I can get a bit manic about my house. There may be half-completed home improvement projects around every corner, but I'm still somehow compulsive about keeping it tidy. When you're a stay-at-home mom, your house is your construction site, relaxation zone and office cubical, all rolled into one. Keeping it clear provides a portal to sanity.
Yes, a floor plan free of debris is my current aesthetic ambition. But there was a time when HGTV was my favorite station and my Pinterest decor boards were meticulously curated. The dreams are still alive, but for the time being, I simply have to divert my eyes... from gorgeous and impractical dining rooms, restaurant-grade chef kitchens, and perfectly adorned bookshelves. I simply don't have the time or money to pull it off.
But do I want all that? Truly? If I could trade in my 1976 colonial for a slice of Room & Board heaven, would I? The temptation would be great, but I don't think I could pull the trigger.
My dear, dear (did I say dear?) friend Heather Klaus and I are much the same in this regard. We can commiserate 'til the cows come home about our home crisis du jour, but when push comes to shove, we aren't budging an inch from our already green pasture. Here's Heather's crew - my girls' playground playmates, Dan's mountain bike buddy, my wine time and crit group companion...
You may recall Heather's hilarious post last summer, Ode to My Minivan. If so, you know you're in for a treat. Enjoy this slice-of-mom-life post...
In Heather's words...
Welcome to our house! Our living, breathing house.
Watch your step as you come on in. Clearly a centipede lives here! Shoes in every size and shape are strewn about our entryway. Go ahead, step on over that rug with bits of grass and sidewalk chalk caked right in.
In our living room you'll find a comfy couch with a sag to one side where we do our best snuggling. The throw pillows are always, well... thrown. Today you'll see they've become tuffets for our tea party. And over there is the art table, littered with a variety of mixed media. (A shout out to the small tree who gave her life to be this stack of printer paper. If she's amused by kiddo “masterpieces,” her life was not in vain.)
Come on around the corner. There's the bathroom on the left (which might need a wipe down… my 4-year-old human sprinkler just exited stage right). Down the hall is the art wall, layered with colorful giraffes and beach landscapes, abstract self-portraits, and abstract... abstracts. And scribbles that my son calls race-tracks.
And… here's our kitchen. Didn't I just vacuum this floor? Those crumbs, they seem to multiply, don't they? The kitchen counter holds a trough of fresh fruit, which we seem to go through at the speed of light. The panty is filled with healthy things... and plenty of snacks that I swore up and down I would never buy. There on the corner is the stack of papers that need my attention... right next to the coffee maker. Fitting. Please take no notice of the stained ring in the butcher block, brought to you by the can of Resolve that sat there overnight after the episode of Pukesville, car seat edition.
Our Family Room is here in the back, with a fireplace, trampoline (er, couch), and stash of stuffies and toys that I keep trying to weed down. If I squint a bit I can still see this room transformed one rainy April week into an entire city - constructed of blue painters-tape roads, a wooden train monorail, and match box cars. Kids love a solid parking lot.
Up the stairs are three open doors leading to what used to be empty rooms when we first moved in. They now lead to Sweet Baby Nursery (that possibly smells like a barnyard), Princess Polar Bear Cave and Super Cat's Lair. The other door has a king-sized bed where kittens and midnight-zombie-strolling children think the proper position for sleeping is catty-wompus.
Someday the basement will probably need a ping-pong or pool table and a TV for R-Rated movies snuck in under our noses. But not today. Today its décor includes a giant fort using every single clean sheet and blanket in the house, a rack of old Halloween and dance recital costumes and super hero capes in every color of the rainbow. And Every. Lego. On. Planet. Earth.
Some days our house feels overwhelmingly claustrophobic with stuff and chaos and noise. The chorus of “MOM!” sung incessantly, demanding immediate attention. The tears, ears and rears that need constant wiping. The turning up of noses when you've spent a good amount energy on a new recipe. The battles waged into baths and beds. The sheer amount of crap that you amass when it's a cold Chicago winter and you can't play outside for way too long, or when it’s a warm spring day and the only way to make it to dinner includes a trip into the sand pit.
But not today. As I pour myself a glass of wine while those little cherubs are snug in their beds, my heart is full to the brim with gratefulness for our space where we LIVE. Our living, breathing, growing-with-us home.
So funny, so warm, so true. Sounds like someone I know... Thank you for sharing this perspective-shifting post, Heather!