Thursday, May 5, 2016

Making Over My Evenings {Day 4}

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I'm working my way through Crystal Paine's new course, Makeover Your Evenings- 14 days of videos, reading, and projects designed to bring more order, rest, and productivity into your life. If you'd like to grab the course and work through it right along with me, you can do so here. Each weekday night I'll be posting my takeaway from the day's coursework. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and how you are making over your own evenings!




Today we come to it- the real problem in my life, in my marriage, with my evenings... is me. If my nights are going to change, I am going to need to change. They aren't fun to think about, but our character flaws and shortcomings need to be acknowledged before we can make real progress.

In the video, Crystal encouraged us to make a list of our setbacks to having a successful evening, and then to pick one to focus on, creating one actionable step we can take tonight to start changing. My list looked something like this:
  • After putting the kids to bed, I tend to dawdle instead of getting right to work with my evening routine. That could involve mindless social media time, or distracting myself with other tasks on my list that aren't top priority. Character Flaw: Procrastination.
  • Speaking of mindless social media time... that could be it's own separate line item. Character Flaw: Wasting Time.
  • I'm more checklist oriented than husband oriented. Usually once the kids are in bed I jump immediately to my desires, plans, and preferences. What makes this a bad habit is that evenings are the only time my husband and I have to connect. If I'm focused only on what I want to do, then insist on going to bed at ten when Niall isn't ready and we haven't spent any quality time together, then our relationship suffers. Character Flaw: Selfishness.
For my one improvement, I want to focus on my relationship with my husband. I'm not just an individual with only myself to consider. I'm part of a team, and I want to give my best contribution to successful evenings for us as a couple. Instead of jumping straight to my to do list or whatever it is I "feel" like doing, after putting the kids to bed each night I want to think through these two questions.
  1. What could I do that would help Niall the most?
  2. How can I best build into our relationship?
As for helping him, it could be a simple task that already jives with my list- like picking up and vacuuming the living room so he can have a peaceful studying environment. He's told me that that goes a long way in encouraging him as he does homework. 

Or maybe its ironing a shirt so that he has something nice to put on in the morning. Or making him a cup of hot chocolate, or a tasty snack, or being the one to deflect the million "I need a drink" or "I need to go potty" post bedtime children inquiries. Whatever helping him looks like, first thing,  I want to think it over or even just ask him.

One of the reasons I don't always get the lights out at ten {my preferred bedtime} is because Niall wants to spend time with me. He's a busy guy, and sometime 9:30, even 10 or 10:30 is his first and best time to be together. I want to be more flexible about my bedtime- yes, 10 is ideal for me, but our relationship has to be priority. 

But if making special effort at having a quality dinner time conversation, giving him a back rub while he studies, or just making more eye contact and working alongside him allows him to feel less neglected, I might stand half a chance at that 10 p.m. bedtime. I'm going to give it a shot and hope it means we both get to bed earlier more often!


What's the most important change you could make towards more successful evenings? Are there any character flaws contributing to the problem {in my case, the sin is selfishness!}? What's one small change you could make tonight?

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