BEFORE you have children, you might naively think becoming a parent won’t change you or your life.
Your house will still be so clean and tidy (because you have all that time off work to keep it in order) that guests won’t even be able to tell there’s a baby there.
Of course you won’t be buying many toys – babies don’t need them! And anything you’re given as a gift will be tidily put away in baby’s room when it’s not being used.
Yep, that was my dream too. This, however, is the reality…
The Living Room:
The frontline of Santi’s mission of destruction.
Milk, porridge, Calpol – the settee has seen them all. There are no more ways of flipping the cushions to hide the stains, and no telling what you’ll find underneath.
Within half an hour of getting up, the floor is covered with books, toys and whatever else Santi has decided to drag out … and it’ll remain that way until bedtime because it’s just not worth the effort of putting the same things away 10 times a day.
All corners of the room are now used for storage – one for Santi’s book box, another where we fling his washing to save trekking upstairs every time he spills something down his top, and, of course, the dreaded toy corner. This is where we “tidy” Santi’s things at the end of the day, and find things that really shouldn’t be in there (a Costa takeaway cup was Santi’s highlight). Don’t venture in there if you value your life.
If we really try hard, it is possible to make the living room look half decent – or for the purposes of Instagram, you can just hide all the mess behind you. Look – a spotless room!
The Middle Room:
Once proudly called the nautical room due to our careful decorating … now more of a show room for baby vehicles. On the wooden floorboards we painstakingly painted white one summer are parked a pram, buggy and trike because they’re simply too big to store anywhere else.
The floor is now occasionally washed by wiping up spilled bubble liquid, and I can’t remember what disaster befell the rug, but it is no more.
The cabinet I optimistically bought and chalk painted a lovely blue has limited time as Santi has developed a habit of bashing the glass doors, and the coffee table which was moved to the corner for safety has been replaced with a wigwam. To be fair, the wigwam is pretty cool, and has probably improved the room!
The Dining Room:
Remember when I said we wouldn’t be buying many toys, especially big ones, or ones that make a lot of noise? Yeah, feel free to hit me.
The dining room was for a few months home to the Jumparoo, which I was sucked into buying (thankfully only for £30 on eBay). It was so big you had to squeeze past it to get through the door, and even on the quiet setting could drive you mad.
When Santi got bored of it (or realised he couldn’t cause havoc while strapped in), we happily dismantled it and shoved it under the stairs … where it still lives now.
The only problem is, without the distraction of the Jumparoo you can actually see the dining table, which tends to have abandoned cups of tea, and dried food engrained into it. Have you ever tried to wipe up spilled Weetabix?! It would give cement a run for its money in stickability.
The chic wooden high chair we chose for Santi is now slightly multicoloured as he’s been having fun with felt pens … maybe a not-so pleasing to the eye, but wipeable plastic chair would have been more sensible.
While I was pregnant we decided to refurbish the bathroom, and paid over the odds for a shiny new suite, metro tiles and a lovely slate effect floor.
What nobody warned us was that having a shower is now a safety hazard due to the rubber ducks, balls and toys that have taken residence in our snazzy freestanding bath.
The hero in this story. Since having Santi we’ve had to make some changes so he can go out to play without risking his life. It took forever, but now we have a patio and decking, and being out the back is actually something we can enjoy.
Just don’t tell Stew we put the paddling pool on his beloved grass…
So, if you’re not yet fortunate enough to have had a child’s touch on your home, I’d be careful of insisting that things won’t change. And if I can offer a word of advice: Invest in as much storage as you can … because as much as you might long for your formerly magazine-worthy minimalist home, you won’t throw any of baby’s things away “just in case”…
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