By Sara, a.k.a. Sane Mama, writer at The Sanity Plan.
A Sanity Plan.
What comes to your mind when you read those words?
If I’m correct, most of you already have an idea of what that means. When I mention working on my Sanity Plan, I’ve noticed people tend to nod their head like they intuitively know what I’m talking about.
Why Moms Need a Sanity Plan
I’d argue that EVERYONE could use a Sanity Plan, but moms especially need one. If you are anything like me, having a kid, or two, or more can really throw all of your existing rhythms and routines out of whack. And while you are in the thick of it, it is especially hard to dig out and establish new ones. And the family dynamic and workload changes with each child you add. Throw in trying to maintain your career, and you’ve got a serious situation on your hands.
I’m talking from experience here, I have 3 kids: a 2-year-old son, a 4-year-old daughter, and a 13-year-old stepdaughter who lives with us full-time. I’m juggling part time work for a startup, and I still support my husband’s business occasionally. I have all the telltale signs of modern motherhood, mountainous piles of clean and dirty laundry, and a to-do list a mile long. You can read more of my story here.
The goal is sanity. A balanced schedule and systems that work. So many times, we walk around with a wish list in our heads of what we’d like to change, but without a plan to implement it, nothing happens.
Try to visualize what a saner version of what your life would look like. Can you identify the biggest areas that need work in order to make that happen?
Are you getting enough of the basics: sleep, healthy foods, exercise?
How effectively are you balancing your roles as mother, wife, working mom, etc.?
Do you have enough down time for recharging your batteries?
Everyone’s idea of sanity will be different. Some people need activities and social time to fill them up. Some people, like me, need alone time with a good book to reenergize.
Now it’s time to get to work. I see The Sanity Plan as having two components. The first is living by a set of principles that help guide us toward a less complicated life. The principles are available for quick use when you don’t have time for a lengthy decision making process. The second is a set of 5 personalized goals for making improvements in your life.
I have created a list of 10 important principles, but feel free to add any that are meaningful for you. I’m only going to talk about the first principle because it sets the foundation for all others, but you can join my Sanity Plan Principles series for a more in depth description of each.
Being present is the first principle. I chose this one to be first because I don’t believe that any of us can change without truly looking into our lives and our selves in real time. How can I know why I am angry and irritable with my husband if I cannot slow down and ask myself right then? Am I hungry, am I tired, am I feeling disconnected from my friends, or am I frustrated about something unrelated at work? Or, is it a sore spot between he and I because I haven’t been honest with him about a particular issue?
Being in the moment is the key to making any changes. How can we change anything if we cannot see what it is that needs to change?
Next, we set some high level goals. For this, I recommend only 5 because any more than that can get overwhelming. Don’t worry if you have more than that, you can write down as many as you like, but DO choose the 5 most important ones to use for your Sanity Plan.
For me, I have a laundry list of things I want to do, work on, and change about myself. The sheer number can easily overwhelm and stall me into complete inactivity. So instead, I set the following goals to prioritize change in certain areas of my life:
- Work on improving the kids’ behavior (limit meltdowns, create better routines)
- Strengthen my relationship with my husband (date nights, consistent co-parenting)
- Make personal care a priority (sleep, exercise schedule, self-care plan)
- Create organizational habits and routines (conquer my clutter bug)
- Balance my work & creative projects with home life (create effective systems)
So far we have established Principles and Goals for our Sanity Plan. Take time to consider both, and make sure that you have chosen areas that will make the biggest impact in your life.
The next step is all about taking action. In my next article, I will cover:
- Setting Specific & Timely Goals
- Reviewing Your Progress Regularly
I’m looking forward to helping you work on your Sanity Plan! Part of my mission on this journey is to connect with other people interested in finding and creating balance in their lives. I’m very happy to have met Sara, and now share my message with all of you!
What is the biggest area of your life that you would like to improve?
Sara, a.k.a. Sane Mama, writes about keeping her life as sane as possible while managing a family of 5 on overdrive. Check out the Sanity Plan for more on how she balances being a wife, mothering toddlers, stepparenting a teen, working for a startup, and finding her dreams. She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.