Flylady, the lovable woman who insists anyone can have a clean and peaceful home, is an internet phenomenon. Her no-nonsense advice and pointed reminders have helped people across the globe. She believes her system will work for anyone, regardless of age, sex, income, country or employment status. (Flylady points out that she is a working woman, therefore her system works for working women. And I know from personal experience that it works for those who stay at home.)
I followed Flylady for many years. And felt guilty for not being able to make it work. It was a struggle for me. I would get the reminders as I sat at work, and had every intention of doing the tasks when I got home. But life, more often than not, intervened.
I have decided to free myself of the guilt of not being able to make Flylady’s system work. I feel guilty because it worked for me in a small condo before children, and it worked when I was unemployed. Yet add an out-of-home job and child into the mix, and I can’t make the system work. Was I not doing it right? Flylady would tell me the problem was me.
Here are the ways Flylady doesn’t work for me:
The Massive Influx of Emails
When I left Flylady, I was getting 30-40 emails a day from her. Besides the reminder emails which were supposed to spur me into doing something around the house, I also received testimonials, missions of the day, product recommendations, recipes and various other sundry. Her recommendation was to save the reminder emails up for when I got home and deal with them then. But honestly, when I got home, I didn’t want to fire up my computer and drag myself through 10 emails to remind me of things I was already “late” on.
While I understand the idea of breaking a house into Zones and focusing on each one to prevent distraction, I never could cram my house to fit into the standard 5 zones. A whole week in the kitchen, and a partial week to cover my living room, music room and sun room? How about week three, with two bathrooms, and three bedrooms? And does the guest room need to be cleaned as often as my daughter’s room? Then there was the mixing in of Kelly’s missions, which were supposed to lead us through cleaning the entire house. If I did the mission it wouldn’t necessarily address what needed to be done.
No one appreciates a full amount of sleep more than I do. And I do aim to get to bed by 10:30 every night. But the Flylady reminder fires out at 9:00 to start getting ready for bed. With my daughter going to bed at 8:30, the only time I have to myself is after she goes to bed. I grew resentful of being told I had to take my down time and go shine my sink.
Yes, the sink is a good place to start. Cleaning out your sink and giving yourself a clean spot to “grow” from. But being reminded to keep my sink shiny when there are other people in the house is pointless. I was constantly shining my sink, only to have someone put dishes into it. And her solutions to this just increased the stress level in my house.
Yes, having shoes on can save you from injury. I know that, because I managed to break a toe playing Scrabble. But having shoes on in the house is a good way to spread dirt around. I’m not Mr. Rodgers. I don’t have time to be switching shoes.
Why Say All This?
My sole reason for saying all this is to let everyone know that if Flylady doesn’t work for you, IT’S OKAY. You’re not the only one. Dump the guilt and move on.
And why break it down? Because I’ve been thinking about where I couldn’t do Flylady, and I’m going to make my own system to compensate for the weaknesses I found in Flylady. Because all that really matters is that I get to a peaceful and orderly home.