that word NO.” She has just been featured on Channel 5’s new reality show Wife on Strike.
Her family was one of three featured where the daily duties were managed by just one person – usually the woman.
In the first episode, Laura, 37, from Greenwich, South East London is seen driving her kids to school, which she does every day, to and fro.
She also takes her husband of 16 years, Wassim, to and from his commute to the city.
When he gets home, rather than help out with the family, he likes to have a rest.
“He’s always holding up,” she says. “As soon as he gets home from work he’ll go straight upstairs.”
Wassim is then seen snoring on the bed.
“He doesn’t do much,” Laura continues, “he doesn’t cook, he doesn’t clean, he doesn’t hoover, he doesn’t make the bed, he doesn’t do the washing, he doesn’t do the drying, he doesn’t put the clothes away.”
In his defense, husband Wassim, who is from a traditional Tunisian family, says it’s only what he’s used to.
He explained: “I’ve been brought up in a family that the mother look after the children, she’ll look after the husband, she’ll look after the house. The husband he’ll work hard to provide for the family. I work in the city. When I come back I wanna rest a little bit.”
Laura, who is seen making dinner – which is often three different dishes to cater to everyone’s tastes -, calling upstairs to her family that it’s ready and then mopping the floor, reveals her continued frustration.
“Enough is enough,” she says. “I’m not gonna keep tidying up after them. It’s not just physically, it’s mentally draining.
“I say it all the time, all the time, that’s it I’ve had enough. ‘Ahh yeah, where you gonna go?’” she says, mocking her family’s response. “And before I’ve even finished having this little paddy, they’re all standing at my car waiting for me.
“I’ve really had enough. I’m sick and tired of all the work that I keep doing. Putting others first…I need to see some changes before I can return.”
Laura leaves home for a week and everything falls to Wassim to handle.
Revealing how he intends to handle the home with his wife gone, Wassim said: “It’s gonna be Wassim’s sweet dictatorship. One dinner for everyone and if they don’t like it, tough.”
But rather than make dinner, he heads to get a takeout meal for the family.
The episode featuring Ben Salems is available to watch on My5. Episode 2 of Wife on Strike will air on Channel 5 on Monday, November 13.
Viewers who watched the trailer have expressed outrage.
One wrote: What’s wrong with people using their feet and walking? If they can eat, they can help prepare and clear away. This isn’t marriage, it’s slavery without respect or appreciation. Wonder whether this will give them another perspective?”
Another said: “Her children are grown they should be able to help tackle some of the chores. her mom doesn’t look like an invalid, and so does her father, they should be able to help with the cleaning and cooking.”
A third quipped: “This is the UK in the 21st century. Seriously? Wake up and find your voice. It’s totally unacceptable to live like this.”