How I Stay Sane… and Organized
There are times (more often than there should be) when women take a look around and compare their lives to other women’s lives. They see some sane and organized women, and then they see unkempt out of control women. When you look around you think one of two things:
- At least I’m not THAT bad
- She looks like she’s got it all together… I’ll never ever be able to be on her level.
Regardless of what you think and about whom, I’m here to tell you that NO woman has it ALL together. NO woman is sane 100% of the time and NO woman is exactly like you. Stop comparing yourself to other women/mothers/wives/daughters/sisters/friends.
I’ve often wondered what people think of me. I am a mom of one with another on the way. I am married and work full time. My kid is in daycare 5 days a week. I wonder if people think I have it all together or if they think “at least I’m not THAT bad” as I stumble into work 5 minutes late with no makeup and unbrushed hair. I’ll never know what others think, but it shouldn’t matter. If I am doing my best and giving my 100% where ever I’m at and whatever I’m doing at the moment, then I’m surviving. At this point in my life I’m satisfied with surviving.
But occasionally I’ll have a “I mom’d so hard” day and be so proud of how I totally crushed the mom game that day. Other days I’ll feel the same about my job and other days I’ll feel the same about being a wife. However… feeling that same “I totally won this day” feeling is VERY few and far between. So don’t take this post as me saying I have it all together. I don’t. It actually makes me want to laugh at the thought! HOWEVER… I do have a few practices that keep me sane and keep my life organized enough that it may appear that I have it all together.
Calendar AND A Planner
I have two magnetic calendars on my refrigerator at home. I got them off Amazon and they are cheap and I love them. Before these calendars things slipped through the cracks.
EX: Text to hubby “hey remember I’m working late tonight so you have to do daycare pickup.” Response text “uh… I have a doctors appointment at 4:30… there is no way I can pull that off.”
You get the idea. We weren’t on the same page and it was killing us. So once I put these on the fridge (current month and upcoming month) it really helped us stay organized.
Also, I started to carry around a planner. (Check out this one I won from a Madeline Sepcic giveaway – its amazing) Not everywhere I went, but I took it to work with me and synced up my work calendar with my personal calendar all on paper. This helps me personally keep tabs on what I’m supposed to do, where I’m supposed to be and the importance of each task that is to be completed each day. If there is something that requires a time and place that I know in my heart I won’t remember, I’ll put it in my Google calendar with the address so I can have Google help me get there on time with calendar alerts and Google Maps. I don’t put tasks on Google calendar but I do put appointments in my Google calendar.
I also use this planner to help me with my daily tasks. Sometimes if I don’t write down that I need to wear a certain shirt on a certain day then I won’t know that it will need to be washed at least a day ahead of time. Keeping this planner helps me stay on top of tasks that might slip through the cracks.
Get Into A Routine That Works For You
When my son was around 6 months old I was going bonkers. I couldn’t get him to sleep… and stay asleep. Not to mention losing sleep myself and I just felt plain crazy. So, I called up my sister-in-law (so thankful to have you in my life, Rachel) who has two littles of her own and asked for help. She suggested a bedtime routine that is the exact same steps every night. I started it and I am still doing the same routine with my son at 2 years old because IT WORKED!
Around 7:30pm I draw a bath, we brush teeth, take a bath, put on our PJ’s (occasionally read a book after if he’s up for it), turn out the lights and say prayers then rock while he drinks his warm bottle then I put him in his crib. Sometimes he’s already asleep when I put him in his crib, sometimes he is not. But he knows its bed time. Sure, we’ve had to alter the routine and add a few tricks as he’s gotten older, but you get the concept.
Now, I have seasonal routines. In the winter as soon as I get home from work I get a snack ready for him and he eats a small snack while I (or my husband) cook dinner. We eat dinner, play, dance, and then start the bedtime routine. In the summer, we go for a walk in place of snack time (or while we eat our snack).
I truly feel like this comfort of a routine has helped my son grow and develop a healthy confidence and trust in my husband and I as parents. He sleeps all night and is a generally happy child with very few meltdowns. *quickly knocks on wood*
Make Time For “Me”
“Me” time is crucial to the sanity portion of this list. Because we have a routine, I know that I have 3 hours between the time he goes to bed and the time I go to bed. I spend half of those three hours with my husband, watching a show or chatting. Then, I spend the last half of those three hours by myself watching a show I want to watch, sewing, doing a crossword puzzle, taking a long hot bath… anything that can be done indoors in my home I can do during that hour and a half. Mostly I just watch Netflix and peruse Pinterest, but the important thing is that I am choosing what I do and I am doing it because I want to. Its helpful for my husband too, because he gets some alone time as well. We both really enjoy our alone time, just as much as we enjoy time with each other (Thank God, he gets me!)
You can even start a blog and take this time to express yourself in a creative way!
Get On A Budget
Nothing makes a person crazier than feeling like they are out of control of their own lives. Take charge starting with your schedule and then your finances. As soon as I put my son in daycare and began working again, I realized just how much we needed to reign in our spending. Daycare ain’t cheap, people! (and neither are NICU bills, but that’s a whole different story) So we decided it was time to take charge and tell our money where to go. I tried several budgeting apps… fail. I tried some Pinterest suggestions… fail. What really worked for me was creating my own Excel Spreadsheet. It worked like gangbusters for my family. Once we started budgeting with my super cool (yes, I’m proud) spreadsheet, we ended up paying off over $60,000 in debt in one year! It’s amazing what you can do when you are intentional.
If you are wanting to start a budget but don’t know where to start, you can take my online budgeting course. It is only $10 because I wanted to make it a price that I would actually pay. It includes my Excel budget spreadsheet as well as many other methods and ideas as to how you can begin taking control of your finances.
Keep Your Friends Close
Another hat-tip to sanity is having actual humans other than your husband and children to talk to. It may be a work friend, a high school buddy, a cousin, or just someone you’ve met along life’s journey. Nurture that relationships. Talk with that friend about anything and everything and listen to that friend as well. Sometimes a good conversation with another human can validate you, make you feel heard and most importantly make you feel balanced. I know my squad keeps me sane, no doubt.
Learn more about how I have kept friendships over the years here.
This one is a biggie. This has really calmed my nerves and helped me arrive (relatively…) on time to events and work. I set out my son’s clothes the night before and prepare everything ahead of time so that all I need to do is change a diaper and clothes to get him out the door. This leaves room for minimal fussing.
I also set out my own clothes the night before as well. Like most women, I stare into my closet with blank, sleepy stare in the mornings with no clue as to how to “look cute” today. Setting out clothes in the mornings takes away from the decision making during my morning brain fog. I also keep a makeup bag at work just in case I wake up a bit late and don’t have time to slap some mascara and lipstick on my face.
We live pretty far from family, so if we are going to go visit family for a weekend I know that I will need to have our bags *mostly* packed by Thursday night so we can leave as quickly as possible once we get off work on Friday. This is just an example of how planning ahead has helped me from feeling frantic and doing everything at the last second.
Give Yourself Some Grace
This is the most important tip. Because you DON’T have to have it all together. And if you don’t check every box on your task list for that day SO WHAT!! The sky won’t fall, the world won’t end, and the sun will still rise tomorrow. You can’t do it all, have it all, and be in all the places at once. You just can’t! So give yourself some grace. Just because you write it down doesn’t mean you can’t scratch it out. YOU are in control of your own life and your own day. With that same take-charge attitude, give yourself a break and be happy with the things you DID get done that day. Even if that is simply surviving. We all have those days (me? at least once a week). Self grace is the key to sanity in motherhood and in womanhood.
Goals are important. Keeping my kid fed and my husband happy are my top priorities. These are just a few ways I do those things while still crushing it at work and sticking a smile on my face. What are some ways that you stay sane and organized? I would love to hear them! Send your sanity practices to me by adding a comment in the comments section below!