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On FlyLady and my severe resistance; analyze me, please!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've visited flylady.net once in a while for probably 4 years now. I find the web site is overwhelming, but the theory, once I slog through it, sounds excellent. I have never "done" flylady.

Now help me, mommas! I visited there again today and got this close (finger and thumb millimeters apart) to commiting to take on a teeny-tiny routine, but my whole mind and body rebelled/objected/protested. This voice inside me said...well I'm not sure what, but something like "No, you can't make me! No one is going to make me do any kind of routine. Routines are for other people." What the heck is that about??

I am a grown woman, mother of children, wife of a fine husband. And I am very frustrated with this stubborn, pathetic person inside me.
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
What will I lose? Freedom. What will I gain? Obligation. If I commit then people will start expecting me to keep it up.

Expectations is what it comes down to. If I don't do it at all than no one can criticize me, least of all myself.

I discovered recently that I have a learning disability. It affects how well I comprehend and organize auditory information. When a teacher/boss/parent/friend is telling me how to do something I hear steps 1 and 2 but maybe get stuck on 3 and therefore never hear 4 through 8. It's been like that all my life. So at this point in my life I'd say it's 40% biology, 60% bad habits and laziness.

Thanks, people, for letting me think out loud. Thanks, Celestial!
post #3 of 15
i can relate.

i have a rebellion thing going on, too, with routine and time in general. i'm trying to figure out how to guide dd in such a way that she doesn't get this bad domestic rebellion habit from me. i remember growing up when my mom would ask/tell me to unload the dishwasher, she had to ask numerous times and then on the 3rd time or so i would say, "i was just gonna do that" all petulantly and teenagerish (which was appropriate since i was a teenager). i find that attitude still creeps out. (i also hate people reading over my shoulder.) so, although it's almost foreign to me, i'd like to instill in dd her own personal motivation in keeping things neat and organized and clean. i'm not sure how i'm going to get that across with our house looking like clutter central, but...

as an aside, i caught an episode of "clean sweep" on TLC for the first time the other night. it was almost an attractive idea. the premise is basically a decluttering and redecorating show in one. the bad part is they show just how cluttered and junky the victims' house is first, then they drag everything (in the rooms they're redoing) out on the front lawn where they have to go through it all (toss, sell, keep). while they're doing that, the show people are redoing the rooms, painting, shelving, etc. then they have a yard sale with the "sell" stuff and put the "keep" stuff back in the newly fixed up rooms. it was sort of inspirational, but i only got one surface cleaned off before dd covered it back up. maybe one of these days...
post #4 of 15
Originally posted by journeymom
What will I lose? Freedom. What will I gain? Obligation. If I commit then people will start expecting me to keep it up.
I think, as Celestial said, you are definitely confusing routine with schedule. One of Flylady's recent (well, maybe a month ago) emails was how "routines aren't straightjackets". They are not there to lock you into something, they are there to *help* you. If they are not helping, then change them. If they are stressing you out, then change them

As for obligation, just don't tell anyone what you're doing! Feeling obligated to yourself is harder of course. I do know what you mean on this one. Not housekeeping so much but for me it's weight loss. If I don't bother to try and lose weight then it's ok that I'm over 200 lbs :LOL Yeah, whatever. I know it doesn't make sense but I hear you.

Oh, and if you have trouble with auditory info then do what Flylady suggests and write it down! Her method started with The Sidetracked Home Executive women who suggest using index cards. Flylady uses email but also suggests writing your routines into a control journal. And she stresses to keep it SIMPLE. Don't write down every single thing you think the house needs or you will be overwhelmed and burn out. Just write down what you are capable of and willing to do now.
post #5 of 15
Well, I haven't exactly been doing flylady, because trying to cope with all the gimmicks was impossible! But I was going to start doing cleaning routines.

I'll tell you what's been hard about that. I decided to only try to do the things that are important to me: the dishes (and the sink!) cleaning the bathroom, and making the bed. Well, my dh is the one at home during the day, and doing the dishes and making the bed aren't important to him. So if I have time and make the bed, he doesn't mess it up. But if I clear and clean the sink, he invariably fills it with dirty dishes. Sometimes really gross ones too.

At first it was liberating (in a very weird way) to think of myself as the only person in the house responsible for doing housework. (This is one of the underlying pieces of flylady philosophy that goes against my belief system!) But after about a week and a half, it gets old. I just can't think, "Oh, it's okay that I'm the one working 9-5 and I'm also the one taking on making sure that our sink is cleaned every day." (My dh does dishes, he just doesn't do them very regularly, is the crux of it.) No! I feel quite put upon! I don't want to use my precious time at home to wash dishes! If my baby is awake, I want to play with him. If he is asleep, I want to work out! I want to play on the net! I want to read a book!

The truth is, I'm going to be the one doing the dishes every day anyway. Why not develop an evening routine to get them done, instead of trying to squeeze them into my morning? I just can't get my resentful feelings under control.
post #6 of 15
Celestial, that was a great post!

Now, let me say: I don't mind doing things for my dh. he does a lot for me. he even does a lot of cleaning.

What I don't like is my sense that he doesn't care about the things that I think are kind of basic to having a nice life. We both grew up in homes where the dishes are done after each meal. My folks have a dishwasher; his mom doesn't (and we don't) but in neither home would you just get up from the table and leave the dishes. And, when we are at our mothers' houses, or when they visit us, my dh cleans up just fine.

In fact, the flylady's routines aren't that different from the routines I had growing up. I just find it difficult to keep it all going with no support. My dad always did the dishes with my mom...It's true that my late-FIL, though a wonderful man, didn't do dishes.


I wonder what my dh will do when I bring him this insight...

Journeymom, this might not be your deal. You might have some totally different reasons for not wanting to take on cleaning the house. It just occurred to me that you might also not want to be the one doing all the cleaning...
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
But I'm coming to look at it this way, I can have a dirty house, and resent DH for not doing anything, and be unhappy, or I can have a cleaner house, still resent DH for not doing anything, but not have the added stress and unhappiness of a chaotic environment on tiop of it.

Ooooh! I like that. That makes sense.
post #8 of 15
i'll chime in here, as i have the exact same resistance to flylady, even as i appreciate her well-thought out system and the psychic benefits of a tidy house....
and like shannoncc, i have a similarly strong resistance to diets and dieting.
so far, all i've been able to tease out of this seething mass of childish resistance and resentment is that my mom makes herself miserable and has as long as i can remember with serial dieting, and she also drove/drives herself to distraction trying to keep her house clean, especially for visitors. so for me these two subject areas represent some of the most dysfunctional modeling that my mother did, and they also represent what was most oppressive about the gender conditioning i received.

but that's probably overthinking it. i like what all of you have said about not wanting to take on "official" responsibility for this endless burden, and i think my resistance comes at a deep level (as someone alluded to) to being forced as a child to do housework that i didn't want to do. yes, that's definitely it for me. i was often forced as a child to do cleaning that i didn't want to do and i'll be damned if i'll ever put myself in that situation again, even if it's only by signing up for an e-mail list.
hmmm, i'm going to chew that over a bit and see if i can't let go of that old wound....

thanks for posting this! it's been very helpful for me.. .
warml y,
susa n
post #9 of 15
Originally posted by Celestial
So maybe no getting a cleaning "routine" is like saying, "I do not care what other people think of me, I'm not going to live by other people's expectations, and I have the messy house to prove it?" LOL!
ooooo! oooo! i can do that one, definitely. i'm quite the rebel in my head that way. my mom, while great, did have quite a bit of that "what will people think" thing going on about the house and our appearance. i mean she pretty much let me wear whatever i wanted, but she had some serious angst about jeans with holes in them. i think dh's mom was the same way.

hmmmmmm...something to think over...

i also wanted to add that i just realized the other day while at the library that i have what i call a geographic memory. i might not remember the title or author of a book, but i remember where i found it on the shelf. i think that can be a drawback for me in having an organized living situation 'cause i remember too well which pile of crap and maybe even where in the pile a particular thing is, rather than having a place for everything and everything in its place. if i didn't rely on the shortcut of knowing which pile something is supposed to be in at least i might be more motivated not to have so much clutter. i think it's the clutter that keeps me from having a cleaner house because i don't want to spend the time to put things away before i even begin to clean. i'm pg now and in the 3rd trimester so maybe i can harness a little nesting energy soon to get things a little bit more organized around here. i know with my first dd, the house was as clean as it's ever been when i was about 2 weeks away from delivering.
post #10 of 15
In my case, the resistance, while it can be partly resistance to being stuffy and boring etc.,

is really more about not loving myself enough to create peace and order, because the adreneline rush/drama from the chaos is so addictive.

It's also about not thinking I deserve a clean home. About pushing people away.

Plus it's BORING to clean up all day!

But I have made small and significant improvements since starting Flylady months ago. Still I sometimes cringe at the Testimonials from people who get it sooooo much faster than I have. Again, feeling less than, not deserving, but much of this I create myself.
post #11 of 15
Part of it could be your learning disability. One thing that really helped me- I was really unable to organize my house an declutter- was a book called Organizing for the Creative Person. I got it at the library, don't know the author- but its a big seller.

It pointed out how right brain people (I am one) need everything out where they can see it and need to organize differently. A left brain system will never work, although you need to learn some left-brain techniques if you have this issue.

You can tell if you are right or left brained by looking at your toothpaste tube. A left brain person's tube is neatly squeezed at the bottom with the cap on. A right brained person has a tube that is squeezed in a multilated shape and if you ask them what the cap is for, they say something like, you mean it had a cap?

I also have resentment towards housework because I had to clean up after my dad and brothers and was treated as a second class citizen because I was a girl and expected to obey and eat last so there's that link to housework that just makes me fume.

That said, I decluttered my house so I can make it look pretty good with 30 minutes notice. It was learned behavior and related to de-cluttering so I have less to clean. This was a huge change- my sister- the de-cluttering queen coached me (she doesn't have a business, she's just good at organizing)
post #12 of 15
I do want to defend my dh: he definitely does know how to wash dishes and clean the house.

Over weekend we had some guests. I was nursing the baby and fell asleep. So my dh cleaned up. (It was more cleaning than I would have done on a Jewish holiday anyway.) So he cleaned. He washed the floor, he tidied the living room--he did a lot of stuff. The ONE THING he didn't think was important was doing the dishes.

I looked at the house and thought: you know what, I can handle this. I just have to do the dishes.

(And uh, invite guests every weekend so my dh will clean the rest of the house!)
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'm breathing a sigh of relief and getting off my aching dogs for the first time in a few hours. The reason I haven't been back is because I went and signed up for FlyLady. She(they?) warn you over and over again about getting burned out when you take on too much at once, so I'm keeping it simple, ShannonCC.

There are so many good points here. Actually I read Julie Morgenstern's Organizing book a few years ago, when I wasn't ready for it. I knew there was useful stuff in there. But I had to get a handle on other issues in my life first before I could take on my "organizing style". I was just thinking about that book today, wondering if I should read it again. I'd probably get more out of it this time!

My mom was a mild martyr. There are worse moms out there. She chose to do loads and loads of laundry on Sunday rather than play with her kids. She'd iron Dad's underwear. : But the house wasn't spotless. So I can't really blame her for that.

Doing some introspection I decided I've used the "I don't care what others think about me" line as an excuse. Sort of like, "House cleaning is for uncreative, uneducated folks." But I'm not particularly creative! I'm no artiste or bohemian. But I DO want to be able to invite people over. I do want the house to be at least...reasonable when people show up unexpectedly.

And that's my problem with routines and lists and so on. I shouldn't need to make lists, I should just remember. I shouldn't have to develope a routine- though I don't know what I think I'm supposed to do insted.

The whole FlyLady web site is kinda cutesy, too, which has been a turn off. See, Julie Morgenstern comes at it like it's a psychology thesis project . But FlyLady offers much more support.

Well, I managed a before bed routine and a morning routine yesterday and today. Just emptying the dishwasher first thing this morning helped, because then for the rest of the day the dirty dishes could disappear in there. And- Dh commented on the appearance of the house. He noticed it's neater. Now, I am doing this for my sanity's sake, but it sure is nice to know that someone as unobservant as dh actually noticed a difference.

I think if I can get rid of that feeling that the cleaning lady judge is hanging over my sholder (can't really say it's my mom, that wouldn't be true or fair), and keep at it at my pace, maybe I can create a new habit.
post #14 of 15
Good luck with your endeavor!

I'll admit to hiring a cleaning lady three times to get the place in order after declutterring. It was worth it- now I do it myself, but I needed help on many fronts to turn over a new leaf.
post #15 of 15
Wow, thanks for this thread, I'm getting a lot out of it too!

I signed up for Flylady this summer too and have resisted. My excuse was my back hurt too much to do it. : (yes, Idid have pain problems, but just an excuse) Well now I'm getting back on track again, and I'm starting to try it once more.

You ladies had some great insights that I related too, but it's late and I can't find any of the ones I appreciated to quote. lol

Glad to know things are looking up for you Journeymom! I've been good making our bed each morning lately too! And trying to pick up all toys and things each evening. Baby steps.
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