If there are two words I (and my hubby) thought would never be heard together, it’s “Kell” and “Housework”. I have never been good at housework. In fact, I’ll put my hand up and admit to being quite possibly the messiest person in the world. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I don’t tend to notice the clutter – my flat is clean, but kind of, well, shall we say not just “lived in”, but “very lived in”. Dale has always been better at the housekeeping side of things and I’m ashamed to say that up until now he has had to remind me (and remind me, and remind me again!) to do things.
To date, the only time I ever seriously got the cleaning bug was if I was furious about something. If Dale ever came home and found me scrubbing kitchen cupboards and emptying closets, he knew it was best to steer clear of me for an hour or so till I calmed down, then give me a hug and I would be back to normal. I’m mostly a very even-tempered person, so these blow-outs were few and far between, and no amount of Dale trying to pick a fight in order to give me a cleaning bug worked because we are really bad at fighting with each other (we always end up either laughing at how ridiculous we sound or apologising to one another within five minutes and doing the old “kiss and make up” thing).
When I got pregnant, Dale slowly began taking on more and more of the housework until he was doing it all (apart from cooking and cleaning the bathroom, both of which remained my domain) and then, after Xander was born, he continued doing it. Then I went back to work and things all went to pot because Dale, Super Dad and Super Hubby though he is, couldn’t do everything AND look after Xander in the afternoons.
So, when I quit work I decided I would have to do something to pick up the pace a little and chip in more around the flat, seeing as how I’m the one who’s home all day now. But there was one little snag – I didn’t want to have to sacrifice Quality Time with Xander and I didn’t want to have to whiz round cleaning like a mad woman every time he went down for a nap – if I did that, I’d soon be exhausted and the sacrifice of quality time would happen anyway by default!
Then, almost a week ago, I read a comment on one of the forums I’m on which alluded to a system – The FlyLady system. I’d never heard of it, but the women who mentioned it said that using this system meant she always had time to spend with her family, work on her hobbies and even have some “Me Time” to herself. I was curious and did a little searching. What I found inspired me and may well have changed me forever!
The FlyLady system consists of a series of “baby steps” which “FlyBabies” follow, one by one – a new one every day to add to the backlist. The first one is astoundingly simple – Go Shine Your Sink. Every night, before you go to bed, make sure your sink is sparkling.
So that first night, I shined my sink. I wasn’t 100% sure if it was the kitchen or bathroom one that was meant (apparently it’s the kitchen one!) so I shined both of them. The next morning, I was greeted by the sight of my sparkling sink and do you know what? I suddenly felt amazingly positive about the day and the thought of following the next Baby Step.
Baby Step 2 was just as simple – Get Dressed to Lace Up Shoes. Basically I had to shower, do my hair and face, get dressed and put on lace up shoes. Actually, this one felt a bit strange to me, because I go barefoot at home and, to be honest, would go barefoot outside too if we didn’t live in the city where there are all manner of nasties lying on the pavement! Still, I did it.
And at night, I shined my sink.
Baby Step 3 seemed too easy to be true – Do What We Have Already Done! Get dressed to my shoes, shine my sink and read my reminders…
By this time, I was already checking out the rest of the site and had begun compiling my Control Journal. Each day I was adding an extra little thing to my list of things to do daily. I was focusing on Zones and doing mini-blasts that didn’t have to be perfect so long as I did them – in fact, perfectionism is positively discouraged because it holds us back from getting on with the job at hand.
I’ve been following the FlyLady system for almost a week now and you know what? I’m actually enjoying it! Can you believe that? I’m no longer dreading the housework because I know that I just have to focus on one area for a certain short length of time and then I’m done. Along with my Daily Do list, I’m slowly getting on top of things and already the place is looking a whole lot better.
And Dale has noticed the change – both in the flat and in me. He can’t believe how well I’m doing and I’m not sacrificing any Quality Time with Xander at all, which is brilliant. An added bonus is that all the added activity of the housework combined with the fact that I no longer spend my afternoons cooped up in an office, chained to a desk, I’ve stopped dieting, but am still managing to shed a few pounds. The weight is coming off slowly, but it’s coming off steadily and I’m not even trying – hurrah!
So, three things I’ve learned over the past week, courtesy of FlyLady:
- A load of laundry a day keeps the CHAOS* at bay!
- I can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes.
- A shiny sink can change your life!
If you’re living in CHAOS and would like to really FLY, I can heartily recommend nipping over to visit FlyLady’s site. You’ll come away with a brighter, more positive outlook and know that you really can make a difference one Baby Step at a time. FlyLady – you’re amazing. A big thank you from me and another one from my Hubby who can’t believe that after almost ten years together, I’m suddenly turning into a Domestic Goddess!
* CHAOS stands for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome