I stumbled on to flylady.net when I was pregnant with my fourth child. My house was in a shambles – I had 3 babies 3 and under and expecting my 4th. I really wasn’t homeschooling as the kids were still very young, but I knew we were going to homeschool.
One morning, things came to head – I had been nursing a baby, my oldest son was playing with a friend outside and the doorbell rang. Rushing to the door, I threw it open expecting to find my son. Well, it wasn’t my son, but a neighbor who stopped by – and I was not in a state of dress appropriate for answering the door – and it was nearly noon. I was mortified.
I knew things had to change. A friend had mentioned FlyLady and that led me to an internet quest and six years later, I have a house that while not picture perfect is acceptable for company that might want to drop in. And, I am always dressed as soon as I get up – well except for the week I give myself after having a baby. I have permission to laze around in a nightgown and robe and focus on establishing the newborn nursing relationship.
So, what did FlyLady do for me? Well, she broke up household management into tiny steps – one of the first being to get dressed and put on shoes in the morning. Another important step is to go to bed leaving the kitchen sink clean and sparkling.
I have to say, that there seems to be something magical that happened when I started clearing the kitchen sink. The clean seemed to expand in a circle from the kitchen. The reality is that I simply started to develop house cleaning routines. I was able to face my problem head on. Prior to FlyLady, I did not clean until I realized something was dirty. And, when I started to clean, I didn’t want to stop until the entire house / job was complete – hours and hours later generally. Then the vicious circle kicked in. The next time I finally realized that the bathroom was dirty – I was nearly paralyzed with the fact that it was going to take hours to finish and therefore did not want to even begin.
FlyLady helped me to break up housekeeping into “zones” and small steps – generally 5 – 15 minutes at a time. And, I had permission to stop at the end of the time period. And, since we worked on a zone a week and there was a weekly “houseblessing” there was never a huge crisis cleaning awaiting me.
Last year, I took FlyLady to the next step – I assigned my older children their own zone in the downstairs. The zones rotate each week – the living room being the least favorite since it is the area that the babies drag out all their toys. They are responsible for dusting and windows and floor cleaning and the daily toy / trash pickup for that zone. In the kitchen, the zone person will unload the dishes and ensure that the table is cleaned off after each meal. I have no arguments over who is responsible for cleaning up or having heated discussions over whose turn it is to do the dishes or clear the table. And, the zone only lasts a week!
Finally, one of the most important lessons FlyLady taught me was to tackle my clutter. Clutter is a killer to my home. Clutter and the need to hold on to “things” with the idea that I might use them at a later date interferes with my peace. I have pared down clothing and towels and books and papers. I have places in my house were there are not “things” on the walls and on the floor so that my eyes my find a place to “rest” … to not be stimulated.
My system isn’t perfect and I know so many other lovely mothers whose house are in much better shape. But, I finally have peace … and the ability to have company drop in unexpectedly!