Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Helping Hand

I'm a crummy daughter.  Or at least that's how I feel sometimes.  I currently live with my parents (again!) and have been applying my FlyLady Routines only to the area I inhabit most, my "suite".  (2 bedrooms, bath, and a large closet.)  The only time I venture down through the main living area of the house is to get to the garage or kitchen, and even then I don't really linger.  I'm just passing through.  I did the math, and I'm pretty sure I only spend collectively maybe 1 hour per week downstairs.

Because of this I don't really feel the obligation to be overly concerned with making sure the rest of the house is tidied into a neat little package like my "suite" is every night before I go to bed.  I didn't mess it up, let the people who do take care of it...  I know this is a very negative way to think, but overall it's true.  I put a lot of effort into keeping my space and life in general as organized as possible, and that takes up plenty of time.  Why should I be picking up after my adult parents, adult sisters, my sisters' significant others, and their dogs?  Though, as much as I try to rationalize it, that little nagging voice of guilt keeps eating away at me. I should help more...

I'm not saying I never help out downstairs, but it's definitely not as often as my conscience is telling me I should be.  Another problem I have is that I hate doing things just because they are expected of me.  For instance- if my mother asked me to vacuum the living room (which I hardly even set foot in!), it bugs me that I am now obligated to do it.  But- if I were to walk through the living room and take it upon myself to do a nice thing and vacuum it for her, well, then I walk away from the chore feeling good about myself.  I'm not sure I want to know what that says about my personality, but it is what it is. 

Another example would be a friend of mine from years back.  When I would go visit (they lived out of state) it was common that they would have to work while I was there.  The first time this happened, I decided to be nice and clean up their house while they were working.  What a nice surprise to come home to, right?  Well, after a couple more visits, there came a time when I didn't get around to cleaning their house while they were gone.  And you know what? They had the nerve to be irritated that I hadn't cleaned their house!  It had gone from a nice gesture I was making to help out, to it being expected of me.  That really rubs me the wrong way.

Anyway, to help alleviate my conscience, I've decided that I am going to add helping out in the main part of the house to my daily routines:

For now I've stuck it in my Afternoon/After Work Routine, and we'll see how that goes. True to my FlyLady teachings, I've assigned myself to "House Help" for 15 minutes a day.  There is no way I am going to incorporate the entire house into my own personal routines and take on the responsibility of keeping it ship-shape the way I do my own space, because I think it would kill me.  And, try as I may, I can't seem to get the rest of the family onto a FlyLady-esque system. So for now, it's just 15 minutes a day on whatever I see needs to be done.  Yesterday I vacuumed the living room, kitchen, and our "piano room" (kinda like an office/den) and wiped down the kitchen counters.  Today I cleaned the toilet in the half bathroom. Tomorrow- who knows?  I feel better about myself and the house is looking better too.  And by making it self-imposed, I don't have that annoying (albeit misplaced as it may be) resentment I feel from being told to do something.

On a side note- I was talking to my Dad yesterday and said something about my room being the cleanest in the house.  (OK, I was bragging a little...) His reply was something to the effect of "Yeah, your room is insanely clean...".  Why, thanks for noticing, Dad.  :)