Day 46: TURN OFF THE TV AND READ
I am a creature of habit. I like predictability. I like knowing what comes next and planning accordingly. I do not like surprises. (And how exactly am I making it as a military spouse?!)
In a way, that’s why my husband, Mr. Spontaneity, and I complement each other so well. He brings me out of my comfort zone, while I help to show him the advantages of consistency (although he still doesn’t heed my advice about putting his car keys in the same location every day so he doesn’t have to frantically search for them every day.)
A large part of my daily routine revolves around the kids’ bedtime. They go to bed at 7:00. On the dot. If they happen to miss their bedtime because of extraneous circumstances, I rush through that bedtime routine like I’m fast-forwarding the commercials on my DVR.
I’m strict about bedtime because my munchkins are terrors the next day if they’re sleep-deprived. But really, in all selfishness, I do it for me too. I love my children dearly, but at the end of the day, I need some ME time. Maybe a glass of wine. Maybe catching up on emails. Maybe a big bowl of popcorn. But definitely TV.
Being a domestic engineer (read: stay-at-home mom), it’s not unusual for me to pass an entire day without having a face-to-face conversation with another adult. If the only conversations you have all day are with a 2- and almost 6-year-old, I assure you that all you want to hear at the end of the day is grown-up voices talking about grown-up things. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about Cinderella and Star Wars and hearing the word “poop” 93 times a day. But at night I just want to see what Jack Bauer’s next near-death experience is going to be or drool in anticipation of the moment Sawyer will remove his shirt or fight frustration because House and Cuddy aren’t any closer to finally hooking up or vote on which of Simon’s wonderfully snide remarks is the most colorful.
As much as I love the escape of my favorite television shows, I love books even more. However, the only time I pencil reading into my schedule is in bed right before I go to sleep. But by that time, my eyes start drooping around 2 pages in, and by the 4th page my bookmark settles back into its place.
Therefore, tonight, after I put the kids to bed at 7:00 (on the dot!), I curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a bowl full of popcorn, and instead of reaching for my trusty remote control, I grabbed a book. And you have to understand that part of this challenge includes the fact that it’s both Grey’s Anatomy and Idol results night. (My husband thought I should take the challenge one step further and not DVR the shows, but that’s just insanity. Plus, I could watch them online anyway.)
Did I like this diversion from my regular nightly routine? Did I embrace the utter lack of consistency and jump into the crazy world of spontaneity? Well, I can say that I enjoyed the reading part while the reading part lasted. In retrospect, I probably should have done this challenge while my husband was gone. It probably would have met more success if my quiet reading time wasn’t competing with YouTube videos and a phone call from an old buddy. But I read a solid 30 pages of Eat, Pray, Love (and the font is really small), which is more than I’ve read all week.
As far as the spontaneity goes, I don’t think I’ll ever fully embrace it. I prefer to plan my spontaneity.