Friday night I flaked out on my couch. I don’t do this often, usually any and all free time is filled quickly with some activity or another, chores, reading, writing or a multitude of other things. My husband was out with a friend, and I was wiped from a busy week, so I snuggled with a warm blanket, dimmed the lights and mindlessly flipped between channels on the television.
Before long I happened upon a new show on HGTV called Consumed. Perhaps you know it, but if you don’t it’s basically a toned down version of Hoarders. Even though I’m somewhat obsessed by living a clutter-free, organized life of my own, I find it alarmingly cathartic to watch others work to get control of their own chaos. Anyhow, this particular episode focused on a traditional couple with a young family of three children. They home school, home church, he has a home office, generally they “home” everything. (Since when did home become a verb?) At any rate, the entire house was filled with clutter, mounds of clutter. Not dirty clutter, just stuff clutter. Especially their bedroom. As the host talked to them about the importance of creating an oasis for themselves, so that they could reconnect as a couple each night, I really started to think.
My house may be very organized, I don’t generally accumulate “stuff,” and everything has a place or a specific use, but I do not treat my bedroom as any kind of oasis, for me or for us as a married couple.
At the moment our room feels like a community gathering place. My children find our bed to be the most enjoyable place to play in the house and on weekend mornings we all cuddle together tickling and horsing around in bed. My children wander aimlessly in when I’m showering or soaking in the tub, or worse, having a private moment on the loo. The occasional guest finds it completely acceptable to just march into our room and use our en-suite as if it were the main family bathroom, and until recently when we finally installed blinds, the neighbours very bright outdoor lights shine into our windows like a beacon signalling “stay awake!”.
But perhaps the most shocking thing is that my husband and I fail to respect this space as an inner sanctum of our marriage. When we crawl into our bed together at night, instead of snuggling and cuddling and chatting with each other, our bed is frequently laden with digital devices. That’s right. On the very worst nights you’ll find us cozying up to: two laptops, two iPhones, an iPad and a Kindle. There maybe even be a cord or two criss-crossing from outlets and across night tables.
Until I watched this episode of Consumed the ridiculousness of our bed mates had never crossed my mind. It was simply what we did after the children were in bed. We, like millions of others who complain they don’t time for each other, may not have a master bedroom filled with “stuff” clutter, but our bed is certainly filled with “life” clutter.
You see the irony.
So in the spirit of what I’ve learned, and the somewhat embarrassing, if also humourous, realizations about my own relationship, I’m declaring a few bedroom rules:
- iPhones will no longer be accessible after 8:00 p.m.
- Kindles are allowed because reading, when you have children, can only realistically happen in the bedroom, at night, when they can’t interrupt.
- Laptops may be used as necessary, but only for specific purposes and not to endlessly surf or engage in mind-numbing escapism.
What do you think? Is this a good start to reclaiming this space as an oasis for us as a couple? Baby steps right?