Friday, February 09, 2007
The House Fairy
Anyone who has spent any time with me at all over the past few weeks has, no doubt, heard me singing the praises of FlyLady. If I could give her an award for the inspiration she has been to me (and apparently THOUSANDS, maybe MILLIONS) of weary but well-meaning wives and mothers, it would be huge. Really huge.
Through a constant flow of emails which arrive throughout the day, FlyLady has provided me with the belief that I really CAN manage my home effectively and efficiently and given me some tools to get moving in the right direction.
The latest of these tools has been the introduction of The House Fairy to my children. In case you don't know The House Fairy (and I'm assuming that most of you probably do not), she pays a visit to each child's room every day. The kids have no idea whether she will come in the morning, afternoon or evening, they just know that she WILL show up before the day is over. In an introductory letter she left before her first real visit, she promised the kiddos that at each visit she would either leave something (a cool treat if she finds a room in a condition that pleases her) OR take something(s) if the room is left untidy. She has a simple "report card" she leaves behind on each pillow that allows her to make a note of what she observed during her visit that day.
This new system has been in place now for a little over a week at the Potter Palace, and I am ASTOUNDED at the change that has come over my little ones. No longer do I have to hound them like a broken record about keeping their rooms picked up. A simple reminder that House Fairy will be making rounds "soon" motivates them to keep clothes off the floor and toys put away. One day last week, House Fairy ended up with two pairs of little girl tennis shoes and some stuffed animals that had to be "bought back" with extra chores. A few instances like that, and I think they are FINALLY beginning to learn how to get out a toy, play with it, then put it away.
If I sound like a control freak, perhaps it's only because I'm still haunted by the memory of how AWFUL I kept my room as a child. Bless my poor mother's heart, she tried her best to teach me some housekeeping skills but must have given up on me at some point as a lost cause. I had a walk-in closet that was such a disaster. I can remember piling game on a shelf up over my head with no concern for putting larger games on the bottom and smaller ones on top. They just went where they landed. Until one day when I tossed something up top and the whole pile came crashing down on my head. I lay on the floor of my closet for a long time, stunned that the shelf finally gave way and wondering how-in-heaven's-name I was EVER going to separate 79,000 various and assorted game parts and puzzle pieces back into their respective boxes. It was a nightmare I tell you. And if it harelips every cow in the great state of Texas, I am DE-TER-MINED to do my part to make sure my children learn a few organizational skills early in life. Not when they're in their 30's, like their mother.
So, House Fairy, you come visit anytime. And feel free to stop by my bedroom and check my top shelf. I think you'll like what you see.