Friday, November 07, 2008

FlyLady Failure: a whine

I discovered the FlyLady a couple of years ago. My ex was trying to get full custody of our son, my house was indeed in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) and I was depressed and had undiagnosed hypothyroidism which not only piled on 30 lbs but also left me in a permanent "blonde moment" and in constant need of a nap. It was horrible.
I liked the concept of FlyLady: baby steps, doing just a little at a time so it's no so overwhelming, getting rid of shit you don't need a/k/a "clutter", setting a timer for 15 minutes. I've always been a slob. Always. Even in the Navy I had a hard time keeping my barracks room fit for inspection, even fear of being written up (there was a word for this but I can't remember it now) didn't motivate me. So I tried FlyLady. But I never really "got with the programme" 100%. I never "got dressed to shoes" because nothing fit except sweatpants and I slept in those, I couldn't do a load of laundry a day because I don't have a washing machine. I didn't put post-it notes up everywhere to remind me to do things. I did manage some of the FlyLady habits. I would, mostly, do the dishes before bed and clean out the sink. I would "swish and swipe" and had somewhat of a morning routine. Not a good one. I was constantly tweaking it, and never could find a routine that worked.
But like most things, I crashed and burned. FlyLady says she designed her system so we wouldn't crash and burn. But there was always something to be done: put out a "hot spot" and the "do it now" approach. Having a toddler at the time, it was overwhelming. I'd no sooner tidy up one room only to find 2 others trashed. There was also a obsessive/compulsive feel to the shiny sink. And there's this expectation that if your house doesn't look like a bread & breakfast, or company ready all the time, it's not the system, it's you. There's also a lot of guilt tripping about making "magical moments" with your children and/or spouse and that you'll have all the free time in the world to lavish attention on them because your house will practically clean itself! I don't know, some of it seems utterly unrealistic. For example, from a FlyLady email about gearing up for the Holidays:
The very first thing that we all have to do is maintain our homes.
Now I am talking about having your routines established so your home
practically cleans itself. I know you don't believe me, but it will
happen if you will just get up and dress to shoes every single day,
commit to keeping your sink shining and lay out your clothes for

FlyLady worked better for me when I was a smoker, for a couple of reasons. First, I would wake up and go have a cigarette. The only place I smoked in my house was under the oven fan. This would prompt me to put away last nights (clean) dishes in the drainer, and also remember to take my meds (I keep meds in a kitchen cabinet). So I had a bit of a routine to go there. I have no reason to go into the kitchen now and it looks like it should have hazmat warnings posted with yellow caution tape.
Another reason FlyLady worked better for me as a smoker was a "reward" for getting through a 15 minute session: a smoke! It was like a little 5 minute break, and then I'd be ready for the next 15 minute task. I'm not ready to take up smoking again though.
End of this rant.

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