Damn you…catalogues and showrooms!

I wouldn't care about my furniture if I just had THAT VIEW through the windows!

I wouldn’t care about my furniture if I just had THAT VIEW through the windows!


While tidying up in the living room yesterday, it occurred to me that when couples decide to have children, they should be given this valuable piece of advice, in an emphatic tone of voice:

First, take a photo of every pristinely styled room in your home. File the photos under ‘The Good Ole Days’.  Next, sign a reasonably long lease (think 18 years) on a storage unit large enough to put all the nice things you own into. Once the ink is dry on the paperwork, scurry on over to the local thrift store,  and pick out replacement furnishings. The shabbier the better. Don’t spend a lot of money, as you will likely be beggingperhaps even paying someone from this very establishment to pick these items up again in a few years looking much worse for their wear. Under no circumstances should they be considered “investment pieces”. Next, haul everything back to your house, arrange it in the space and get used to the way it looks, feels and smells. Close your eyes and envision it more tattered and broken in. Imagine it if  you allowed a bunch of chimpanzees to express their artistic creativity on it using food as their medium. Oh, and black Sharpies and glitter glue too….for flair. Do you have a visual? Good. Dump a load of Pop-Tart wrappers, popsicle sticks, Capri Sun straws and Cheerios all over it. Now open your eyes and welcome yourselves to the furnishings and decor you will have during your life with small children and preteens. Don’t worry, eventually you will be able to get your real stuff out of storage and have your dream home again. Probably just in time for your grandchildren to enjoy 🙂  

If we’d known then, what we know now. So very cliché’, but oh so true.

My point is, I always thought when I married and had children my home would, at any given moment, look as if it had been staged by the decorators at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware and smell like Yankee Candles threw up in it. I should also add that my delusion included a perfectly organized home office, a kitchen worthy of a Crate & Barrel Hall of Fame Award, and a playroom resembling the offspring if a LakeShore Learning Store and a Toys R Us had an affair. However, as I gazed upon my house today, in all its lived-in, messy glory, I realized if anyone ever asks, I’ll need to tell them I drew my inspiration from John Belushi and hired the set dresser from Animal House to be my right hand man on this project just to save face. Really.

I’m convinced my delusion stems from the fact that I grew up in a 100 plus year-old house with a mama who didn’t seem to believe that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and welcomed clutter with arms as open as the Statue of Liberty beckoning for the “tired, hungry and poor” of the world, bless her heart. As you can imagine, I was terribly embarrassed by my house, always opting to go to a friend’s instead of hosting a gathering at home. In my estimation, all of my friends had cleaner, nicer homes, in better parts of town, filled with newer, shinier things. When I was in high school, my middle sister had a perfectly clean, new home in a gorgeous country club neighborhood and I yearned to go and live with her and my brother-in-law. Now in my adulthood, I understand it had nothing to do with the house at all, and everything to do with the plethora of other reasons I avoided playdates at home at all costs. But that is a post for

a different day. Anyway, as my story goes, I grew to hate clutter and filth, secretly vowing to have a home one day that was the absolute antithesis of the one where I grew up. A girl can dream, right? If you read the first paragraph, you know my house clearly does not live up to my delusion. Turns out, I’m a crappy housekeeper, and I enjoy building Jenga-like sculptures with laundry baskets full of clean, yet unfolded clothes on my bedroom floor. Right now, there are 9 baskets in all. It’s quite a spectacle. I just can’t seem to find the time to fold and put the clothes away once they have been washed. (Another one of those tidbits people should be told before having children: YOU WILL HAVE NO TIME TO ACCOMPLISH MUNDANE TASKS IN A TIMELY MANNER)

What I didn’t realize while growing up, is that Mama was hoarding memories. Thinking back, my childhood home read like the scrapbook of our lives. Especially the lives of my older siblings. They left their marks throughout the castle. And amongst all that clutter were family treasures: the little, stainless steel cup by the bathroom sink, the blue ceramic vase thingy that held pencils and pens by the telephone, the napkin holder that said “no matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best”. Everything I just listed has its own little spot in my home, along with our own family “treasures” that have been dragged from house to house over the course of 13 years. I’m mostly okay with it all. But it’s taken some time.

Occasionally, I become possessed by the gods of OCD, and spend a couple of days on a cleaning jag, frantically trying to organize things, scrubbing toilets, dusting trinkets and folding laundry. During these times, I try to guilt, and/or bribe the girls into helping instead of playing because I have decided their rooms should be certified as “disaster areas”.  After lots of protesting (from them) and threats (from me) they usually oblige. Notice I said occasionally, which is code for “almost never”. Admittedly, a good thing for all. Otherwise, no fun would ever be had by anyone. Everyday I have to remind myself that the people who care about me, will come visit anyway and feel right at home, and I should never be embarrassed. Those who examine the props instead of the talent will not be invited back to the show. Or perhaps never invited in the first place if I suspect they might turn out to be a jerk about it. This unfairly weeds a lot of people out I’m afraid, and often hinders my girls’ ability to have friends over. My girls aren’t the least bit embarrassed by their home. Because there is nothing wrong with it, and I know this. In fact, it’s quite beautiful, located in a safe, clean neighborhood with fantastic public schools (a major plus in Los Angeles). The stupid insecurities are mine.  (A FINAL TIDBIT I WISH I’D BEEN TOLD: If you actually knew how often people think of you, you’d realize how seldom they do. Give it up….enjoy life’s party and the children who provide the confetti.) 

I’m working on that. Promise.


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  1. This is why we can’t have nice things!!!

  2. Love it! I will try to think like you today when I’m picking up all their CONFETTI! XO

  3. Absolutely, one hundred percent true story. My kids are gone to school all day and I still fight not to have a house worthy of Hoarders.

  4. Funny – I was just thinking, “I should really clean the bathrooms”. But The Kid isn’t napping and that’s obviously not going to happen. It’s hard for me to let housecleaning slide because I grew up in a household that was always pristine and, truthfully, I like it to be that way. But I hate knick knacks. My mother collects all kinds of things, and I cant’ stand the clutter. I like nothing to be on the countertops.

    But you’re right – no one thinks about us as often as we think they do!!

    Awesome post, my dear!

    • Thanks!!! And I often look around and have the urge to scream at the mess. Until I realize that won’t help clean it up. I need a clone of myself who does nothing but clean, and satisfy The Man’s urges when I’m too tired :-))

  5. Love it! And I love not caring! And I live other people that live in reality! Ahh… Freedom! Great article!

  6. confetti – PERFECT analogy! unfortunately, my kids confetti currently comes in the form of stickers all over my hardwood floor. some of them have been there so long now you can’t even make out which cartoon character they used to be. Not one bit of OCD in me. 🙂

  7. This is so true! Although our furniture is literally falling apart, the thought of replacement sickens me. I wonder, “Why the hell did I put that hideous blue striped thing with the tears and the rips on the curb with a “Free” sign on it? I could totally use that right now”. And then, “Why the hell did we purchase custom designed WHITE furniture when we KNEW we were pregnant?”. Why? ’cause we’re stupid. Having been a neat freak BC, and now just being happy if the kids don’t have fifth literally coating their feet, I feel kind of like a victorious failure. My kids have it made, which rocks. My dignity and pride, however are shot. Luckily, I surround myself with people who love me and my house no matter how messy. I had to make those people myself, but I think that is just the way God intended it 😉
    Great post!

  8. running mama says

    OMGosh, perfect timing. I was bummed I was too busy to get through all the post yesterday, but as I walked out the door this morning I wondered what had happened to my home. It went from cluttered to pig sty 🙁 LOL! Loved this post

  9. Love this….Where is Hiney’s cookie jar? I can literally close my eyes and drift back to your house, actually it’s a nice day dream for me!

Give it to me straight. I can take it :-)

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