Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Clean Home

I sit here at my computer.

My house is clean.

Not perfectly clean, not perfectly organized.

But so clean and so organized that I can hardly believe it is indeed my house.

You see, I got hooked on Flylady. I didn't think I needed rescue help from a personal online coach. My house was not the victim of utter CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I have people over usually twice a week--and manage to make it through the day without utter despair (most days). But what I lacked--and what FlyLady helped me with--was a good routine.

I dislike housework. Dishes, laundry, picking up, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms...! Yuck. I just plain dislike it.

Or so I thought.

It turns out I do not dislike housework so much as I dislike always trying to play catch up. And I'm constantly trying to get caught up because I do not have a good plan. And because I've evidently been harboring some deep and unreasonable hope that someone (maybe the Cleaning Fairy who lived at my parents' house?) would eventually show up and start keeping up with all this housework. That I shouldn't really be called upon to keep up with things because what do they think, it's my job or something?? For almost 4 years I've had the following verse hung up on my refrigerator:

"...Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be pure, sensible, workers at home (emphasis my own), kind, being subject to their own husbands so the word of God will not be dishonored."

Titus 2:4-5

And all this time, I've always felt perfectly justified to claim victory in this verse because having lotsa little children is work and because I didn't *go* to work, therefore, I worked at home.


I frequently had weeks on end where each day was marked by me trying to grab a nap whilst the kids watched a show, then scrambling to eat, check email, take a shower, dress: myself and the wee ones (and did I know where their socks were? Mmm...somewhere in this pile. Or maybe this pile. *dig dig dig* Mmm. Maybe they're not dry yet?) I wanted to do what was fun or at least not housework as often as possible. And I made a lot of selfish choices in order to pursue this end. Of course, while the choices were selfish, the repercussions were probably much harder than the actual work would've been. I mean, really, who wants to dig for 5 entire outfits (shirts, pants, socks, underwear) that somewhat match/fit EACH MORNING EVEN SUNDAY WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO ACTUALLY BE SOMEWHERE ON TIME???

Then I read a bit which pointed a bony finger of conviction in my direction. It labled the wife of the family as the "thermostat of the family." Evidently, I'd been relegating myself to the position of "thermometer" merely reflecting the heat in the house, when I should've been *setting* the temperature for the rest of my family. My home, ideally, should be a haven for my family, a place of peace. And yes, sometimes of quiet.

*Mull mull mull*

I did not like how snappish I'd become. How short-tempered. How selfish. I did not like digging for underwear at 4 am when my son needed a fresh pair because he'd wet his last clean ones. And then, after drowsily digging for ten or so minutes, having to tell him he'd have to just wear pj pants until the morning because I couldn't find any. And then having to feel guilty when he cried because he's very particular about how his clothes feel on his body and he doesn't like just wearing pants to bed. Poor guy. I didn't like watching my husband struggle to get to work on time because he couldn't find clean clothes, couldn't find clean dishes to pack a lunch with, and had no good options for lunch anyway, because we hadn't planned ahead when grocery shopping.

*heaves a sigh*

This. was. not. working.

Hence the change of plans.

I am already amazed at what I've learned and benefitted from this program, this free program. Perhaps it's not for everyone. I certainly didn't think it would be for me.

But as I perch on my stool and type these words, this is what I can see to my right: Countertops with nothing on them. A sink with no dirty dishes in it. Gleaming tile floors that have actually been swept AND mopped. A clean dishtowel hanging on the oven door.
Behind me: A living room with nothing on the floor. Except one cat toy.
To my left: More gleaming tile. An entryway shelf with only the amount of shoes that actually fits. Coat hooks that don't look like they're starting to mutate into a coat monster. A seating area with only my bag on it--no papers, books, or toys stacked precariously.

And I know the rest of the house is similar.

And most importantly--

I did not have to work long or hard for any of these things to happen. I had a plan and I actually used the plan, and it worked. Hallelujah! I even have a plan in case I don't follow the plan one day. The FlyLady is constantly reminding me that I don't have to worry about catching up, I just need to jump in and get started. What a lifted weight, one that I didn't even realize I was carrying.


Sasha said...

Girl, I just have to tell you that I popped over to say hi to you and your sweet blog... love the update, AND love the Anne of Green Gables reference on your bio too! You're a kindred spirit! :)

By the way, I think Fly Lady rocks too...

Angela said...

I'm a bit behind... but I just wanted to say bravo! :) Excellent post and very encouraging. I love you! :)


Angela said...

I should clarify, I am a bit behind on reading your post... not on the Fly Lady stuff... I'm jumping in whereever I am at!! :)

Following my King said...