Saturday, May 16, 2009

I found treasure

I've come across something that has really changed me. Its been such a help I want to share it with other moms. Have you heard of I first came across this web site when I was looking for a better way of getting my housework done, a schedule of sorts. I got that and so much more.

I felt like I could never keep my house clean. I was always overwhelmed by the load of dishes, floors needing to be vacuumed, laundry, toys, papers, the list goes on and on and on. There were many things I just didn't bother to do because it just didn't seem to matter, it would just be dirty five minutes later or I wouldn't have time to do the job right. These feelings made me resent my family. Why wouldn't they help out. I'm sacrificing all the things of my dreams to be home here. I'm sure you can see that this kind of thinking was not helping me in my relationship with my family.

My attitude has changed almost completely. Yes my house is cleaner after following the Flylady program but most important, I have more time with my children, husband, and self.

The reason? Well this program didn't teach me how to clean. I already knew that but it helped me in other ways like conquering my perfectionism issues. When I first read on Marla Cilley's (the actual Flylady) website that most of these issues were about our perfectionism. I rolled my eyes. I thought no one would ever walk into my home and think a perfectionist lived here. Look at all the stuff stacked places, crumbs on the floor, and so on. Well she was right. I wasn't doing things because it would never be perfect and then I stewed over all the mess. Her program has taught me that the all or nothing doesn't work. I learned how to use a timer when I clean. I take fifteen minutes cleaning one thing then fifteen minutes of play, fifteen minutes of something else, and fifteen minutes of play. Sometimes a job isn't completely finished but I've learned that chores not finished still bless my family. For example even though the floor didn't get mopped it's better that it got swept than nothing. Its better that the laundry get washed even if I forget to fold it.

How does Flylady teach me? Well she as a 30 day program, Beginner Babysteps, for people just starting. Each one of the 30 days you learn to build a routine by adding one thing to it. (The hard part is not trying to do it all at once, you really have to do little by little for this to work!) In addition to this I get emails from Flylady and her crew everyday. There are also simple monthly challenges that build habits by doing that one thing everyday. Blog talk radio allows you to listen and even talk to Flylady. She's also on social networking such as Twitter and Facebook.

There are all sorts of emails - routine reminders, testimonials from people that follow flylady, and promotional emails for her cleaning and organizing products. There are a lot of emails but they are titled so that you can tell the content. Some days I read them all and others I pick and choose. Her emails have taught me to use a timer - a must have tool! Some of my favorite emails are the testimonials because they have great ideas from people all over the world, people who struggle with this stuff, just like me.

Oh, I should mention she does this all for free! She just wants to help! If you want to support flylady's efforts you can buy her products. I hear they are superior products but I haven't tried any out yet - though they are on my wish list!

I think the timer and monthly challenges have helped me the most. This month the challenge is to move an extra 15 minutes every day. I now have the habits of washing one load of laundry a day, folding it, and putting it away, cleaning out my sink every night, and emptying the dishwasher everyday, and getting dressed every morning all the way to my shoes which allows me to handle anything the day throws me.

When I first started Marla told me (as she does everyone in her emails) that the mess didn't happen in one day and it wouldn't be cleared in one day. It would take time. She was right. I had things to learn, not just clean.

Even if you have a perfectly clean house I'd recommend this site. Yes my neat freak friends you might find something for you here too. I love being able conquer bits of my perfection. Conquering my perfection has actually allowed me to do and enjoy more than I did before. It has almost had the opposite effect in my life. By not worrying about things being perfect I actually get more done and done better! Instead of perfectionism I have order and peace.

[Side note: Even my husband is finding this to be true about perfectionism. Before he stressed so much about his artwork being perfect but as he's letting go of that thought process he's doing more artwork. And through practice he's finding the improvement he wanted in his artwork in the first place. He's found that having a deadline really helps him focus. If its due, you do your best and turn it in done deal and on to the next project. Sound like a timer to anyone? Makes you think doesn't it. How much is perfectionism holding you back from what you really want?]

I've been able to completely customize the program to fit my needs. This means I've learned the routines but I have changed them up to fit my family. I can do as much or as little on any given day and start fresh the next day. Each of the emails I receive from Flylady say, "You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?" Which has helped me learn to not beat myself up for what I didn't have time for the day before.

I haven't gotten into the details of the program here but you can see that on her site. There's so much I just can't share it all here. Besides, its free and if its not a match for your style, you just cancel the email subscription! Its worth the time to check out.

Its been 9 months that I've been doing her program. I haven't mastered it all but I'm doing more and more and each month I've built new habits. I can't tell you how much better my home and head feel. Yes I said my head. I don't think the same way I used too. I don't get overwhelmed anymore. I don't blame my family. I live in my house and it gets messy, trust me very messy. But due to the routines I've learned, I know it will only take me about 15 to 30 minutes to be clean enough for guests or I should say the most important guests of all me and my family. I don't spend more than 2 hours a day total (not at all once, ever) cleaning. I actually clean less but have a much cleaner house than I ever had before. It actually is getting better and better. I usually have my whole afternoon to do what I want with my family. I'm finally loving myself and my house got cleaner too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What goes on in those little brains?

I have a hobby of cake decorating. Its something I like to do more for the process and designing than actually eating. You seem I'm not really a fan of cake or frosting, on occasion alright but really I'm a pie fan.

My grandmother sent an old Wilton yearbook for me to look through. If you want some fun cake ideas these are great. I haven't done any cakes for about a year. Specener's birthday is tomorrow so this book was good motivation. Maybe he'll at least get a sheet cake with sprinkles (I haven't even made cake for the last two birthdays in the family)

So Evelyn, Spencer and I sat and looked through the pictures. They were pretty quiet but seemed interested. When we got to the image below Spencer shouted out, "Mom! Its you!"
We continued on through the book and he was relatively quiet. I quickly flipped through pages again to find a particular image and when this one popped up again he squealed the same thing again. I wish I knew what the resemblance was - am I yellow, fun or just crazy? Apparently thinking your parents are crazy starts at an early age!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Strawberry Sunshine

The days have been filled with lots of fun things lately. So much so that I hardly spend much time at the computer.

Lots of projects are being completed. Evelyn's backpack was the first.

On the way is a small baby blanket and the large pink kaleidoscope quilt is finally sandwiched with batting and a back for quilting. Fingerless gloves are being knit for next winter and I'm looking through books about knitting socks. I thinks some old sweaters are going to become something new for my feet. That's just a bit of what's going on. Some others are...

Snail races...

gathering of dandelion bouquets...

and my favorite, sugar free strawberry jam (Its my first canning experience - oh yum - and it set too!)