My Little Secret to Sanity

My Secret to Sanity

I know what you’re thinking.  “What? You’re sane? Noo-oo.”  I know.  It’s marginal.


But seriously, I think I’ve figured it all out.  I was talking recently with a friend who was at the end of her rope.  I had been at the end of my rope a few weeks earlier and since I had been able to climb up my rope a few inches since then, I felt pretty qualified to offer her some sound advice.

“Watch soaps.  That’s what my mom tells me to do.”  O-kay, so I’ve never actually done that unless you count Downton Abbey.

Then I told her what truly helped me.  I count to fifty.  I put fifty things away, then I spend time doing something with at least one of my children, and then I give myself a little break, usually reading a chapter of a book.  Then I start the cycle again.

It works wonders.  I don’t get as discouraged or distracted because I really like to read and I’ll do about anything if I can give myself permission to read a book.  I don’t like putting things away that much, but hey, I can put fifty things away and it’s not too bad.  I get a lot more done, I get some good reading in which always energizes me, and I get some quality time with the kids—unless I skip that part of the cycle, which has been known to happen before.  Sometimes I get Ricky and Deborah to put away fifty things with me and they’re pretty cute–like when they put dirty clothes into my clean clothes baskets or drop glass cups into the sink and shatter them.

Anyway, it really helps if I start to get a little overwhelmed, or if I just don’t want to do anything at all.  And at the end of the day, I walk through my house and go, “Wow!  This house is clean cleaner.”

Maybe reading a book doesn’t get you excited.  Maybe for you it will be watching ten minutes of a show, or jumping on a tramp, or eating a candy bar (although I’m not sure how Weight Watchers would feel about you eating seven candy bars a day.  It might work as long as that’s all you eat, but then I’m not a dietician so don’t quote me on that.)  Whatever it is, there has to be some little reward to keep the cycle going.

What’s amazing is how effective this strategy is and how often I forget to use it.  Like I will be feeling a bit scattered in mid-afternoon, and I will think, the cycle, the cycle!  Get on the cycle!

It’s truly pretty scientific.  I have figured out that if I put away 200 things a day, I stay on about par with where I was yesterday.  If I do 350, then I’m pulling ahead.  If I do 500, then—well I’ve never actually done 500, but I bet you it would be totally awesome.  I don’t know what your magic number is—it probably depends on how many kids you have and how sloppy you are, but you’ll figure it out pretty quick, that magic number that keeps your head above water.

Here’s a few of my rules.

Unloading the dishwasher counts.  I count each piece I put away.

Loading the dishwasher counts too.  Dishes get counted twice, but that’s o-kay.

Putting my make-up on counts.  I hate putting on my make-up, but I count one for base, two for mascara, three for eyeliner . . .

Wiping a counter gets a point.  Wiping a big counter gets two points.

Putting clothing on my children counts.  I’m putting things where they belong and right now, a pair of socks, a pair of jeans, and a shirt belong on Ricky.  Yes, he’s six, and he still cannot dress himself.

Each item I put away in my laundry counts. A pair of socks gets two points because well, there are two of them.

Making a business phone call gets five points.  Calling the cable company gets fifteen points.  Calling the DMV gets fifty.

Oh, and also, I try to put away/throw out twenty-five pieces of paper a day.

What is your key to sanity?

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One comment

  1. This is a good idea except I think I’ll always lose track of my counting. But yeah, I wish that third of the equation could just be cut out all together… time to self and time to kids. That would be awesome.

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