As a young newlywed (barely 20 years old!), I was completely clueless at how to maintain a house. To call my homemaking skills abysmal might be a little too harsh, but it's definitely what I felt like. Sure, I knew how to clean, but keeping any sort of routine was extremely difficult for me. I remember following my husband around in the early days of wedded bliss, cleaning up after him. As with many things in my life, I approached homemaking with an all or nothing attitude. And constantly cleaning, or straightening, could only last for so long without driving myself, or my dear husband, crazy.
I also didn't know how to cook. Sure I could make boxed mac&cheese, scrambled eggs, and Eggo waffles with the best of them, but to actually cook a real meal was a different story. An embarrassing side note: the one class that marred my straight average in high school was Home Economics, which I pulled a high C in. *cue blushing* Bryan is actually the one who first taught me how to cook. From spaghetti, to chicken fried steak, to chicken taquitos, he's the one that showed me those basics and instilled in me the confidence that had been lacking, to take recipes, run with them, and make them mine.
Anyways, back to my housekeeping skills, or lack there of. It's maddening, and exhausting, to keep going from keeping on top of things, to letting them slide, whether it's housekeeping, exercise, routines, etc. In time we also ended up adding a beautiful baby girl into the mix, along with a dog, ministry work at our church, and eventually a part time job for me. I felt like I was constantly failing at keeping all of my plates spinning. Enter FlyLady . I found this website a couple of years into our marriage. I've always been big into "mommy" blogs, and I'm sure I saw it mentioned on one of them. FlyLady is one of those things that has stuck with me for the last 10+ years. I don't always follow everything to a tee, and yes, I often still feel like I'm struggling to stay afloat in certain areas, but I learned some immensely helpful principles from FlyLady, that I always inevitably turn back to. I won't go into all of them in this post, but I'm sure this won't be the only time you hear FlyLady mentioned on this blog!
One of the biggest principles that has stuck with me is, "anyone can do anything for 15 minutes." FlyLady mainly uses that in reference to decluttering, but also shows how it can help in other areas of life. While I don't always specifically adhere to the exact 15 minutes, I've been able to tailor this principle to fit my needs. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, and like everything has gotten out of control (which with kids, homeschooling, and a job happens far more than I'd care to admit) I lean on this principle. There have been times where I've used a timer and done specific tasks for exactly 15 minutes, but mostly I try to look at the tasks themselves. Most individual tasks don't take a super long time to complete, so I break things up into small chunks. Instead of looking at this messy home of mine, and wondering how on earth I'm going to find the time to clean it, I focus on one job at a time. I try to prioritize where I'll get the most 'bang for my buck' (dishes, laundry, and bed making are my main three), and start there. And in doing that I'm able to alternate through small tasks in many areas -- home, school, baby, self, work, etc. Of course, nothing is ever 100% done and perfect, but that's just life! However, when I have a "15 minute day", I'm able to go over my checklist, whether physical or mental, and look at all of the things that were accomplished. And while not every single thing gets done, it's more than enough to keep me sane, and life running semi-smoothly.
Now I'm off to the next task!