I’m FLYing!

I’m finally able to admit this, and I’m doing it to the entire world.  (At least the whole entire world-wide-web, which means about 200 people, but the one who matters WILL read this and therefore it IS the whole wide world.)

I don’t know how my mom did it.  Our house was always immaculate growing up.  NEVER was there a stray speck of dust, much less dust bunnies.  NEVER did I see pee puddles around the toilets, even though there were two males in the house.  NEVER was a dish left in the sink long enough to require scrubbing.  And the thing that confounds me to this day, and admittedly, has confounded me since I had my first child, is that I do not remember my mom ever cleaning house.  It was just clean.  All the time.  And she wasn’t what I could call a neat-freak nor did she ever seem frantic, obsessed, or stressed!  She was (and still is) the calmest and most gentle person I know.

Sure, I did chores as a kid.  I think my least favorite was unloading the dishwasher and my favorite was toilets.  If I recall, the dishwasher had to be done daily while the bathroom chore was done weekly.  It’s been so long the details are a bit fuzzy.

When Matt and I were in our first 5 years of marriage a young mom who was a few years ahead of me in life shared very briefly about someone called “Flylady” and it didn’t really sink in.  Fast forward a few years to the time when Matt and I doubled the size of our house and had three kids who were all walking and independently making messes… and all potty trained.  I ran across the name “Flylady” once again, and I bought into her plan, hook, line, and sinker.

Without telling you too much, because I really do want you to go to her website and learn from her directly, I do want to share my testimonial with you.  One thing she speaks about is that there are two types of people in the world with regards to housekeeping.  Those who are born organized and those who aren’t.  What I’ve learned is that one can be organized in many areas and not be organized in housekeeping.  They way my mom was (and still is) able to keep an immaculate house is that she is a born organized housekeeper.  Either it came naturally to her or she forced herself to be one.  I don’t know which, but maybe she’ll leave a comment below and tell me.

What I’ve also learned is that is that one can be neurotically organized in some areas and wildly disorganized in others.  For example: I have color coded Excel spreadsheets for our budgeting because I LIKE them vs. a house that is not spic-and-span.

{I tried to find a better word for “disorganized” and the only antonym for “organized” on Dictionary.com was “destroy.”  Ouch.}

Moving forward, stinging a little from that one, seven-letter word…

Here at Fort Hood I am part of a group of about 100 Chaplain Spouses.  We get together once a month for something the Army likes to call “coffees.”  There usually is coffee, and for that, I am very grateful.  Our January coffee is going to be about Starting Fresh, and we are going to share methods we have found to make our lives easier so we can “start fresh” in 2015.

One of the tools I planned to share with the group was Flylady’s website.  Her methods of keeping house are so basic and simple that anyone can do it.  I love that she starts out with one simple task and you master that for a whole month.  You aren’t supposed to bite off the elephant’s whole head at once, or you’ll choke.  The first step is to clean your sink every night before you go to bed.  That’s it.  I followed her plan strictly for a few years, doing everything she said.  After a while I quit and have since begun training my kids to do much of the housework, which I describe in great detail in my Managers of Their Homes series.

Here is a picture of my sink as it greeted me this morning:

My sink

As I stood by my sink waiting for the coffee to brew, this blog post was brewing in my head. I just had to share this with the world-wide-web. And I threw in the coffee as a bonus, since it was in my NC mug. 🙂

In December I sent an email to Flylady’s media department and told them of our upcoming coffee.  I asked if they had any goodies to give away at the coffee but I never heard back from them, which didn’t surprise me.  Flylady has over 400,000 fans on Facebook, and double that follow by email, I’m sure.  (Many of her Flybabies aren’t on Facebook.)

Imagine my excitement when on Monday I saw a note on Facebook about Flylady coming to Fort Hood to speak to Army Wives!  I sent an RSVP immediately!  The event was wonderful and Marla (that’s her real name) was an absolute delight.  She got teary when she talked specifically about helping military wives as we often have to do everything for our households by ourselves.


We laughed at her stories and as she told about some of her steps for FLYing, I realized that I am actually doing almost all of them!  I have one I need to get better at and I’ve committed to working on it… getting dressed to my shoes everyday.  I tend to live in PJs.

Anyway, what I realized is that I lived for a few years strictly sticking to her plan, and then those things became habits!  I took the chance to tell Marla this because I wanted her to know that it worked!  Her plan worked for me.  I go to bed with a shiny sink every night.  I (um, the boys) clean the bathrooms every morning.  We never spend more than 15 minutes cleaning the house.  It would never take more than 15 minutes to get our house “guest ready.”  It is a lived-in house.  It has GRASS everywhere because the boys are in and out all day long.  And the chores the boys do are done at their age level, not at an adult’s.  We’re working them to that stage, but until then, they do the best they can or they re-do them.

I realized that I have been FLYing all these years and didn’t even realize it.  Yesterday’s event was great for me.  It reiterated to me that I MUST share this tool with my fellow Chaplain Spouses.  I was raised by a born organized person but am not one myself, and Flylady’s plan gave me a way to manage my house in a way that I can be proud of my home and happy with the people in it.

Mom, I still don’t know how you did it!  You ROCK!  And with Flylady’s help, I’m FLYING!

PS:  Marla’s fabulous assistant, Michelle, was there with her.  I asked her if she recalled the email and she said, “NO!  And I would have noticed it since I knew at that time we were coming to Fort Hood.”  She asked a few questions about life here at Hood and then proceeded to give me all sorts of goodies to give away at the coffee!  AMAZING!

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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11 Responses to I’m FLYing!

  1. Jennifer says:

    Oh, and let me add. If you want to start from scratch you should go to this page of her website: http://www.flylady.net/…/gett…/flying-lessons/babysteps/

    NOTE: When signing up for emails, select “DAILY” if you want to limit the number of emails you get.

    Remember, don’t eat the whole elephant today. That’s why most of us non-born-organized people crash and burn. We try to do it all and we try to do it all PERFECTLY and RIGHT NOW.

  2. Jean Hyatt says:

    Jenny I love this blog, I too see your mom terrific housecleaning first hand & she is the best at it I have ever seen. I look forward to Jan. 30th. I love you.

    • Jennifer says:

      I love you, too! I’m so stinking excited about the mountains. Some of my best memories are there. I’ll take a meal one night and make it for everyone. I’m thinking Pesto Cavatappi with shrimp (and chicken for two of my non-shrimp lovers).

      And I’m glad you backed me up on that whole, “my mom is a genius at housekeeping,” point.

  3. Jean Hyatt says:

    Jenny I look forward to your meal, it sounds delicious. I too will fix a meal for everyone I am not sure yet what it will be. But I will fix something. Love you! Granny

  4. I love it Jennifer. I need to take note. I also want to fly. Will definitely check out her website. BTW. You look great in this pic. Haven’t aged a bit. Amazing how beautiful one’s spirit can make them. AND… I love the Christmas card. Much has happened since Christmas. We put our dog, TOBY down on Monday before Christmas, and Joey’s mom died on that Friday.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks for the sweet words. I appreciate it more than you know.

      What a tough season for you guys. I’m so sorry. Praying that January is looking up and that you guys are doing well.

  5. Pingback: Fresh Start 2015 – Chaplain Spouse Presentation | thehamricks

  6. I love this!! I have read her stuff for so long but have never taken her advice. I’m starting NOW so I can fly as well. I came home after dropping Marla off and tried to eat the whole elephant. Now, I’m trying 15 minutes at a time. Great post!!

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