Monday, January 26, 2015

Lacing up my shoes

Another of my new year's goals was to try staying on a better cleaning schedule. For those of you who know me personally, you can attest I'm no Martha Stewart. And, my mother can reveal how, at a young age, I was skilled in the art of procrastination when it came to chores. Believe me, I had lots of persuasive excuses. I avoided scrubbing that tub for weeks because I had homework, was hungry, was reading, or needed to shower.

My husband is either a saint or really isn't bothered by messes (we're going with the saint bit) because he never complains about the state of the house. Which also means I don't even need to make excuses to anyone, thus making it really easy to continue putting off washing dishes.

This year though, I decided I wanted to come up with a better system, so I wasn't attempting to clean absolutely everything in my house on a single day because company was arriving tomorrow.

My mom recommended Fly Lady.

You might remember that I was personally offended by FlyLady last week.

            On Wednesday, I had a little mini meltdown over FlyLady. I said to hubby, "FlyLady made me feel like a bum today!"

I've noticed that as a society, we seem to get offended a lot. It's like we look for reasons to get upset. I got all up on my high horse because someone, I didn't even know, recommended that getting dressed completely from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes might improve my productivity. And that it was for the good of my children. And that it was a "problem" among SAHMs. 

Ding. Ding. Ding. 

I guess it's because she referred to some majorly touchy subjects, as silly as that sounds. Why should someone offering advice to benefit my family offend me? As I sat in my pajamas reading the article, I felt defensive because FlyLady was telling me I was unproductive, that I was a bad parent, and that I had a problem. 

Or was she?
"I see this problem more in the SAHM(Stay at home Moms) because they don’t have to leave the house and it is not necessary to get dressed every morning, only their children are going to see them. I want you to listen very closely. You have the most important job of all, raising productive adults. NOW do you want your children to remember that mom didn’t get dressed until it was time for Dad to get home. Or do you want them to have to answer the door because you are still in your gown and bathrobe."
Perhaps she could have worded her advice a little more charitably. The "Mommy Wars" (battle between working moms vs SAHMs) is a hot topic (although I don't think it should be), and I interpreted that FlyLady thinks working moms have it all together and the only reason a SAHM wouldn't get dressed for the day is because she doesn't have anywhere to go; ignoring the fact that sometimes it takes awhile to get all the kids dressed, fed, and find time to shower (Why doesn't she have showering outlined in her list of daily activities?). 

After initially feeling resentful, I took a step back and tried to look at what FlyLady was trying to say without seeing red. I mean... I was actually fairly unproductive. I had probably sat at the kitchen table and stared at the computer for an hour in my PJ's while my baby ate, had a bottle, and played with her toys. Meanwhile, dishes sat by the sink and crumbs lay all around the highchair. I certainly wasn't using my time responsibly. 

I still think getting dressed all the way to your shoes, fixing your hair and face, and brushing your teeth as soon as your feet hit the floor each morning is a bit unrealistic. I mean, seriously, when are you supposed to eat breakfast, shower, and take care of the kids. I guess I could wake up an hour before the baby gets up, but I reallllly like my sleep. But, I realized FlyLady's approach really has to be rigorous. The only way she can guarantee that her readers will absolutely stay on track is if she gets them in a strict routine. She really can't say, "Pick and choose which parts of this routine work for you".

But, as a human being with free will and, hopefully, some common sense, I can choose to decide what routine will work for me, and I really have seen an improvement in my daily cleaning routine thanks to what I have read on I now make sure all the dishes are finished all night, I created a weekly cleaning schedule that works just for me, and I don't sit in front of the computer while my baby eats and plays- I tidy up the kitchen instead. My own goal is to make sure I'm at least dressed by 10 am at the latest whether I'm going out or not. That may seem late to most, but you know what, it works for me and my family. However, due to feeling rebellious, I'll probably still refuse to wear shoes in the house. :)

This was pretty long, and I apologize, but I guess what I'm getting around to is this: use your common sense, don't waste time getting upset over what people say (especially when they aren't personally attacking you), and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to advice from others. Also, remember what is important. My ultimate goal is not solely being productive and having a clean and perfect house, but to create an environment of peace and joy in my household where we can fully live our faith and show love to one another.

She's helping clean up Mommy's mess


  1. I had to throw some of the FlyLady ideas out the window because I don't even HAVE lace-up shoes. Haha. But she has so many sound ideas about cleaning that have definitely helped me stay more organized. Of course a lot of that went out the window as well when the baby was born... lol.

    1. That is so funny! I think I have too many shoes, but I just don't want to track more things around the house. One of the things I really like about following her is her extra daily tasks. It sometimes gets me thinking about cleaning something that never crossed my mind before.

  2. Wow. I had never heard of the flyLady before reading this.
    I couldn't agree more about people (me included) getting offended right quickly. Good for you, taking a step back and actually getting to the point of the article. We certainly have to come up with schedules of our own. I'm in the get up and shower before the kids get up camp, but I put pajamas right back on. I only get dressed if I'm leaving the house or if people are coming over.

    1. Christine, my mom used FlyLady as we got a little older. We teased her a lot because she was always referencing FlyLady. I still laugh at myself whenever I read an article or do some cleaning based on her recommendation because I never ever pictured myself getting into her site.

      Oh, and confession: I still have pajamas on today :)

  3. I totally agree! I have a really hard time with advice type blogs because I take them literally and feel like they're calling me out as a failure if I don't follow them exactly. (Imagine my anxiety as a new mother when I read conflicting parenting books!) I think yours is the healthy approach--be open to learning, modify it to work for you, don't take it as a personal insult.

  4. Hey Rachel, mommy and I were talking recently about how every moment is a new moment! I've been praying a lot for he grace to get up and do things the instant I realize I'm sitting around doing nothing, in my pajamas...note how I, your little, unmarried sister with no children, probably do less than you do once I get home from work ;D Keep up the good work!