I like a tidy house.
Who doesn’t? The real question is how hard is it for you to get there … when you have children of a certain age?
Some people enjoy the process. Some people hire out the chore. Some people have children that aren’t yet old enough to have an opinion about their space. I’ve been watching all of you.
I see all of the wide open spaces you’ve been able to create throughout your home by minimizing the stuff. I want to ask you this: “How do you get your children to buy in?” or “Are you just taking pictures of the rooms where you have control?”
When I was pregnant with my now nine year-old, I took such joy in decorating her room. I didn’t know who she would be, but I tried to plan for everything – which meant not doing too much. The decor was minimal, unisex and intentional. I went for calm and open. Besides making me feel happy, the intent was to give her the room to grow into who she was going to be.
Welp. She’s a hoarder.
To be fair, I don’t think this condition is uncommon (from what I can gather) and I don’t think she meets the technical, psychological definition of an actual hoarder … but it’s close enough for me. Her room gives me hives.
I understand that the nature of this internet beast is that you’re going to read this and think what you’re going to think. However, you should know this:
1. My daughter is nine. When she was younger, she had far less stuff. More time = more stuff, that’s just how it goes. When you have the only grandchildren on both sides, they get STUFF.
2. My daughter is emotionally attached to her stuff. ALL of it. The dust jacket of a book? It’s her FAVORITE. The broken pencil with horses on it? She got that from her best friend when she was seven. That friend moved away and this is the ONLY THING she has to remember her by, MOM.
3. I’ve tried Marie Kondo’s way and invested HOURS with her going through every item in that room. I think my daughter is the only one that could beat her at her own game. Does this spark joy, dear? “Yes, mom.” EVERYTHING sparks joy. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. She could totally take Marie. They’re about the same size.
4. For years of their lives, I ran a military-style clean-up at bedtime. No one got into the bed until their room was “clean” and passed MY muster. What happened, you ask? HOMEWORK. Who has time for cleaning in the evening when you’re doing homework or studying until almost 9:00pm?
5. My children play with their toys.
I need a solution, y’all. My how-little-can-we-live-with-because-I-need-all-of-this-space attitude is in direct opposition to the way my daughter is carrying on. It’s her room, but it’s MY HOUSE. I fear there will be many tears shed in the quest for happiness. I hope we both survive this.
Before she was born, she was a part of me. Not for lack of better terminology but because I really like to put it this way, I OWNED HER. When she took her own breaths, I got to dress her HOW I WANTED. Nine years in, things have drastically changed. The transition wasn’t a smooth one for us and we’re working on that, so I try to choose my battles. That new rug I thought she’d love in her room? SHE DOESN’T WANT IT. (It’s in the garage in the wrapping, y’all.)
We do draw the line though – all of that has to stay in HER room. I get to enjoy the wide, open spaces in the rest of the house while I wait … to see if the correctly chosen battles eventually win me the war.