That Martyred Feeling

Dear FlyLady,

How do you get past the Martyr feelings?

I get everything, I honestly do and I’m striving to apply them to my daily life. But sometimes during “Weekly Home Blessing” I get frustrated with my family when they are doing things they like to do and I’m “working”.

The little angry brat starts to throw a fit and then NOTHING gets done.

Then I start beating myself up because I’m feeling like a Martyr and telling myself that “housework blesses my family” and it does not take that long. If I invite them to help me they will all disappear (3 teenagers) – then I get even more angry – then I beat myself up even more because I know I shouldn’t feel this way!!!!

So what is your strategy to get past that Initial Martyr feeling???

Thanks so much!

Cindy in Iowa

Dear Cindy,

In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” It doesn’t sound like it is.

You are the one who joined FlyLady; not your children. When they see you taking care of your home because you are doing it out of love; you will see a change in those teenagers.

I want you to stop doing Weekly Home Blessing all in one day in one hour. I want you to do one blessing each day. You will also have to let go of that perfectionist that wants to see everything done at once.

You are going to be surprised at the changes that can happen in your home if you will drop the martyred attitude and replace it with love.

Cleaning house is not a game in which you keep score! You are the mother. Children; even teenage children will respond to incentives not retribution. The reason you can’t get your children to help is because cleaning house has never been a big deal before. Now that you have become a FlyBaby you may have become a crazy cleaning banshee too. Do not allow yourself to do this.


Asking, Delegating and Accepting – No More Insanity

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week I shared with you my favorite quote from Albert Einstein “The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”I talked to you all about changes that happen in our lives and that we have to adapt our routines to accept those changes otherwise we will be living in chaos all over again.

I can use this same quote to address many different issues that we as SHE’s have and live in our every day lives. Just as I addressed dealing with life changing situations I now want to address how we interact with our loved ones in our home. This is long so hang in there with me!

For all of our years that we have lived in clutter and chaos we have also lived in, unbeknownst to us, perfectionism and martyrdom. We have felt like we worked so hard all the time to take care of our homes, and families and no one ever helped us. No one understood how hard it was to be us. No one ever lifted a finger to do anything. We always carry the burden of the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the school work, blah blah blah. Whine whine whine.

We never realized that we were being martyrs because we truly believed we were the only ones that ever did anything BECAUSE we were the only ones doing anything – by our own making and choosing. We did not want to ask for help, we wanted people to automatically know what needed to be done, when to do it and do it the way we wanted it done. If someone offered to help we did not let them because we took it personally that they offered – obviously if they offered that meant they were pointing out what we had not yet done and were criticizing us for it. So of course we did not want their help, we were going to do whatever need done even if it mean we stayed up all night to do it. We would show them!!

Of course we were oh so very polite when we told them thanks but no thanks! (I really hope that everyone is catching on to the sarcasm that is happening here!) My point is this – we have spent years and years being so ashamed of our clutter and chaos that we have never learned how to ask for help, delegate things or accept help when offered. So we keep doing the same thing over and over, feeling ashamed, alone and tired. That my friends is truly insanity on our part. Doing this to ourselves over and over again. It is time to stop and learn how to allow others to participate in caring for the home.

Ask for help: this is tough – this means that we will have to admit that we are not Super Woman. Guess what I found out when I hung up my cape for good? I FLY a lot higher and happier without it weighing me down. I also found that asking for help allowed others to feel as though they matter and are important. How about that? Who knew that being a martyr and carrying around the burdens of the household made others feel left out and unimportant? You are not weak because you asked someone to fold towels. You are not a bad wife if you ask for help with the dishes. You are not a bad mother if you ask for help with the dusting. Asking for help allows you to lighten the load that you have been trying to carry around all these years. When you want to ask for help, go to the person that you want help from and using very few words, ask. “Would you please take the laundry basket upstairs to the bedroom?” You do not need to explain why you can’t take it upstairs and you do not need to explain why it needs to go upstairs – that would be using too many words. Just ask for what you need.

Delegate: When there are other people in the home that are capable of doing things around the house that would take some of the burden that you have placed upon yourself – delegate! I don’t empty the kitchen trash can after dinner – I have delegated that to my teenage son. I don’t bring in the groceries from the car – I delegate that to the teenagers that live in the house. I don’t set the table for dinner – I have delegated that to my teenage daughter. I am not the only one that uses the trash can, eats the groceries or uses the dishes which means I am not the only one that has to be responsible for everything. It is ok for those that live in the house to participate in taking care of the house!! Let them! Allow others to have ownership of taking care of themselves and each other.

Accept the Help: For years it always bugged me when my husband would take out the vacuum. We have dogs and kids which means we always have to vacuum, but for some reason in my head I had decided that I was the only one who was supposed to vacuum and if he took the vacuum cleaner out than that meant that he thought I did not do what I was supposed to do. Now did that come across to you as convoluted as it was in my own thinking? I would run across the room grab the vacuum cleaner and start making excuses for all the reason why I had not vacuumed. He would look at me like I had three heads. Finally he said to me one day “I am not attacking you for not vacuuming – I saw something that needed to be done and I am doing it.” I was so filled with guilt over not being perfect that I had no idea it was something that simplistic. ” I saw something that needed to be done”. That perfectionism thing was my insanity. Letting go of my perfectionism has allowed me to accept the help from others without feeling as though I am being judged.

When you learn to Ask, Delegate and Accept – you will see the amazing difference in how you feel and how you get along with others in your home. I know that seems silly but I promise the changes are amazing. Take BabySteps and practice Asking, Delegating and Accepting!


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