Call me ambitious. Call me naive. Call me brash, brave or bold.
There's a new rule in my home, and it's called the 8pm Shutdown.
After 8pm, we stop doing housework, chores, bills, or spending time on other obligations. And for the rest of the night, Michael and I spend some time for ourselves and for one another, whether that ends up being an early bedtime, a movie, spiritual or pleasure reading, blogging, catching up with a friend on the phone, etc.
So why have I instituted the 8pm Shutdown? Because spending 14 hours per day taking care of my home, work and family is enough.
In other words, I think the familiar airplane oxygen mask lesson is a great metaphor here: The instructions say to put on your own oxygen mask before trying to put a mask on somebody else. The idea, of course, is that if you're going light-headed and dizzy from lack of oxygen, you're not going to be able to do a great job of helping the person next to you.
How perfectly I can translate that to my life!
I am learning that without sufficient time for prayer, sleep and "me" activities like blogging, exercising and reading, I'm not as good of a wife, mother, friend and daughter as I want to be. And, perhaps, as I was created to be.
I should note that I already get up in the morning before the boys for personal prayer and meditation. This has been a huge blessing in my life and in my relationship with Christ! However, I am starting to see how ending the day in prayer, and then spending just a little time on myself, might be just what I need to do to round out each day in a healthy, God-centered way.
I'll let you know how things go. :)
Interestingly enough, Michael and I actually came up with the 8pm Shutdown a couple of different times over the past year and a half, but we just never stuck to it for more than a few days. This past week, however, I talked to two friends of mine who recently started similar versions of the 8pm Shutdown in their lives. (Both friends began doing it independently of one another, which is the funny thing.) Each woman absolutely gushed in her own way about how fruitful this practice has been in her life over the past few weeks. And as I spoke to each of them, I realized that these particular friends of mine have been visibly more peaceful and cheerful over the past couple of weeks.
Call me a copycat, but I'd like some of that please!
Perhaps 8pm is an ambitious "Shutdown" time, but without going nitpicky or extremist, this rule is something I want and need to make a part of my home and my life. Now, of course sickness or other extenuating circumstances needing my After-8pm Attention will have me 100%! The idea is that I'll be ably and (I hope) even cheerfully ready to give that 100% when needed because I will have been taking care of myself each day so regularly that it won't be as much of stretch for me when, say, Gabriel keeps us up two or three hours in the middle of night while he's teething.
I think that one thing the 8pm Shutdown will do is make me more organized in how I schedule my day.While I love my family's flexibility and spontaneity, and want to keep that to some extent, I see where adding a little more routine to our lives would be helpful on many fronts. For example, having dinner around the same time each day will force me to be a better meal planner, and to use my time during the day more wisely.
There's so much more to say on this topic, but I'll leave it be tonight. I promise to update my blog with my adventures and misadventures with the 8pm Shutdown. Considering that you know my thoughts and challenges with Things Left Undone (see my previous post), I know stopping housework at 8pm will be another big challenge for me!
But a healthy challenge, I think. And a fruitful one.
Well, it's 9:18pm and this little momma is just about ready to snuggle under the covers and doze off for the night into some beauty sleep.
Right after I find my favorite fuzzy socks somewhere in the clean laundry...that Michael folded in its entirety today and put neatly in my sock drawer.
I adore that man. :)