The Best Plan Is No Plan


Looking at my life as it is right now, I know I never planned this.

I didn’t sit down after graduation and say ‘OK, I’m going to teach English in a bunch of countries, meet a husband, buy a house in Portugal, and then have three children, one after another.’ I did sit down and decide I would relocate back to the UK, that I would study for a PhD, that I would be a researcher. Then, I looked at these goals and they didn’t match with my instinctive decisions. I had two sets of ideas guiding me in life, some conjured up on a spontaneous basis, and others that I considered at length.

Whenever, I look back I realise that I haven’t carried out any of my long term plans. In fact, I am a terrible planner. Sometimes, I have a word with myself about this. It goes ‘if there is anything you don’t like about your current circumstances then it is entirely your own fault for jumping into everything headfirst. It is your own fault for not following the plan. The solution to every problem you ever had is to make better plans.’

Wait a minute though.

I am so glad that I made those instinctive choices. That I decided to study English Language in Glasgow instead of Theatre at Leeds. That I moved to Korea and not Japan. That I taught English. That I married my husband. That we lived in Poland and Portugal. That we had our kids. I would not unmake those decisions for anything. I have no regrets about them.

Well, sometimes I think that perhaps I should have studied sciences, gone into a sensible medical type profession, and made a lot more money. On the other hand, I chose to do other things because that is who I was when I made those choices. A person who didn’t have any fears about long term financial security, mortgages, and providing for a family. Back then, I had faith in my ability to sort it all out as I went along. Haha. Youth.

So, a couple of years ago, I finished my MSc, got pregnant, had another baby, then got ready to plunge into a PhD. I was writing off too potential supervisors when something stopped me.

My instincts told me this is not the plan for this moment. Maybe I will come back to it one day. Deep down, for whatever reason, It is no longer what everything I have learned on my masters/ in everyday life seems to be for. I got into this track knowing that I wanted to expand my skills away from teaching. I still do know that. I still want that. Now, I want to take everything I have done and use it to head in another direction.

My littlest is fast becoming a little girl, and we are on the verge of a new phase in our family life. This will be the first time I chase a toddler around without a big pregnant belly/ marsupial baby. Unless there is a real change of heart, or a bit of a contraceptive slip up, then this is it. We are good to go on the next stage of familyhood.

So, I find myself thinking ‘I need a plan. The best plan ever. A really stonking, get-your-shit-together plan.’

Amazing. Sometimes it is as if I have learned NOTHING.

Before I start plotting my future in detail, I am going to try a different approach. Let’s face it. My track record suggests it is wasted energy anyway. I am going to believe, as Leo Babauta says, that The Best Goal is No Goal.

Instead of focussing on what I want down the road, I will consider what I know now. What I know I can work on now. The line where what I want and what I can do meet. I am talking about that deep down knowing which acts as a compass, underneath all those plans.

I want to support women in what I am calling, for want of a better expression, ‘the childbearing journey’.

I want to help women have good pregnancy and birth experiences.

I want to help women have good motherhood experiences.

I want to interact with people.

I want to write.

I want to explore new ideas.

I want to learn.

So, beyond doing the things that I do in supporting my family, that is what I am going to try to do. That is the No Plan Plan.

In view of this, I have created a super new blog to write about that circuitous path from conception, to pregnancy, to birth, into the early stages of motherhood. More than anything, I want to help women trust themselves to navigate this road in their own way.

So, I declare Mamajestic is officially online. My first post is about finding a place of peace and quiet.

As ever, Mums are Made is coming along with me into this new territory of motherhood, which stretches over the horizon.