Having Cake and Eating It, Too

In my home, domestic chores are usually forgotten about while the kids get loads of attention. It also doesn’t help that I am scatterbrained, unable to maintain a routine, and generally lazy about cleaning. So, aside from washing dishes and doing laundry (lest we run naked and hungry), my house is usually CHAOS. As in Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

I didn’t come up with that phrase, of course. It belongs to the Flylady, who has a smarmy self-help website chock full of witty sayings and clever tips to get you on the way to having a relatively orderly home.

The Flylady is an interesting character. She bombards me with no fewer than 8 emails a day, asking me things like, “What’s for dinner?” “Where are your shoes?” “Do your bedtime routine!” But she doesn’t come across as a nagging mother-type, or I would have unsubscribed immediately. She’s more like a voice of helpful reason, kind of like calendar reminders in Outlook. The usefulness far outweighs the annoyance-factor.

So, I’m trying it, this Flylady thing. I’m spending just 15 minutes a day in the current Zone (which, this week, is Kitchen, Front Porch and Entryway). I’m shining my sink at night before I go to bed (and getting the coffee pot ready, which is my true gift to myself).

This FLYing stuff is sort of working. I don’t always hit every Mission and I don’t always go to bed with a shiney sink, but any little thing is better than nothing at all, right? And it seems that the motivation to clean and organize and tidy up is gaining momentum. Unfortunately, it also seems that the more cleaning up I do, the less attention the kids get. And this is becoming a vicious cycle of them acting up, me getting mad, them acting worse, me losing my temper, and all of us in tears.

So today, I spent 15 minutes in the zone, except not cleaning. I sat in the entryway and read books to the girls. Three books. We read “The Owl Book”, which is not what it’s called but what we call it since there’s a picture of a wide-eyed owl on the cover. We read The Fire Cat, which the kids got for Christmas from a friend and which I remember reading as a kid (and loving). We also read Just Me and My Puppy, also a Christmas gift. And everyone was happy.

I’ve learned that the Flylady is right. You do need to do just a little bit every day. You’re not behind; just jump in right where we are. And sometimes, where we are is in the middle of the hallway, reading books.

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