My pregnant daughter Jane’s world fell apart when she saw her credit card was fully charged with her unemployed husband Mark’s luxurious massages. I turned an anticipated weekend of fun into a taxing lesson in responsibility by taking him on a journey he wouldn’t soon forget.

My phone rang on a calm Saturday morning. I answered right away when I saw my daughter Jane’s name on the screen.

She sobbed, “Dad, I can’t take it anymore.”

Jane, please settle down. What is happening?” I questioned as a knot of anxiety tightened in my gut.

“It’s Mark,” she sobbed. “He stole my credit card and maxed it out… on massages!”

My heart raced. “What did he do? while you are pregnant and doing a full-time job?”

“Yes,” she exclaimed. “I went to buy necessities for my infant, and the cashier informed me that my card was denied. When I looked at my statement, I saw four $250 charges total. everything for his massages.”

I became quite angry. What made him so self-centered? “I’ll be heading over there in about an hour,” I declared, reaching for my keys.

Thoughts of Jane’s ordeal filled me as I drove to her apartment. She informed me about Mark’s job loss a few months earlier. They were forced to relocate from their lovely house to a little flat.

To make money meet, Jane had sold off a lot of their belongings, including her jewels. She was pregnant but still worked a full-time job. How Mark could be so careless was beyond me.

Even when I got there, Jane was still crying. She appeared tired, and her eyes were puffy and red. Bitterly, she remarked, “He’s out, probably getting another massage.”

I took her seat on the sofa. “We must speak. Tell me everything.

After wiping her eyes, she inhaled deeply. “Dad, I’ve been working really hard. I expected him to stop giving me massages, but he wouldn’t. He claims they relieve some of his “stress.” But, Dad, what about my stress? It’s me who works a full-time job while expecting!”

I was really sorry for her. “You’re accurate. This needs to end. I have a thought, but it will not be easy.”

Jane gave me a desperate look as she glanced at me. “I’ll take up any task. I simply cannot continue to live this way.”

I responded, “Alright,” as resolve began to grow. “We’ll teach him a lesson he won’t forget.”

Jane dried her tears once more. “What are you planning?”

“I’ll take him to the family cottage,” I replied. “He anticipates a laid-back weekend, but I have some demanding job ahead of him. It’s time he learned what true stress and labor-intensive tasks are like.”

Jane still seemed unsure yet hopeful. “You really think it’ll work?”

“I do,” I firmly said. “He must come to understand the worth of money and the necessity of providing for his family. This might be the perfect wake-up call for him.”

Jane slowly nodded. “All right, Dad. You have my trust.”

I gave her a strong hug. It will all work out, Jane. We’ll work together to overcome this. Mark must realize that this is not how he is going to live forever. A change is warranted.”

She let out a sigh. “I hope you’re right.”

I gave her a comforting back pat. “I am certain that I am. Let’s now carry out this plan.”

We talked about the specifics for the next hour. Jane gave me the credit card statements to look at, and we discussed how to address Mark. I departed with an even greater resolve to support my daughter and make things right. I had the strategy all figured out and was prepared to go.

Mark appeared at ease as he got out of the car when we got to the cottage. Stretching, he remarked, “This place is great.” “I could use a weekend to unwind.”

I laughed a little. “Mark, not too quick. For this weekend, I have other plans.”

Mark scowled. “What do you mean?”


I gave the list to him. You’ll be undertaking the following tasks: painting the walls, mowing the yard, and fixing the fence and roof. It’s time you experienced the joys of laborious effort.”

Mark was astounded. “What? We’re supposed to be here to unwind, right?

I angrily said, “Consider this your wake-up call.” “You need to understand the value of hard work and what Jane goes through every day.”

Mark sighed and reluctantly accepted. “Fine, but I’m not happy about this.”

Fixing the roof was the first duty. As Mark ascended, it was evident to me that he was having difficulty. He whispered, “This is harder than it looks.”

“Hello, this is real work,” I answered. “Keep going.”

We then proceeded to mend the fence. Mark struggled with the tools, growing more and more frustrated. He yelled, “I don’t know how to do this.”

“Work it out,” I murmured. “Jane had to figure out how to support both of you while pregnant.”

Anger flushed Mark’s face, but he continued to work. His motions slowed and he got obviously tired as the hours went by. His hands were burned, and sweat ran down his cheeks.

“You wanted to relax, right?” I remarked as I observed his unsteady hands painting the walls. “This is what it means to be responsible.”

After the first day, Mark was hardly able to move and fell onto the couch. His voice trailed off as he replied, “This is too much.”



“Too much?” I answered. “Jane does this every day, but with a baby growing inside her.”

At dawn the following day, I woke Mark up. I said, “It’s time to get back to work.”

Mark sighed but stood up. Even more difficult was the second day. We painted the walls, fixed the fence, and repaired the roof while working from dawn to dusk. I ensured that Mark completed each duty completely.

By nightfall, Mark was worn out. He was so focused on the work that he hardly said anything. I could see the toll it was having on him, both mentally and physically.

I sat Mark down on the last day. He appeared to be defeated. In a low voice, he remarked, “I can’t believe how hard this is.”

I gave him an envelope. I said, “Open it.”

Though perplexed, he followed orders. There was a $1000 check inside. “What’s this?” he enquired, confused.

I clarified, “Your payment for the work you’ve done.” “The money you paid for massages is the issue. Use it now to reimburse Jane.”

Mark’s gaze expanded. “I… I don’t understand.”

I bent over. “Mark, you’ve been enjoying luxuries you can’t afford while living off of my daughter’s hard-earned money. She’s attempting to save for your baby, working a full-time job, and getting pregnant. It’s time for you to assume accountability. You were stressed out and needed a massage? You now understand the true meaning of tension and labor. Spend this money to give Jane what she deserves and to start being her partner.”

Mark blushed, a mixture of awareness and humiliation on his face. He nodded and took the cheque silently. “I’m grateful, sir. I finally get it.”

Mark gave Jane the payment and gave her a heartfelt apology when we got home. He sobbed, “I’m so sorry, Jane,” his voice faltering. “I swear to look for work and make more of an effort around the house. To lessen your workload, I’ll take up a few of the chores.”

Jane nodded while glancing at him through teary eyes. “I’m grateful, Mark. That has great significance.”

In the ensuing weeks, Mark fulfilled his word. He got a part-time job and increased his household duties. He had been transformed by the experience at the cottage, which had taught him the worth of perseverance and the necessity of providing for his family.

Regarding myself, I was confident that I had made the correct decision for both Jane and their future family. There are instances when a difficult lesson is required to effect genuine transformation.