As a massive beach ball flew into my bedroom, knocking off a number of lotions and potions on my dresser, I felt like sobbing. ‘Can I not just have ONE nice room in this house?’
The answer, to be clear, is no. No I can not have even one tidy room, nor can I have one nice piece of furniture in my house.
A while ago, I had a fight with my partner about a gorgeous sofa-bench, which sits at the end of my bed. It’s covered in my clothes and he wanted to buy another wardrobe and move the bedroom sofa-bench downstairs. I responded with a swift and harsh, ‘Absolutely NOT!’ The small couch is not just a small sofa to me, even though it’s covered with my clothes and I think I sat on it only once, five years ago, when I bought it after seeing it in showroom.
The small sofa-bench represents the one still perfect and pristine piece of furniture that I own and I want to keep it that way. So the sofa-bench has become a symbol of my pre-kid life, a life where I don’t almost trip over one small shoe on the stairs, every single day, or where I have to navigate all the Lego pieces, in all rooms, because stepping on a Lego piece hurts like a bitch.
I’m pretty anal about clutter. I hate it. I detest it. Yet, my house is entirely cluttered. No matter how hard I’ve tried, my house usually looks like a frat house for toddlers, after an all-nighter rave. My kitchen floors are scratched, thanks to my children skateboarding, scootering and even riding their bikes back and forth. The six chairs around my kitchen table (which were supposed to be stain-proof) proved to be the exact opposite. One chair is stained with what looks like purple Kool-Aid. Another chair is stained with dirt, thanks to my son and daughter crossing their feet, while eating. And a third chair is so badly stained with chocolate milk, I just want to toss them all out onto the street.
Am I being dramatic?
As a mom, can you have nice things? Seeing my house on a Sunday evening, after a weekend, makes me want to cry and run away to a hotel. You know how many moms moan about not being able to wear white and wonder how other moms do it and not get stained all day long? That’s how I feel about other people’s homes, especially if their children are grown.
I’m so super jealous that they can have nice floors and clean chairs and no beach balls being whipped into bedrooms (Why the heck did my son even have a beach ball in the house? No clue!)
My beautiful marble dining room table is still in good shape. I think. But I can’t tell you for sure, since it’s covered in camp knapsacks, sunscreen, junk mail, baseball caps and whatever else my son brings home from the Dollar Store, including a bubble maker, water guns and sticker books. I could open a day care in my TV room, thanks to the abundance of race tracks, toy cars, train track sets, action figures and all the other shit – I mean, toys – that have entered our house. No matter how much crap I get rid of, it only seems to double and then triple.
The other day I sat on the landing on the top of my stairs, between the first and second floor, which was a huge error of judgement on my part, because it gave me the opportunity to really look closely at my surroundings. I also wanted to cry then too.
I didn’t realize how many marks are now on my once serene white walls. Oh, how many times I’ve told my five year-old, ‘No driving your cars on the wall!’ He, apparently, has the attention span of a flea, so I find myself saying this about 46 times every day… and then 46 times the following day…and then, well, you get my point. My walls now have so many black tire stains on them, you’d think they were an actual race track.
My floor-to-ceiling windows are now covered in action figure decals. And my once beautiful black coffee table is also covered in animal stickers. Not only that, my son used DUCT tape to hang up his little dart board on the kitchen wall. I didn’t take it down because I knew, in my gut, the paint would come off too. I just stood there, staring at it, and thought, WHY THE HELL IS THERE A DART BOARD IN MY KITCHEN?
But it’s not just the children who have ruined my once clean and organized home. The dog often gets jealous when my son is getting too much attention. So how does my dog react? Well, he likes to pee and poo inside the house, like, ‘You Two-Legged idiots! Pay attention to me! And if you don’t, well, screw you, I’m going where I want, when I want.’ And he does. Even hiring a trainer didn’t help.
If you’re a dinosaur like me, you may remember visiting your great aunt and seeing plastic covering their sofas. Yup, no matter how awful it looked, I now get the whole old-fashioned, ‘Let’s bubble wrap every piece of furniture that I like so it won’t get damaged. Darn kids!’
I just want ONE nice thing. Is that really too much to ask for, when you have kids?
I know you’re likely thinking, ‘Why don’t you make rules and make your kids skateboard outside, or eat only in the kitchen, and wipe their dirty feet before they sit down for meals.’ Yes, I sometimes blame myself.
But here’s the thing: As much as I detest clutter and wheel marks on my walls and would love to have the couch pillows in the living room to be neatly lined up and not always be turned into a fort, I just as much enjoy the sounds of children running (or skateboarding) around the house.
I like that my son has playdates with ten other five year-olds at my house. I love when my daughter invites friends over and they don’t lock themselves in her room and they feel free to eat bags of chips on the couch while watching a movie.
The sounds of happy chatter and laughter far outweighs any materialistic furnishings I once had. I’m not exactly counting down the days until I can re-paint every single wall, and steam clean every single carpet and couch and not have children ruin them within the week. But a mom can dream, can’t she?
What’s the one piece of furniture you’ve kept safe, pre-kids?