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.  :)


Marty February 3, 2011 at 11:01 AM  

If I were in your shoes however, I'd definitely be feeling the same way you do.

Just wanted to say hi and hope all is well=)

AprilC - GaFlyGirl February 15, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

I don't blame you for feeling that way. If you are doing all the work, why should you feel you have to do their mess too. At a time we lived with my inlaws and my MIL one day complained that I was there all day, and not cleaning the house.. my reply was "sorry, I don't know where your stuff goes" can I say, her jaw dropped right there! At the same time, I now in looking back at it agree, that she was giving me a place to stay, I could have helped out more, but then I did cook some delicious meals for them so it's not like I was doing nothing like she claimed, AND I was pregnant and extremely sick, and I always cleaned behind myself. I never left my messes out or anything. So I hear ya!

Funky Kim April 4, 2011 at 3:28 PM  

As a parent of adult children who are living at home, it is quite the irritant when they don't help out around the house. And it doesn't matter if they made the mess or not. I'm providing them a home they cannot afford to provide themselves at this time. So they should be able to afford me a bit of time to help make my load a little lighter.

I think 15 minutes a day is awesome!

I will also restrain myself from forwarding this to them. I'm trying not to nag.