In my defense, though, my evenings have remained relatively untouched. For awhile, Fred and I were barely seeing each other. He would go to poker, game nights in Huntsville, or Movie Nights, and I would be off at Cooking Club, Book Club, MUMs events, birthday bashes.... Until we realized that, while it may all be "good stuff," it's certainly not all beneficial to us or our marriage. I love seeing my friends. But I will not choose them over my family. Occasional (like once a week, maybe) evening activities are fine, but it simply can't become a habit to socialize more than spend quality evening time together.
I'll step on toes and go so far as to say that most marriages would be a heck of a lot healthier if both spouses would simply STAY HOME and see each other. Talk, read together, play games. These things are so easily forgotten, left abandoned by the roadside in favor of more "exciting" opportunities. In the end, though, it left us feeling fatigued, frustrated and unfulfilled. The more couples I meet, the more I become convinced that none of us spend nearly enough time with the person we married. Just talking. Savoring. Enjoying, relaxing.
So, here's the heads up for my darling friends: I love you and love spending time with you. Phone calls are often hard for me, because I simply can't ignore my children to have a long conversation. There are four little people needing supervision, help, attention. I often stick to email, because it's something I can leave and come back to. It only takes a few moments; I can pray for someone, jot a note, give a time to meet... and then jump right back into the activities with my kids. I'm so thankful for those of you who understand that. It's not about avoiding anyone, only about being intentional with my time. I answer the phone when it's convenient, but I've never been a slave to it.
And, as much as I love love love to be around people, I'm being very purposeful about keeping most of my evenings free. Us ENFPs are those wacky extroverts that also *need* downtime. In my case, it's creative time. So, in addition to needing downtime and housecleaning time, I also need spouse-time. That just doesn't leave ample time for other things in the evenings. I'm trying to put the big rocks in the jar first (for those who have heard that analogy.)
But don't be confused; my days are still full and fun with the people I love. We have playdates almost every day, plus horseback riding, craft days, field trips.
Then the Rest comes in the evening.
(I'll go to Book Club if/when I actually have time to read the current book. I'll go to Cooking Club, seeing as how I love it and it's only once a month. But I simply cannot go to every birthday party for each friend and each friend's child, or I would never see my own family.)
Anyone else have an overcommitment issue? (sigh)
How do you plan? Do you set guidelines for yourself?