Just a note: I am not affiliated with FlyLady or her website in any way. I do not get paid for anything to do with her or her system. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not associated with any type of monetary gain, I just think she’s awesome! 🙂
So, what’s a FlyBaby? A FlyBaby is a term coined by The Original FlyLady, Marla Cilley, to describe the people who follow the FlyLady system. It’s a term of endearment she uses when speaking to her “FlyBabies”.
I first found The FlyLady about 10 years ago thanks to my sister-of-the-heart, TimberLeaves. I was a young mother, Mini-Me was about 13 years old and had just come to live with me full-time. My entire life was in an uproar, but my house was in C.H.A.O.S., or Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrom. (This is also a term coined by The FlyLady which basically means that my house was a mess and I was embarrassed for anyone to come over beyond one friend who’s house was in worse shape than mine.)
I was just over 30 and that was one of those milestone ages for me. I was so stressed over my weight, my home, my life, my marriage, everything. I was helping one of my best friends, SweetPea, raise her three special-needs teens as well. Then my teenage daughter who had lived with my first husband for 10 years suddenly decided she wanted to live with us. To say my life was a literal madhouse would be an understatement.
Although I’d been raised by a woman who I distinctly recall on her hands and knees in six-inch heels and a dress, cleaning the corners of the kitchen floor with a toothbrush when I was very young (my mother was very OCD and a clean-freak), it seemed that I had not gotten that gene, a fact that greatly disturbed my mother and caused us many problems throughout my life.
Dust coated everything in my house. Clutter was everywhere. Mt. Washmore was climbing the walls. Paul had a very bad habit of sticking dirty dishes in the oven and not telling me they were there and I was too unorganized to remember to check myself. My refrigerator was a science project unto itself.
I was disorganized and overwhelmed, something that it seemed like I always was. It seemed like the only good habits I’d developed as an adult were meal planning, frugal shopping and keeping the pantry organized.
Truth be told, when I first found FlyLady, all I did was “flutter”, another term used by The FlyLady to describe FlyBabies who tried to follow the system but couldn’t quite stick with it. It helped, but I was still prone to Emergency Cleaning whenever my mother would call to say she was coming over and I was still in a constant state of stress 99% of the time.
I kept going back though. Her system seemed like it should be so simple, yet I was having the hardest time with it and I couldn’t understand why.
Truth be told, it took me years to understand what I was doing wrong and a few more years to start to break the habits that were keeping me chained to my stress. Looking back now, I realize part of the problem was that I was still young myself, but the biggest problem that was holding me back was perfectionism from being raised by an OCD mother that rarely did anything but clean and who constantly made me feel that my efforts at cleaning were not good enough.
When I would start back on FlyLady’s system, I was forgetting some of the principals her system is founded on. No whining allowed. You can’t clean clutter. You’re not behind, just jump in where you are. And my favorite, Cleaning done imperfectly still blesses your family.
I was like my mom in that I was a housekeeping martyr. When I did clean, I did Emergency Cleaning to the point that while I was happier with how the house looked, I was completely exhausted mentally and emotionally, then I guilt-tripped my family for all that I had done, and their part in letting it get that way, and was too tired, stressed and overwhelmed to keep up with it.
Before the accident, I felt that I had finally figured out the system and how to keep myself on track with it. My house was reasonably clean at all times, I didn’t mind if someone stopped by unexpectedly, and I’d finally stopped stressing and obsessing over all the little details. I stayed busy, but not so much so that I couldn’t get up and do it again the next day.
Then we had the accident. We couldn’t go home for nearly 6 months because of my wheelchair and then my walker. When we finally did go home, I was still in incredible pain, barely able to walk and unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. Paul tried to help, bless his heart, but he’s no housewife, lol.
Eventually, I sent him back to work and then he didn’t have time to help. I was improving my physical abilities, but it was still so hard. I fell back into the old habits of guilt-tripping myself for all I wasn’t doing.
We moved in with Chicklet a few months ago, and I was overwhelmed by the state of her house, too. An ex-girlfriend and some family that had lived with her had not done anything to help around the house and it had fallen into pretty bad shape while she worked insane hours and tried to have some kind of a social life. Again with the bad habits, I busted my ass trying to do everything at once and burned myself out again physically, mentally and emotionally.
I was keeping up with the day-to-day stuff, but just barely and I realized I was entering that martyr mindset again.
Then this morning, I got up to dishes everywhere, clean laundry climbing out of a laundry basket, boxes all over my living room from trying to go through things that had just been shoved here and there when we moved, and the thing that sent me over the edge, Paul had to go into work and didn’t have clean work pants.
I had to shuffle clean clothes from basket to basket to get an empty basket to gather up the dirty clothes that were piled up on my bedroom floor. I saw my unmade bed and realized that although I’d washed our sheets over a week ago, I never got them back on the bed. I very nearly sat down and cried.
Instead, I put the clothes in the washer, made a cup of coffee and sat to down to evaluate what was happening and what I needed to do about it, a new habit I’ve been working on to try to manage my stress and anxiety.
I realized that while I thought I was following the FlyLady system, I really wasn’t. I was missing the main principals again and was about to run head-first into a crisis cleaning that was only going to make me hurt again.
You’re not behind, just jump in where you are, right? And while you’re at it, No Whining!
So far, I’ve gotten the dirty clothes washed, all the clean clothes folded, hung and put away including what I washed this morning. I got dressed and fixed my hair. I swished and swiped the bathroom and gathered all the dirty towels and rags to be changed out and started gathering trash from the small trash cans around the house.
In between when I sit down to rest, I’ve been writing this blog post and feel like I’m finally overcoming that weird kind of writer’s block I mentioned in my post about not sleeping and suffering from mild exhaustion.
It also helps that I have managed to sleep better the last two nights than I was for nine days straight.
It’s not even quite noon yet and already I feel like I’ve got a game plan, a healthy attitude and have made progress on the house.
Now, I’m off into the rest of my day. Time to think about what’s for dinner and get something laid out and wash the dishes so I can shine my sink. 🙂
If you’re not familiar with The FlyLady, hop over to her website and check her out. I also found a wonderful lady on YouTube named FlyLady Kat that follows the FlyLady system and she helps break things down and explains some of the steps in her videos!