The 8pm rule

  After fifteen years of marriage...I figured out why my house is not always company ready. My dishes not always done. My sink not always shining. Largely due to our "no work after 8pm" rule. When the kids are finally in bed, the school lunches packed, and coffee prepped with the Mr. Coffee ready brew timer set for a 6:30am wake up call, we call it a night in our house. Unless company is coming, a forgotten field trip, or some major project is due in the am, we are fine with leaving some chores undone.  We do not squeeze in enough date nights out of the house (babysitters are expensive!) so we LOVE 8pm. We LIVE for 8pm. It's time to pour a big glass of water (or wine if you are allowed!), sink into the sofa and snuggle up with Netflix or Hulu Plus. My husband and I do not clean the carpet, fold laundry, or tackle any household chores after 8pm. If it's a project..we leave it for Spring Break, Christmas Break or Summer Vacation. The beauty of being married to a teacher...there is ALWAYS a break around every corner. I realize not everyone is married to a teacher. I highly recommend it! His schedule is what makes the craziness of my schedule work!

     To multi task or not? The 8pm rule is great for silencing the call to unload the dishwasher or for ignoring the buzzer signaling it's time to take clothes out of the dryer, but what about the beckoning siren of my Google Chromebook? The enticing Ipad within arms reach? During down time, I (too) easily make my way over to my Sunday sermon on Google Drive to update or tweak. I love to browse Twitter and YouTube for relevant content to use in a lesson. Picmonkey calls my name, so I can throw an event flyer up on Facebook or Instagram during the late evening.  Church Community Builder is one click away. It's where I go to look over Sunday numbers for visitor follow up. The temptation to multitask during down time is alluring.  So I give in. A lot. I multitask while "chilling" out, because it gives me a chance to catch up or get ahead with the "admin" side of ministry. It's also fun. I LOVE the in the trenches WITH people aspect of face to face ministry time, but I also enjoy the behind the scenes admin side of it too. The creating, designing, dreaming, and prepping a relevant message for Sunday morning I can't wait to deliver. I guess I like ministry, giving no second thought to multitasking or shall I say "working" during the evenings while I hit the pause button on everything else (household chores). That can be a problem.

    Multitasking begins to take a toll the moment I am watching tv or a movie and have no idea what is happening. Too immersed with what I am doing. So if the movie or tv program is REALLY good, it wins what my husband calls the "She Closed Her Laptop Award." He smiles and feels a sense of victory in picking a movie or TV program I liked so much. A win. When it's engaging, when I am captivated and invested into the story, everything else stops. I put away the electronics, lean in a bit, and am completely engaged. Kinda how I am when listening to a well delivered Sunday sermon.  My winning outcome for sermons and talks, is to be "Closed Their Laptop (or cell phone, or ipad) Good."  Or at least having an audience so engaged they are tracking along by taking notes on their ipads and using their Bible app. Lately I've come to a place where I purposefully (ok just sometimes!) turn off the electronics after 8pm too. Those days where I have a migraine from looking at a screen too long or the days where I've logged way too many hours in at work, or when my mind is racing a million miles a minute, I stop. I enjoy the evening without work lingering over my shoulder in the background. It feels good!  I need to do this WAY more often. Sometimes I have to escape to a bath to pull this off. Electronics and bubble baths do not make a good combo. When the temptation to work instead of recharge keeps reoccurring in your life...take a bath and turn off everything. 

     My husband loves the 8pm rule. After a long day of work we both have our fair share of early evening responsibilities. I make dinner, he cleans up. I give the girls baths and comb tangled hair. I make sure kids put on their PJ's and brush their teeth. I put kids to bed and do devos with them. He makes sandwiches for school lunches, runs the dishwasher, walks the dog, and does a quick living room pick up. He looks forward to 8pm like a mini vacation. He loves when there is no more asked of him. He needs to recharge his battery with down time too. Especially as a teacher having been surrounded by kids ALL DAY, down time is essential to keep him a happy camper. With a familiar predictability each evening (the ones we are home for anyways!) he asks me "So what do you want to watch tonight?" Or instead he plops down two Red Netflix envelopes and excitedly tells me my movie choices. He also loves getting the mail. Something fun about opening up the mailbox and finding Netflix movies in cool red envelopes. My husband needs 8pm-11pm for downtime. I should have called it the 8:30pm rule. Kids are in bed at 8pm, and when all is said and done, "our time" begins closer to 8:30pm.

   Our premarital counseling (some 15 plus years ago) taught us one important thing we both remember well. We learned from our mentor and from an extensive "compatibility" quiz something cool...we are 100% compatible in one particular area. Can you guess which one? Did you guess it? Entertainment. Our mentor dropped his jaw a bit and said "No couple is ever 100% compatible in ANY area, but you guys scored 100% in Entertainment!" That never happens!" That's why the 8pm (or 8:30pm) rule is vital for us...we connect best through down time...through fun! Anyone who knows us, knows one thing for sure: We are FUN! Something we've known since our first date...we sure know how to enjoy life together. Our 8pm rule gives us space to do just that. We might need to hire a housekeeper though!

Having Fun...! 


  1. Angela Murray5/29/2013

    Gina, I was going to start a similar blog, then I found you! My hubby and I are 3 yrs. in as youth ministry leaders but I am the "lead" of the pair. i also homeschool our 3 boys, 15, 12 and 9, work in the church office 2 days/week and just took on the administration piece of our Children's ministry. I've been wondering if there's another woman out there who is like me. (I also don't make food from scratch and enjoy both teaching and the admin./planning/dreaming/side of ministry). Looking forward to learning more about you through your blog.


  2. Youthleadergina6/08/2013

    Thank you Angela for stopping by my blog! It's always a blessing to meet other women in youth ministry! Especially those balancing mommyhood/ministry/marriage like I am! Welcome!


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