Have you ever been in that place? You know, you come home from work… the house is a mess… you don’t want to be there… you’re yelling at the kids… you’re yelling at your spouse because your environment is a mess but it’s like your inside is a mess and your emotions are a mess too. Nobody likes to live like that.
Not only that – it’s not good for you either. That’s why we interviewed Marla Cilley, a housekeeping guru commonly known as FlyLady, for some tips on how to get out of this chaos.
You’ll definitely want to listen to this interview from start to finish!
First though, I was curious if there was any scientific research surrounding stress levels and home environments. It turns out there is. Wives who described their homes as more restorative (meaning they enjoyed their home environment) had lower stress levels and less depressed mood across the day.
Conversely wives who described their homes as more stressful had indicators (a flatter slope of diurnal cortisol) of chronic stress. Those indicators are typically associated with adverse health outcomes.
Apparently husbands are not affected so much by the home environment, as there was really a null result for them. The conclusion is that wives feel more responsibility for the home environment.[i]
The same researcher found an association between wive’s marital satisfaction and the flatter slop of diurnal cortisol. We all know that correlation doesn’t imply causation, but we think it is reasonable to conclude that if you find your home environment stressful, particularly as a wife, you’ll likely to have decreased marital satisfaction. The converse is true as well.[ii]
So, I think it is safe to say that taking care of your home is another way of taking care of your marriage. We are not asking wives to do this, but we want both of you to take this seriously and figure out how to divide up the responsibilities.
Not only does the research show that home environments affect the diurnal cortisol which impacts marital satisfaction, but the same theme carries over to parenting. Findings show that maladaptive parenting styles and child emotionality both increase in cluttered homes. The researchers saw this as being mediated by maternal tenseness.[iii]
The case we’re making here is that creating a home environment that is peaceful and has some sense of serenity and calm is a blessing to your marriage and your family.
That’s why we interviewed FlyLady – to ask her how to help young couples get their homes organized and kept tidy.
She gave us some awesome information including:
- Where to start – especially if you’ve got company company
- A different focus for each month of the year
- How to build a routine
- How to get rid of your perfectionism
- How to break your home into zones so it’s not so overwhelming
- How to create that relaxing environment you want to come home to
- How to save money in the kitchen.
FREE RECORDING: Interview Transcript
You can download a complete transcript (PDF format) of the entire interview. The Flylayd herself said she’d never laid all her methods out like this in one spot before, so it’s a great resource.
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[i] Darby E. Saxbe and Rena Repetti, “No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 36, no. 1 (2010): 71–81, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167209352864.
[ii] Darby E. Saxbe, Rena L. Repetti, and Adrienne Nishina, “Marital Satisfaction, Recovery from Work, and Diurnal Cortisol among Men and Women,” Health Psychology: Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association 27, no. 1 (January 2008): 15–25, doi:10.1037/0278-6220.127.116.11.
[iii] Carly M. Thornock et al., “The Direct and Indirect Effects of Home Clutter on Parenting,” Family Relations 62, no. 5 (December 2013): 783–94.