Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Confessions of a FlyBaby

If you're at all familiar with FlyLady, then you know what I'm talking about. A FlyBaby is a person who puts into practice the principles of homemaking taught by Marla Cilley, aka FlyLady. I've talked to lots of people who have tried her system. Most either love it or hate it. I'm one of the ones who loves it.

I first joined FlyLady in January, 2000. My parents had just left after a quick visit, and I was overwhelmed with the condition of my house, not because of my parents' having been there, but because I'd been so stressed about having a clean house. I'd stressed about it, but didn't know how in the world to gain any control over my home. As a child growing up, my mother would simply do the homemaking jobs herself because it was easier. And I'm sure it was - I've found it easier to just do them myself than have to follow behind the kids and see that they do it right. I would see Mama clean on Saturday, her day off, and just do the dishes and some laundry during the week, but there was lots of clutter and everything was dirty again by Saturday. I thought you just left it till Saturday and then worked all day to get it back in order. Then my mother got very sick when I was 11, leaving most of the housework to me. I had no clue even where to start. I felt guilty because I didn't just naturally know how to keep house. Didn't "normal" girls just know how to keep house? Then Mama died and Daddy remarried, but we went through the same things - clean up really good, then none of us maintained it, so we ended right back in the same circle of a messy house. When I got married, I wanted so bad to have a clean home, and I would get it clean - but the same old cycle started again - clean it up, relax and enjoy it, get messy and dirty again, spend a whole day cleaning. We eventually ended up, after 15 years, with clutter everywhere and nothing ever really clean.

Enter FlyLady! I frequently visited the SHEs in Touch forum, where FlyLady was also a member. I asked there if someone could please help me, and someone mentioned that FlyLady had just started a mentoring e-mail list. I subscribed, thinking I had nothing to lose, and I was hooked! This system made sense! If you maintain the clean through routines and get rid of the clutter, your home will begin to shine. I made myself morning and evening routines and started keeping up with the laundry, and my husband was so proud of me that he was telling people about how well I was doing, and he was so happy not to have to look for his clothes and wait for me to iron them every morning.

I wish I could say that my house is now always spotless, my laundry is always caught up, and I never have to stash and dash when company comes. I haven't reached perfection yet (did I just use the P word?), but our home is 10,000 times better since I found FlyLady - just ask my husband - but I still have to motivate myself to get off my backside and work my plan. I have my routines written down and in my Control Journal, but that's as far as I've gotten with that, even after 5 years. I'm currently pulling it together so I'll have everything I need in one place to manage my home.

I've felt ashamed many times to have to actually write down lists of basic routines, but what is shameful about using help when it's there? Ever since we were first married and had no money (like now!), I've made a menu and a grocery list every week, so that I'd get everything I needed and nothing I didn't. This is the same principle: spending my time wisely so that I do the things I need to and not waste my time on those I don't need to (still working on that part, though!). God has a few things to say about planning your work too:
Pro 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Pro 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Pro 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Pro 23:19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Pro 24:3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
Pro 24:4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Pro 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

When you need instruction and you find it, don't be ashamed to use it! So that's what FlyLady has been for me - instruction in how to keep my home, which is God's call on my life.

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