The Master Bedroom

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?

 I wrote this post as part of Heather at The Extraordinary-Ordinary’s Just Write exercise. Head on over if you want to learn and read more!

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22 thoughts on “The Master Bedroom

  1. ShannonL says:

    Ha ha! Good luck with #1!

    I guess we pretty much do the same thing, only it’s in the living room rather than the bedroom. After the youngest is in bed, you can normally find one of us with a laptop, the other with a Blackberry, both in front of the TV. In the bedroom we have only the TV which is probably just as bad as computers and books, but at least we share/discuss/laugh at the same show rather than being separated in our own little technological worlds!

    I say you implement those bedroom rules *and* add some *other* devices to those night tables that you can share! (Wink, wink)!

  2. Hmmm .. not so sure you shouldn’t ban laptops entirely from the bedroom. What “specific” purposes are allowed? If they are for writing or blogging, maybe forcing yourself to sit at a desk could help with the whole “oasis” goal?

    p.s. I think an “oasis” is just as achievable as “work-life balance” but hey, a peaceful place to sleep may not be an oasis, but it’s a start! 🙂

  3. After years of single life in which I settled in on my bed with work and snacks and magazines (and the television nearby), I started having trouble sleeping. All the advice said to leave those other activities outside the bedroom. It helped. When I got married we found that the same rule applies whether the goal is sleeping or enjoying intimacy and couple’s time.

  4. ohhh, I don’t know…I love my laptop and use it pretty much all day, all evening. Yes, and ebook readers, and my phone. But I love love love the fact that when I go to bed at night all that is on my bedside tables is a slim volume of poetry, a book, a journal, a light and an alarm clock. It feels peaceful to turn off the world and disconnect from it, even if only for a few brief moments before sleep.

    Having said that, I could definitely declutter – most days there is clean laundry waiting to be folded and clothes to be put away and that definitely detracts from the peaceful ambiance.

  5. lena says:

    I remember an old Oprah episode in which she said everyone should have a bedroom sanctuary, that everyone deserves this. My husband and I are pretty good about this. I have forbidden laptops from our bedroom as my husband will work for hours and/or read sports columns until 2 a.m. if I let him. I also usually go to sleep before him so he usually ends up working in the living room. This means we don’t spend as much time together late at night but I get a decent amount sleep, which, with two little ones is priority. 😉

    Would be curious to hear how this develops!

  6. alita says:

    Hear Hear!

    I keep my bedroom free of distractions only because I was once an insomniac that needed to do so. It is an old habit that has never died, and our marriage has benefited from it I believe.

  7. Corinne says:

    I love your rules 🙂 I might have to apply them at our house….

  8. Christine,

    First of all, I love to laugh out loud from reading. It doesn’t happen every day, but I can not stop laughing at “I find it alarmingly cathartic to watch others work to get control of their own chaos.” You may not have meant for this to be funny, but it just cracks me up.

    I also love the little glimpses into your life. I am laughing at all of your devices.

    Seriously though, it is something to consider. I am one of those who helps soothe you in trying to get control. : ) I generally get in bed before my husband and read. I have stacks of books by my bed that don’t look too peaceful. When kids are in bed, he generally watches sports…. or worse, sports commentary shows which I hate with the fire of a thousand suns. He sometimes comes up before I go to sleep, but by then I am exhausted and half asleep.

    We are both so tired now ….. I wonder how we even have three children. We actually wanted more, but figured if we were too tired to make them, then we were probably too tired to raise them………

  9. Our bedroom is Kid Central, too. They wander in at all hours, kicking one or both of us out of the bed, demanding Advil, water that is “cold”, a post-nightmare back rub. Those little minxes have our number and have it good.

    I applaud your efforts to re-claim your bedroom. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  10. Chantal says:

    I think it is a great idea. My DH and I don’t hang out in our room, but I wish we did. More often than not we just flake out in bed and fall asleep in seconds. but that is another issue all together 😉

  11. I am currently taking a break from turning our bedroom/office into an oasis. I konw that sounds crazy with the whole /office thing going on, but it will work because the mounds of clutter are not doing anything for my anxiety.

  12. Totally good start, lady. Right now our bedroom is FAR from an oasis…with the non-sleeping baby 🙂 But I’ve thought a lot about getting back to “normal” a lot. I miss the bedroom the way it was and I know this will pass…

    yeah, you know.

    Thank you for joining me today!

  13. Galit Breen says:

    Oh my can i ever relate to this- as my husband and I are both typing away in bed right now!

    Good luck with your new rules! I love the idea of an oasis- swoon worthy for sure!

  14. Elaine says:

    We don’t usually bring electronic stuff into the bedroom, BUT. We have been known to simultaneously play Words With Friends in bed. With each other. 😉

    I think your new rules are good and I love that you were inspired to make them! 🙂

  15. We definitely have all that stuff: the laptops, the phones, the iPad and kindle, and we’re really quite rarely away from them. It’s not a “rule”, but it has just turned out that we don’t bring those devices to bed with us (except for the kindle & iPad – for reading before bed), and I’m definitely glad for it. We also don’t bring them to the dinner table with us (and try to avoid answering calls when we’re eating). We’re not hardcore about it. It’s just a more general preference, and I really like that there are these two times during the day where we can just really be present and be with each other. Some of my most favorite conversations happen then, as we unwind from the day and share what’s on our minds, from the trivial, to the curious, to the important and serious.

    Good luck decluttering your bedroom! I hope you find a nice balance for sanctuary.

  16. Jane says:

    I wish you all the luck in the world. And when you have success stories to share – please do it here! (Or email me. That works, too!) Our bedroom has turned into the dumping zone. My husband and I talk about turning it into our sanctuary. We even have colors and designs and furniture we’d like to outfit the room with. But actually doing something about it? Maybe it’s time to start.

    (And thanks for the new show recommendation! I need to check this out!)

  17. rachel says:

    ok, after months of saying that it’s time to turn our bedroom into a calm and happy place to reconnect and restore, i’m going to go it. but, you know, really this time… 🙂

  18. harrietglynn says:

    I have been anti-technology in the bedroom since people started putting TVs in their bedrooms. This is one of the reasons I don’t have a Kindle – it’s just such a slippery slope. I don’t mind the bedroom being a place for family in the larger sense but Iphones and laptops have no place in the bedrooms (and more specifically the BEDS) of the nation 🙂

  19. Bridget says:

    I wish I could follow those rules!

  20. denise says:

    Oh I know. We didn’t have a TV in our bedroom for a year because I didn’t think we should have a TV in there. Until I got sick last fall and brought up the old clunker. Last minute, I threw an old towel down on top of my dresser to protect it against the weight the the clunker TV. Now, one year later, guess what’s still in our bedroom? And when we want to watch movies in bed? Voila! A laptop is produced.

    You’ll have to let us know how this goes–media-free worked in our room for awhile. But then we slip…

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