Letting The Helicopter Go

free range parenting, helicopter parents, helicopter parenting, motherhood, parenting, outdoors

Remember when you were a kid, and you would go outside at 9AM, play at the creek, collect crawdads, dig holes, ride your bike to the furthest park in your neighborhood — without a helmet — run into your friend’s house for a quick bite for lunch, roll down a few hills, play tag, stomp through mud and make a little grave for the dead bird you found — only to return home at 5PM just in time for dinner, smelling like dirt, sunshine and creek water?

Remember that? Or something like it?

As a child of the 80s, I think my generation was the last to really experience that — to play freely and unencumbered by parental worry and hovering.

I look back and wonder if maybe my parents were a bit too relaxed. I was literally gone all day. I might pop in for a sandwich or a drink of water, but then I bounded back out to the field in the back of my house to dig for gold with my friends.

Too relaxed or not — I’m glad my parents let me have that.

And I wish my kids could have that freedom.

But I’m terrified.

This isn’t a new subject. The helicopter parenting, the over-scheduling, the shrink-wrapped and manufactured childhoods have all been discussed — it’s all been acknowledged. Parents wring their hands over the lack of freedom that children have today. They wring their hands and then tell their kids to stay in a three-house radius of their yard. They wring their hands about the lack of free-play and then refuse to let their kids ride their bikes to the corner store.

I know this because I’m one of those parents. I’m a free-range parent that’s scared shitless of free-range parenting. And I’m not alone in this.

When my nine and thirteen year old want to go to the park at the creek by themselves, I panic just a little.

Ryan, the thirteen year old is totally old enough. But Kiera? My nine year old Kiera? Why, anything could happen. Certain horrific scenarios run through my head and I just can’t bring myself to say yes. Just. Can’t. My husband, on the other hand, who’s a bit more relaxed about these things, has let them run down to the creek and play at the park much to my horror.

I don’t have to go into the many reasons why I’m afraid. Just watch the news for shits sake. It’s full of dead, kidnapped children.

So here I am, an adult who was raised free-range (I feel like a fucking chicken when I type that), and I’m too terrified to give my children that same freedom.

Now, I’m not crazy. My two older kids walk to the bus stop by themselves. I let them ride their bikes in the neighborhood — as long as they stay on our street (I know, I know.) I let them go to other kids houses on a whim to see if their friends can play — as long as I know the parents.

But what’s wrong with letting them venture further? Letting them go beyond the boundaries of our road — or more accurately, the boundaries of my comfort zone?

I certainly feel that parents should be cautious — there are real dangers in the world. But I have to let some of that fear go. Just a bit.  Perhaps let Kiera ride her bike further out — let her cross the main busy road by herself (or with her brother) and ride her bike through the sprawling neighborhood. Because the fear I have is really the result of the hyper-parenting that’s been pervading our culture.

I was reading Free Range Kids, a website devoted to the idea of giving our children more freedom to play and learn on their own, and came across this disturbing post where a mom posts her concerns on Facebook regarding a 7-year-old walking home from a bus stop by himself.

Fer realz. This is her post.

Hello everyone I’m not sure how to deal with a situation that I have encountered twice so far this school year,, today as I was waiting for the light on Morris and Springdale around 3:45 waiting to turn left I noticed an elementary age boy turning the corner and walking alone up the busy road of Springdale, this scared me to death!! a million things went through my head if something was to happen to him with so many cars driving by,,,, just imagine!!!! So I put my hazard lights on and called to police and followed him slowly till I started to talk to him through the car window to stall him till police would arrive,, and so they did and then took over the matter..

A 7 year old vulnerable boy walking alone along Springdale rd,,where are the parents? School? I don’t get it?!?!?! So dangerous and so many crazy people out there!!!!! I am bothered!!!!!!

You can read the full post here. The creepiest thing about her post was the fact that she slowly followed the kid in her car and tried talking to him through her car window. She obviously came off as the crazy one.

So there lies the problem. I sometimes wonder if neighbors think it’s strange that my nine-year-old walks to the bus stop by herself. It SHOULDN’T be weird — but in this day and age it could be grounds for calling CPS. No exaggeration.

Parents are crazy.

So in the end, I may be more relaxed than other parents — but I definitely need to relax a bit when it comes to letting my kids push the neighborhood boundaries. I want them to get dirty. I want them to be gone for long stretches of the day, finding bugs, and getting dirt under their finger-nails. But it’s a hard idea to wrap my head around. After all, we live right outside of DC.  Crime is not infrequent around here. It’s a fine line to walk, this safety thing. I don’t want to put my kids in danger — but I don’t want to shrink-wrap their lives.

Maybe we should look to north Wales for outdoor play inspiration. The Guardian just wrote an article about junk-yard playgrounds – playgrounds full of wood crates, nails, tires, ladders, old abandoned boats, etc. Apparently it’s a hit and the kids much prefer it to the anchored-down sanitized playgrounds that punctuate the neighborhoods. The part that makes me really uncomfortable is uh — the fires. Kids are encouraged to start fires. Contained fires nonetheless. But fires – so they can learn about safety. Read the article. It’s super interesting.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the risk of danger to your children outweighs their need for more freedom? What are your rules for outdoor play?

Note To Self: My Husband Is Not The Patriarchy

I’m angry. Right now.

This isn’t just any run-of-the-mill anger. It’s the kind of seething anger that pops up every now and then without notice.

It’s anger without a reason.

This might sound crazy, but I’ll be perfectly happy one minute — and then ten minutes later I’m fuming. It literally comes from no where. There’s typically nothing that predicates it. It just happens.

I try to get rid of it — try to step away for a moment and breathe. The anger doesn’t happen all the time. But it happens enough. And I become bitter and resentful for an entire evening.

It’s truly awful.

It’s basically this — out of nowhere I become angry at the fact that I’m the woman in the house. And just to be clear – I LOVE being a woman. The anger stems from this feeling that there’s this unspoken, subconscious expectation of me based on my gender.

Don’t get me wrong — my husband is a feminist. A big one. He’s amazing. He pulls his weight. He supports me totally and completely. He loves his children fiercely.

Yet sometimes. Sometimes I can’t help but resent the fact that he’s a man (which I’m glad he is.) Although he cooks and helps with the cleaning, and splits night-time feedings 50/50 — I still feel short-changed as a woman.

Because I worry. I worry about every goddamn thing, and my beautiful husband looks so goddamned relaxed. The thing about Ernesto is that he knows how to kick his shoes off and read a book in the middle of chaos. He’s not being lazy — the man works his ass off. But he knows how to take a moment — a breather.

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And I don’t know how to do that. As a woman, it’s ingrained in me to care for everything — even when it’s not necessary. There is this deep-seated unspoken expectation within myself to run the household. To make sure the kids get their baths, to do endless loads of laundry, to maintain the kitchen, to wipe down the bathrooms, to change the sheets, to make appointments for the kids, to schedule playdates, to sign the kids up for activities, to make sure the kids are well dressed, etc, etc, infinity, etc.

My husband does a lot. Hell, dinner wouldn’t get made without him. I wouldn’t have any food in my house if it weren’t for his diligent shopping expeditions with the kids. And did I mention he brings home most of the money?

So why am I angry? Why am I complaining? I decided to have a family — I should be grateful. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Last year my husband bought me a stack of books on feminism from the used bookstore. It was a lovely gift. One of the books called, The Bitch in the House (trying to tell me something babe?) is a compilation of works by various female writers that highlight the daily trials and triumphs of being a woman. I didn’t read the entire book. As a matter of fact I only read the first 20 pages. It was difficult to read a book about angry women when I have so much anger of my own.

For god sakes. I just want to be content. And happy. Which I am most of the time — about seventy percent of the time if you want an exact number — a number I would like to improve on.

But the first essay I read in The Bitch in the House was a piece written by E.S. Maduro, titled Excuse Me While I Explode: My Mother, Myself, My Anger. She writes about her feminist boyfriend – a man who was the complete opposite of her traditional, sexist father. In it she explains her seething anger as she realized that even the most feminist men can’t escape male privilege — that these men with all their progressive ideas about women, still unknowingly bask in the glow of that ultimate advantage. And it’s infuriating.

Here’s an excerpt describing her anger upon returning home from work and seeing her boyfriend relaxing and downloading music at the computer in the midst of a messy, dirty house:

On such occasions I will be angry for thirty minutes, or maybe until I have eaten something. I will ruminate on the place of the woman in today’s “modern” society. I will cook and clean, and all the while think about how I am falling into the same trap of housework that my own mother fell into. As I scrub the kitchen sink, I will hear her voice saying, “You have choices,” and I will scowl at the concept of choice. I will decide that my modern, liberal, open-minded boyfriend, having been raised by a mother who did everything in the home (in addition to having a job), will never notice or care if his girlfriend or wife takes over those same domestic responsibilities. He is capable of doing all of them, but if they get done for him, my thoughts go, he might never even realize that they needed doing in the first place.

What she continues to say brings full circle the very conundrum that clutches me.

But then slowly, as I finish picking up the dirty clothes from the floor, I will think about his day, will remember that he works long hours, too — and that he loves music, that finding new albums to record off our computer is a way for him to relax, to wind down. It will occur to me that maybe he was waiting for me to come home so that we could eat together, that he didn’t know I would be arriving so late; that he was sincere, rather than just trying to avoid a fight, when he offered to cook for me {. . .} gradually my anger will start to wane, and in it’s place will come guilt and confusion and sadness.

Maduro talks about how she wants and chooses to be angry.

I feel frustrated by the guilt that accompanies asking Paul to take the initiative to run the dishwasher, to do the laundry without shrinking my sweaters, to buy groceries that are healthy. . . to ask for what my mother never would have, to be what she would have considered a “nag.” In wanting my home to be as well organized as my mother kept hers, I feel as though I must choose between doing everything myself and constantly asking Paul to do more.

And this is where the resentment comes in. I don’t want to have to ASK my husband to do more. Why would I do that when he already does so much? I don’t want to be a nag. But I have certain expectations of how a house should run — how a house should feel. As a woman, I know how to run a house. Why? Because that’s how I was brought up. My mom did everything — cooked, cleaned, and raised four children. I watched her do it all. And even though my mom is a feminist, I felt the unspoken expectation that this is what I would do when I grew up — raise children and run a household. As a matter of fact, it’s what I WANTED to do. As a little girl I dreamed of being a mother.

And here I am with four children. Cooking. Cleaning. Running a household. Except I have an amazingly helpful husband. And there are many duties that we try to split evenly. But I’m angry that it seems easier for him. Easier for him to get out of the house — or so I think. Couldn’t I go out for a drink at night if I really wanted to? Ernesto would totally support that. But I feel guilty for WANTING to — because, well — I have other responsibilities, and the dishes need to be done, and the laundry needs to be folded, and Kiera needs to clean her room.

And it’s so obvious that I’m doing this to myself. Ernesto isn’t to blame. I WANT to be angry — to bask in momentary bitterness. But I don’t want to WANT to be angry.

See how this is totally my problem?

My husband is not the patriarchy. He’s my partner. As a woman I’m lucky to have all the choices that I have today — even though we, as women, have a ways to go.

Ernesto says that I can relax too. Why can’t I sit down for a moment and read a chapter out of my book? Why can’t I draw or write for twenty minutes? Ernesto feels no guilt, no shame, no concern about taking that small amount of time for himself to recoup. And he shouldn’t. He deserves that. But that’s — in part — because he’s a man. Kicking his feet up is okay and smiled upon. Our society practically encourages it despite the fact that we’ve come a long way. There are just some things that don’t stress him out the way it stresses me out. BUT THAT’S NOT HIS FAULT. It’s this never-ending cycle that’s all just a load of shit because I’m doing this to myself.

Really.

So in the musical words of my nine-year-old daughter, maybe I should “let it go.”

Yes. I just said that.

I need to find a way to let go of this unrest I feel as a woman. This underlying rage isn’t doing me or my family any favors.

It’s time to move on from this stagnant place — time to be grateful for everything I have. Time to stop wallowing in these “first world problems.”

I think I’ll step outside and breathe in the fresh air. And just let all this shit go.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

First of all, I just wanted to welcome all the new readers. I’ve had a spike in traffic over the past few months — so I figured it was about time to say hi to all of you who’re so kind to read my little blog.

I’ve noticed that my most popular posts on marriage (found here and here) and breastfeeding (found here and here) have hit a real nerve — in a positive way — with many of you. I’m trying to catch up on all the comments and some of the emails.

As for the reason for my absence — I had my fourth baby in January. He came four weeks early so things were chaotic for a while — and still are! I needed an extended break from the stress of blogging. Because it IS stressful. Even though it shouldn’t be. Blogging should be something that I enjoy, and I want to get back to the enjoyable aspect of it.

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Our newest addition

As for the four kids — well — it’s a lot. I knew what we were getting into when we decided to take the plunge for the fourth (and last!) baby, but the newborn baby stage is never easy no matter how much experience you have.

And I’ve come to realize that being a parent of four children has set me apart from other parents.

I officially belong to The Four Kids Club. I say this because I get looks of awe mixed with horror when people find out I have four children. I’ve even heard a few audible gasps from strangers. In the DC area, a family of six is considered an anomaly — weird – maybe even a bit psycho. But that’s okay.

We ARE crazy. Crazy in an awesome, fabulous way. In my opinion, that is.

So thanks to all of you newcomers for stopping by. I hope to give you more posts to read and enjoy. Right now I can only post on a weekly basis due to my membership to The Four Kids Club or TFKC. But even then I can’t make any promises due to the crazy life that I lead. In the meantime, feel free to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter (although I don’t tweet much ) or follow me on instagram.

– Sonja

Parenting Forums Are Full Of Insane People

Parenting forums.

They’re nuts.

If you live in the DC area and you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve heard of DC Urban Moms and Dads. It’s an anonymous forum that at times can be incredibly helpful and informative. But because of the anonymity of the posters, DCUM can be fucking unreal. People have no fear of going crazy — and the lack of a screen name makes it easy for posters to be ultra snarky and just plain mean.

Because of this, it’s fun to read and scoff at.

For example. In the General Parenting Discussion board, there’s a thread called, “I hate it when moms two and more complain.” As you can see, basic grammar is not a strong suit of some of these posters. Anyhow, so the anonymous poster’s rant goes like this:

There, I said it.
I am not talking about those who had twins as their first children.
I am talking about moms who have two or more, who say how hard it is to deal with a toddler or preschooler while pregnant, how difficult it is to juggle kids for play dates and appointments, how hard it is to not have coinciding naps.
Didn’t you know how hard it is after having just one? Wasn’t this knowledge enough to either be prepared or not have any more children? 
Of course I cannot say anything in their face. But this is always my first thought. You made this bed, so deal with it.
. I feel guilty thinking this but I just can’t keep it inside if me anymore.
Flame away.

I love it. Parents of single children telling parents of multiple children not to complain. This response said it best:

OP I can understand where you’re coming from, but I think your logic is faulty. By your logic no one should be allowed to complain about the difficulty of raising any child who was “planned”, or really anything that the person chose to do. So no one should complain about their job because they chose that job? No one should complain about cleaning their house because they chose to live in a house? What are people allowed to complain about exactly? Only things that they had no say in whatsoever?

But then the snarkiness continues:

I’ll one-up you, OP, and say it’s annoying when any parent says they had no idea raising children would be so HARD, and how they’re so TIRED. As if they’d never seen a kid before.

And.

I hate when they bitch about money. You never know how easy or difficult your kids are going to be, but you sure as hell should have known how much they would cost the second and third time around.

And another.

I get it, OP. I’m always stunned when people complain about the work of having children. (I have one.) I was the last of my friends to have a child, so I heard all their stories. I knew it was going to be hard, and expensive. And I knew that second child sunk a lot of marriages, because the work, as other people said, was exponentially harder, not twice as hard.

While I get that you can’t know exactly what it’s like until you are in the middle of it, what is shocking to me is that women refuse to take a look around them and listen to other people’s stories, and learn from them. (Also why I didn’t get knocked up as a teen or marry a “bad boy.”)

And it continues.

PP here. Take responsibility for yourself! If you want to do something, you should have thoroughly vetted it and worked through all of the variables of what might be. Even if your friends haven’t been through it, there are books, newspapers, your mother’s stories and those of her friends.

I don’t do any big life choice without thinking through all of the ramifications it might have. It’s just common sense.

Ha ha! If you made a choice in life, then you’re not allowed to complain about it. You should’ve thought about all of life’s challenges, worked through all the possible variables, and accepted them ahead of time without complaint!

Because I’m sure moms of single children have never complained.

Now go and have a Merry Christmas! And stop your bitching about your squabbling children.

What Do You Think of Pantene’s New “Feminist” Ad?

So I came across Pantene’s new commercial for the Philippines. On the surface, it comes off as a powerful statement — one that shows how powerful men are revered in the business world versus how powerful women are looked at as “pushy,” and “bossy.”

Watch it for yourself:

But that’s just on the surface. And it’s so fucking easy to see right through the message.

After all, Pantene’s goal is to sell shampoo to women — to make them look better.

As Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post so aptly put it, “Jane is ‘bossy’, but her mane is glossy!”

Pantene, while boasting its worldly, “modern” views of women in the workplace, wants women to look beautiful while shattering the glass ceiling.

And doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of breaking through the gender demarcation in the workplace? It’s an ugly thing — this never ending expectation that women are supposed to look beautiful while we demolish gender stereotypes.

Praise and accolades abound for the new ad — and Sheryl Sandburg is giving it a standing ovation.

What do you think? Does the ad deserve applause, or does it deserve a raised eyebrow and a head shake?

In Their Own Words: Victims of Verbal Abuse

The following are the words of women who have responded to my posts about verbal abuse. You can read the posts here and here. Some of these responses were comments in my blog posts and some of them were emails. The desperation, helplessness, and self-blame are quite evident in these women’s responses.

Their words reveal the simple fact that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. What may seem like a happy marriage may in fact be an abusive one. I speak from personal experience.

Remember, just because women don’t talk about verbal abuse, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. There is a level of shame involved that prevents most women from speaking up about it — the idea that the husband is a reflection of herself — of her poor life choices — that she should just accept this as her fate. After all, didn’t she make the decision to marry him? She made her bed, now she needs to lie in it. But these are lies that we tell ourselves — and these lies are steeped in self-doubt and the absence of self-worth.

We need more stories like these to offer solace and support to fellow women who are suffering at the cruel words and actions of their husbands and partners.

These situations are far, far too common.

And you are not alone.

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This is just a taste of comments/emails I’ve received.

The more women talk about it, the more we can help and encourage one another.

If you have any insights or words of encouragement for these women, please don’t hesitate to leave a message in the comments.

Let’s Play Uterus!

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Beckett LOVES it when we play uterus. It’s like his new thing.

It all started when he FINALLY let me read him the book called What to Expect When Mommy’s Having a Baby, by Heidi Murkoff, the co-author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

For some reason, Becks didn’t want anything to do with the book — perhaps it’s jealousy? I don’t know. He just didn’t want me to read a book about the baby.

But yesterday he let me!

And when we got to the part about the baby being inside the uterus — he got all wide-eyed and intrigued. I showed him other illustrations on google images of the baby inside the uterus, and he kept exclaiming, “Baby inside uterus!

For the rest of the day, Becks would climb inside the empty laundry basket with a red blanket wrapped around himself and say, “I’m in a uterus!”

Fer realz.

All day yesterday he was asking everybody to play uterus with him.

“Kiera! Let’s play uterus!”

“Mommy, can we play uterus now?”

Yeah, he may be a little weird (he likes to lick the couch), but he’s a cool kinda weird. And he may not be excited about the baby yet — but at least he’s excited about my uterus!

Tide Thinks It’s Cute And Sexy When Men Clean The House

Man-in-pink-cleaning-the-floor

What the fuck, Tide.

Really? What is this, the 1950s? Get yer shit together.

It’s not sexy when men do housework. It’s not hot. It’s not a turn-on.

It’s what they’re supposed to be doing to help their partner maintain a home.

Your attempt at being cute and funny was a total FAIL.

Check out Buzzfeed to see what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Flylady Helps Me Clean and Vomit Simultaneously

vintage-cleaningAs Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but obsess about a clean house.

I don’t care about the food. Food is easy.

But cleanliness is always an issue in my house. We have three kids and a dog — plus I’m pregnant and have no energy right now. So yes, my house is in constant disaster mode. We keep on top of it the best we can, but some things just have to slide while I’m pregnant. It’s frustrating, but I just have to deal.

Anyway, so all this thinking about cleaning made me think about that incredibly annoying website — Flylady.net. No really. Go there and check it out. Then come back and tell me how many times you threw up in your mouth.

If you’ve heard of Flylady, then I’m sure you know what I mean.

If you haven’t heard of Flylady, then well, you’re in for a treat.

Flylady is a website aimed at giving guidance to those poor, disorganized homemakers who live in filth — usually women — because did you see her website? It’s purple! Because women like purple!

She’s a big believer in “baby steps” — like say focusing on shining your sink everyday for a week, then moving onto doing a daily “swish and swipe” of your bathroom. After you get used to doing certain steps, you start building your cleaning routine. Also during this introductory phase, you’re called a “Flybaby.” Because that’s a cute name or something.

But first, she recommends that you sign up for her email group. So you can get daily reminders of what you need to do to maintain your house. Sounds helpful, right?

No. It’s really annoying. Most of the emails you’ll get are testimonials (probably written by Flylady herself) about how awesome the site is. You’ll get one or two emails a day reminding you to clean your sink and put on your shoes. And get this — make your bed. Which is just really dumb. I don’t need a reminder to do my dishes. My dirty sink is already staring me right in the fucking face. Oh and as for the shoes — well, she insists that you can’t do a good, thorough job cleaning your home unless you have shoes on. And not just shoes. Lace up sneakers!

And secondly. The name. Flylady. That’s really just NOT a good name.

Another issue is her trademarked logo — or mascot — or whatever you want to call it.

It’s a fucking lady. Dressed in purple. With purple hair. Dressed as a fly.

And need I say that flies are gross? Or maybe she’s not supposed to be a fly — just some purple lady with wings.

But yeah.

Oddly enough, as annoying as the site is — I did glean some good tips from it. Here’s what I learned after trudging through her purple, disorganized content.

1. Setting a timer while cleaning is helpful — usually for fifteen minutes — to help you focus.

2. Having a morning and nighttime routine is a good thing — but I don’t really abide by that. Cuz I’m a spontaneous kinda person, ya know?

3. Doing little things daily —  like doing a quick wipe-down of your bathrooms, and doing a load of laundry a day (for me it’s usually two loads) are actually good ideas.

4. And then she has something called the — ahem — “Weekly Home Blessing Hour.” I know. I know. I can’t wrap my mind around her fluffy, mid-western vocabulary. But whatevs. I call the Weekly Home Blessing Hour, the Day of Monotonous Cleaning That Sucks My Soul to the Pit of Despair. It goes something like this:

  • Choose a day of the week (Flylady likes Mondays but choose whatever the fuck you want.)
  • Do the following in 10 minute increments: vacuum, dust, quick mop, polish mirrors and doors, purge magazines and newspapers, change sheets, empty all trash cans. And you’re supposed to be done in an hour. Ha ha.
  • The point of the Day of Monotonous Cleaning That Sucks My Soul to the Pit of Despair is not to do a deep cleaning per say. But to do a weekly maintenance of your house/apartment. The problem with this is that my house is big. I have three bedrooms, and two bathrooms on the top floor (plus all the living areas), and three bedrooms, a bathroom, a playroom and a laundry room on the bottom floor. So this particular routine takes way longer than an hour. So now I just split up the tasks throughout the week. For example, Monday is sheet day, Tuesday is purge papers and empty trashcans day, on Wednesday I dust and polish mirrors, etc. You get the point.

So then, on top of this, Flylady posts a weekly zone. I think she has something like six zones or some shit. Anyway. The deep cleaning that you’re supposed to do is in that zone for the week. For example, zone one is the entrance, front porch and dining room. So you’re supposed to spend that particular week decluttering/cleaning your zone for at least fifteen minutes a day. And yes, you’re supposed to use your timer (which, by the way, you can buy an overpriced, cheap timer in her Flylady shop) and wear your sneakers.

And speaking of her overpriced Flylady shop, you can purchase the Swish and Swipe Package, and the Rubba Scrubba to assist in your cleaning endeavors (she also has a Rubba Swisha and a Rubba Sweepa!) I mean, fer realz — Rubba Scrubba? I can’t even… just… whatever.

It’s a bummer, because there are some good ideas buried in the site. And yes, these are all common sense ideas — but for a disorganized person like myself — it’s good to have some cleaning guidelines to help me. But for somebody who boasts about cleanliness and organization — Flylady’s site is ugly and disorganized. And her kitschiness is polarizing. I’m sorry, Flylady — but please don’t call me a Flybaby. Just stop that.

With a sleeker site minus the campy mid-western purple shit, and minus that weird Flylady mascot thingy — I really think her site could go really far. It’s garnered plenty of success and many followers — but mostly of the bless your heart, country kitsch variety.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.