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Interesting post here. I've been a FlyLady fan for several months, and I think Marla Cilley is a wonderful source of encouragement to thousands of people.

Yet I've also given the "Brat Factor" a good bit of thought. At first, I thought it was cute and harmless -- but as I've given it more consideration, I think there could be some dangers to mentally unstable people, who may hear "voices" in their head anyway.

I agree with you here. Thanks for posting this.


I absolutely agree. I felt uncomfortable with the brat stuff from the start but tried to be open minded about it as flylady is so wonderful. but you crystalised my thoughts exactly.


I've grown increasingly troubled by some of FlyLady's attitudes for a while now, dropped her, signed back up again, and now I see she's appearing at a "Celebration of the Family" conference with Stephen Covey and sponsored by a "family values" group called "American Mothers, Inc." (I looked them up on the web and while they say they're non-political, they definitely are...) This is beginning to creep me out a bit as my own family (I'm gay) isn't the kind the "family values" crowd approves of... I've also noticed some shrillness getting worse over time -- she used to say much more to take what you need and let go of whatever doesn't help you. Some time later she started INSISTING on, say, wearing shoes inside the house, and so on. (I wonder if this is related to the "inner brat is the root of any resistance" paradigm mentioned above?)



Thanks for this articulate post. I have been bothered by the brat thing, and thought several times about contacting Marla about it. I'm glad you did and I'm sorry it appeared to be a waste of your time. But at least we know where she stands on this. It's sad because all of the partnering dilutes her important message. Well, I will be spitting out those seeds and happily eating the watermelon. Although I notice that I have been reading the emails less practice of her system is more connected to the mutual support of my local Fly group.


Trust me... Don't ever tell FlyLady she is wrong! She'll eat you alive.


I have an cleaning and exercise chat based on Flylady, Sandra Felton, etc. that could always use more members. We "coach" ourselves. We do 15 on and 15 off.

Everyone is invited to come. We're usually there, and if we're not chatting, it's because we have gone out and are cleaning (or exercising).

Please come by! Or send people our way! :)


Just wanted to say, I agree 100% with what you said.

I also feel that part of what makes Marla so successful is what got her into the mess with her house in the first place! She is stubborn! :)

If enough of her subscribers let her know how they feel, perhaps she will have to rethink her postion.


I began with Marla before the website began. In those days, her focus was cleaning as cheaply as possible, as consistently as you can, and without guilt. She used to say she could clean all of her house except floors with dish soap and a few rags. One soapy rag, one damp rag, one dry rag. Now she has become what she always told us to shy away from - expensive miracle cleaners and tools that no one needs or can really afford. All those fancy cleaners that make clutter. Instead of talking about simplicity and self love she spends almost all of the emails now hawking some kind of service or gadget. It is very sad.


I found my way here via something totally different (I was looking you up regarding an old book, based on Proverbs 31) but had to comment on this.

I`ve belonged to Flylady for a long time but got unsubscribed a couple of years ago when our house was flooded and my computer was taken by the restoration company (I guess I started bouncing emails left and right). I`ve never restarted the emails, just the ones from a Flylady group I belong to, which is much more helpful for me than the ones from Marla.

I`m really sorry to hear that she`s changing her focus so much. I like Pat & Peggy (whom I followed long before Flylady existed), but I don`t think this brat factor is really helpful and could be detrimental.


And I thought I was the only one! The emails are getting to be nothing but commercials.
I ordered and was so disappointed by the rubba scrubba and rubba sweepa :-( waste of money since the sweeper head was defective and couldn't be used, and the rubba scrubba did not get hair off the dog at all!

She's moved so far away from what she was in the beginning. Sometimes growth is not a good thing.


This "brat stuff" is the brain child of Pam and Peggy,,,,,and for the life of me, I can't figure out where it came from,,,,I was a follower of Pam and Peggy long before Marla ever figured out how to be organized,,,we're talking early 80's here,,,,,,they had NOTHING like this inner brat Nellie or anything,,,,just a good common sense 3x5 card system that is the basis for Marla's system,,,,,Marla just makes hers a bit more "babysteppish" which I think is really helpful for those of us who need it,,,

So where this brat stuff came from, I have not a clue,,,,Frankly, IMHO, Marla took off as FlyLady and the two of them needed a new "gimmick",,,,so they found their "inner brats",,,

and that's ALL it is,,,,a marketing gimmick.

But it makes me crazy, its creepy, and I can't stand it,,,,,

OTOH, it's now 2009, and I havent seen any emails from Marla of this type,,,,,however, I don't read them all,,,,most of the emails I need I can get on the Big Top or the peak at the week ahead,,,,,

so I avoid the emails like the plague most of the time,,,,,great blog!


I used to subscribe, but two things made me stop - that I was being inundated with e-mails, and also the way her posts always suggested making weighing yourself part of your day. Now, if you are trying to watch your weight that;s fine, but it was the implication that women should make weighing themselves part of their routine that rankled with me.


I used Flylady for years and I liked her a lot in the beginning. Then her tone changed. She went from "Take what you can use" to "Do it my way or else".

I sent an email one day telling her how this night shift person used Flylady and made it help me.

Morning routines were wake up routines. Evening routines were "Before Bed" routines. Before she went commercial and got drunk with money and fame, she would have been great with it. Happy she helped someone. But her reply floored me. I got a little slap on the wrist for not wearing shoes in the house (Religious reason) and then reprimanded for not following her schedule and doing it like she insisted. I was taken aback.

It's completely unreasonable to request that I lose my job or just don't sleep so I can be a good little Flybaby and stick to someone else's schedule. I wasn't so into Flylady after that. I've watched her go from helpful to materialistic greedy for a while now. I'm considering starting my own group for housekeeping that isn't greed based and bossy.

And I agree with the brat thing. I would rather say "I am being lazy" then make up multiple personalities to blame to make myself feel better. I work in a psychiatric wing of a nursing home. This could be a VERY bad thing for many people.


I soooo glad to see someone speak out about FlyLady! I was starting to wonderful if she had someone on the FlyLady payroll to sift-out any bad PR. I stopped the emails months ago, I spent more time reading the repetitive emails than I did cleaning the house!

I recently had a bad experience with the FlyLady products; i.e. Calendar with printing error, and unraveling Daily dishtowels that had two Thursday and no Friday (no doubt an inferior overseas product) I HAD TO PAY ($7.50) to return $16.95 of merchandise. With the return I enclosed a letter stating my unhappiness with their return policy on defective materials. Do you think they reimbursed me for the postage? Do you think they called or emailed a reply to me? NO! Of course not! FlyLady is not affiliated with the BBB or PayPal (no surprise) so BUYER BEWARE because there is no recourse for her consumers.

BTW, If anybody knows anywhere that I could follow-up with a warning/complaint as to forewarn other unsuspecting consumers please let me know. :)

Goddess of Java

I do use Flylady's system -- control journal et al. The routines are useful, yes, getting clutter out of the house makes it easier to clean, and yes, I do the Zone work.

However, I am about as non-traditional as it is possible to get in terms of my lifestyle, so I ignore all the Sweet Darling stuff and do things my way when there's stuff I don't like. I'm wearing slippers, for instance, and not shoes. Sunday is just another day of the week for me, as I'm about into being spiritual by any flavor as a piece of asphalt.

What I don't get, and I REALLY don't get it, is why people feel the need to argue with her or get her permission to do things differently. My house, my rules. I'm sure Marla's a nice lady and all, but a lot of people seem to give her more power over their lives that I'd give my own mother (were she discourteous enough to try, which she isn't).

I read her list from time to time to get focused. Then, when I get sick of the commercials for clutter, I just unsubscribe. She's not an authority figure, for pity's sake. She had an idea, and I use it. That's all.

Linda Spangler

I thought I was the only one who felt FlyLady was becoming more bossy, less understanding, and so much more commercial. Fame and fortune have changed Marla, and not for the better.
I actually was a SHE with Pam & Peggy before they even published their first book back in the late 70's. I saw some of the imitators, but felt FlyLady was unique.
However, since she has become famous and prosperous, I have noticed she is not as compassionate or caring. She is also less flexable and dogmatic. And she is certainly very commercially oriented lately.
The customer service is sad. My one experience was ordering a download. I am older, retired, and not very technically oriented. I did something wrong on my computer, tried to get in touch with the office for help, but couldn't, so I tried again to download it. I ended up finally getting it so I could open it the second time. When FlyLady business finally got back with me, they informed me I could not have a refund for the first, unopenable download. I was shocked.
It would have cost FlyLady's business nothing but their good will to refund me for the one download. Yet they refused. Pure greed is the only reason I can see. They must have really wanted my $16.
I still miss FlyLady. Sadly now, every time I play my downloaded book, I feel a twinge of bitterness. It just spoils the whole experience I had looked forward to for so long.
Where is the FlyLady of old, who truly cared about helping people. Ruined by fame and fortune?
Older but sadder in Cincinnatihb

Ann marie Hughes

I have to agree. Right now, I take the sneak peek, print it out, and that is that. I wrote her once about something and she was very nasty. The rubba sweepa is a complete piece of junk. All she does is hawk her stuff, and other people's stuff. Nothing very useful other than the schedule. I use motivated moms and the sneak peek and it's just fine.

R. L.

Hi there, I moved my "flylady" chat to here:

Please join me. We're pretty low key!!! I used to be part of squalor survivors chat as well!

Mine is the oldest cleaning chat out there! Join us!


My sentiments exactly! I am beginning to think some of the testimonials are made up by her or her staff. Those purple rags sound like they do the cleaning for you.
I bought the rubba sweepa( I got caught up in the hype) it broke the first day I used it.

Flylady has some really great ideas, but why did she get so rude and bossy?

I would warn anyone against buying her products.


I'm a flylady fan and I was put off by her flylady chat , I got abused by the mods for being a religious person, in the chat we had to tell eachother what we were off to do and how long...and as a Muslim it was currently the month of fasting and I said going to cook dinner for us since were all starving here
people asked why and I replied its the month of fasting in the Islamic month, being a poliet person and answering people's question...
I got abused by the mods and told no religious chat even though the christians were all going on about Christmas and none got in trouble and I have been banned for LIFE! (seriously what the heck?)
So I've stopped following Flylady like a ritural but read her main emails on the flight plan and take bits and pieces but not a hard core addict like I was when I first started in June.

I got really hurt from the mods in abusing me for my religion and then not telling people off for talking about easter and christmas when they said i couldn't even answer people on a question they asked.


I don't understand how somebody could possibly get that many testimonials that my inbox is flooded with them. Is her subscriber base rivaling Facebook's membership?


I have read a few of the comments here, but not all of them... I have to get moving myself :) BUT, I did want to point out that- at some point after your attempts at communicating with her- she DID change to "inner princess" due to the negativity of "brat".. I smiled when I read the replies from her. Sometimes we're so full of what WE think is right that we forget to step back and see another perspective. Kudos for your insight- I didn't have a problem with it when it was "Brat Factor", but I can completely identify with your point! Thanks for leaving this post... it's what? seven years later, and I'm benefiting from it! :)

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