Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking Back Our Evenings

Every once in awhile, my husband gets on these kicks where he gets restless or concerned about something and wants to better himself. Usually, it results in us spending less money for a month, us taking a whole day to clean the house, or (when I'm really lucky) him going downstairs to work on the basement that he's been trying to finish for almost four years now.

A week or so ago, he brought up something that caught me off guard. It wasn't one of his usual concerns, but I guess it was related now that I think about it. He decided we needed to watch less TV, and I begrudgingly agreed.

Up until then, our nightly routine was to come home, I'd make dinner while he entertained Bridget, and then we'd all sit in front of the TV. Often, since we all wanted to watch different shows, I'd be in the living room watching something I DVRed, Bridget would be next to me with her Kindle Fire on her lap watching Wonder Pets most likely, and my husband would be in the bedroom powering through a season of something on Netflix. It was pretty bad, mostly for Bridget although she didn't seem to mind too much.

When my husband got this idea, we discussed the terms and decided that we could only watch TV after 8:00 on weeknights, which is after Bridget goes to bed. Then, Saturday and Sunday were fair game. I mean, I'd feel bad depriving her of her friends the Wonder Pets forever. "What's gonna work? Teamwork!" Stupid ear worm of a song.

Activities that we can do with Bridget involving a TV, like Just Dance or Rock Band, are OK.

So far, it's been going OK. On the days that my husband beats me home, he's been taking the dog for a walk with Bridget, which I'm sure we'll continue to do as it warms up. I've been having a little trouble deciding what to do with Bridget in the hour and a half after dinner when it starts getting dark but before she goes to bed. The last couple nights, my husband's been out, and Bridget and I have sat on the couch and had some bonding time. I would ask her about her day, and she would earnestly tell me all about it while gazing into the distance and furrowing her brow. It's pretty cute. Monday, she told me how she was playing piano until her friend Andrew took it away from her. Not one to be trifled with, she took the piano back and then hit him. To which I, of course, told her it was never OK to hit anyone (while trying not to laugh because she just looked so serious).

Playing with one of her favorite toys right now - putting different outfits on Minnie

While I'm enjoying having little conversations with my daughter, and I look forward to the days when we can get out and actually do something, I do kind of miss vegging all night, too. But I know this is for the best and is benefiting all of us. As long as my DVR doesn't fill up, I'm a-OK! Haha. And who knows, maybe one of these nights our project will be to finish that basement. Or hire someone to do it.


  1. awesome! A few weeks ago we totally dropped our cable and are selling our tivo as well (signed up for hulu instead). I'm surprised how much free time I have now without any tv. I watch maybe a couple of hours a week instead of having it on all the time! I do miss a ton of bravo shows though, but I have to remind myself that Matt and Link are more important! *high five* guys!!

  2. That's such a great thing to do. I'm a lot like your husband. I get ideas in my head all the time and I'm constantly setting limits or creating rules for myself like, "no screen time when the boys are awake" or "We must go on a walk everyday!" I'm trying all the time to change my habits and it goes well for awhile. Then I fall off the wagon for a week or two and carry my ipad around the house with me or sit at my computer for a long stretches of time. We ignore the outside like we have grudge against it and we throw our schedule out the window. Then I get back on the wagon and we do all sorts of awesome things and so much more gets done around the house and I think, "why don't I do this all the time?" Inevitably though, I get burned out, a holiday comes around and things get crazy, or one of us gets sick and I fall off the wagon again. It can be a vicious cycle but I hope each time we have a good stretch, I'm carrying little bits and pieces of the good habits with me and eventually they will start to add up and make a difference.

    Hopefully, you have better luck than me!

  3. We have tried to do the same thing, but it doesn't always work out that way with school. One thing Aubrey LOVES to do is art projects. I went to the dollar store/Wal-Mart for one of her Christmas presents and made her an art bucket. It has all sorts of things from stickers, glue, foam boards and shapes, pipe cleaners with beads, glitter, puff balls... you name it. She enjoys taking it out at night a few times a week and sitting at the kitchen table while I cook dinner and creating things.

    I have also made discovery buckets (like a sand table but with a plastic bin) I have done colored rice, beans, and put different things in it for her to scoop and play with.

    When it is nice out we have a bike trailer for the kids and take them out on bike rides.

    Going to the library to check out books. We take the dogs on walks.

    And her favorite thing yet.... This weekend Scott is starting to build her a "park" swing set in the backyard. (It wont be done this weekend since it is out of wood and we are building a playhouse at the top) but I know we will be spending lots of time out there.

    I cannot wait for school to be out and we will probably go back to limiting our TV time to an hour before Scott and I go to bed and an hour for the kids a day.

  4. I love this idea and all the suggestions. Might be a nice time to start a routine of a Bible story and prayer before dinner or bedtime.