When I think back to the time before I had kids, I can muster up a few faint images: the quiet breakfasts with my husband, the pristine hatchback in the driveway, and my nice, clean little house. Such a strange life now that I have a minivan full of kids, and a house equally full of chaos.
Thankfully, I prepared well for the craziness (“prepared” may be a strong word. “Got lucky” may be more appropriate). My main objective when preparing our house for our babies was that I didn’t want the toys and baby items spreading like osmosis through our entire home. I didn’t mind the occasional evidence that there were children in our house; I just wanted to make it clear that adults lived there as well. Here’s how we made it happen:
Storage Ottomans: Talk about your multifunction pieces! Storage ottomans not only effortlessly hide whatever you throw in them, they serve as great side tables, extra seating, and are literally made for putting your feet up. Extra bonus: They typically come padded and upholstered, so that’s one less thing you need to baby proof later.
Bring On The Drawers: With so many different shapes, sizes, and storage potential, dressers aren’t just bedroom furniture, particularly with kids in the house. A dresser by the front door is a great place to put shoes and store to-go items for the diaper bag. Place one in the family room to put toys, a diaper changing station, blankets, etc. Extra bonus: The tops of dressers are perfect for framed pictures of your growing family, and empty drawers make quick work of last minute cleaning.
Keep it Simple: While baby stores and registry services might tell you differently, babies (and their parents) don’t need that many things to be happy and healthy. By limiting the number of clothes, blankets, and toys you have, you’ll have an easier time reining everything in. Keep gift receipts and don’t remove tags unless absolutely necessary—return unused items for cash to fund other necessary items, like diapers. And the occasional glass of wine.
Lower your Expectations: Yes, this seems like a cop-out. However, when I was a new mom, this was the hardest part to come to terms with. I wanted it all—a happy, healthy baby, an immaculate home, and time to myself. If given a choice, though, the clean house was always scrapped. You can either embrace this or enlist help. There is no shame in either.
All in all, don’t over think it. Bringing a baby home, whether it’s for the first or the fourth time, is always an adventure that brings with it a new normal. Adapting and prioritizing is just part of the fun of being a parent. And don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of time to clean when the kids go to college.
When your kids were little, what housecleaning task did you trade in for sanity?