If you’re anything like me, you have a great deal of pride in your home. Each day I go to work, I feel lucky and blessed that I have an opportunity to help provide my kids with a safe, loving home. A home that will house our memories of birthdays, holidays, and all the stuff in between, and someday when we’re old and gray, we can look back fondly on the place where we made a life with our boys. When my wife and I bought our first house, we kept that place looking immaculate, and on most weekends, we’d spend a bit of time cleaning and organizing it so that it remained that way. This, of course, was BC (Before Children), and oh how our obsessive cleaning tendencies have pacified over the years.
About three years ago, we moved into a new house, and because of three growing little boys, the house has been an utter free-for-all ever since the day we moved in. I never imagined myself saying this, but living with two other guys in a college apartment was a far better experience than living with my little dirtballs. Quite recently, Michelle and I have tapped out. That’s it! No more! We have done the best we could for years, but we simply cannot fight the good fight anymore. While we still like to have our house generally clean for health reasons, we have given up on fixing and updating certain aspects of our home. Why? Because we wrongly named each of our boys when it comes to their middle names. All three of them should have the title “Destruction” attached somewhere to their full name.
As a result, I have put a list together of 8 things you should NOT consider fixing or updating in your home! Trust me, I get it. There’s so much my wife and I want to do to our house in order to make it look nicer or more livable, but at this point, as the holes in the walls continue to multiply, we simply don’t have the time, money, or patience for any more fixes or updates. At this point, lighting the money on fire and watching it burn would be a better use for it. Anything we choose to update or fix is destroyed by the fellas in such a short period of time. No matter how many conversations we have about respecting our home and having pride, it still happens. They don’t do it maliciously, and I don’t fault them for being kids. I have simply just learned to accept that my home will never be showcased in Better Homes and Garden. Fun fact about us. About a year ago, Michelle and I have started receiving that magazine subscription in the mail, and we never signed up for it. Either the magazine just knows we’re a wreck, or a family member is slipping us a clue. As both of us are naturally obsessed with organization, this idea of not worrying about the house was such a hard one for us to overcome; however, once we did, our stress levels started to diminish dramatically. Not to mention, it has saved us time and money! Hopefully, I can save you both of those valuable commodities too by reading this list:
The cushions in our house are so worn out that when you sit in them, it’s as if though you are falling into a tub of cotton candy. You sink so low to the bottom, that no matter what physical condition you are in, it is nearly impossible to get up without assistance. You could also implement the roll and fall technique, but this can sometimes lead to injuries, so we exhaust extreme caution and only utilize it when alone. How did the couches get this way? Years and years of normal use? Absolutely not! The cushions have been used as shields, trampolines, fort walls, and makeshift sleds. They’re ripped and stained, and I simply just cannot bring myself to spend money on a new set that will suffer a similar fate.
No matter how many times you ask them not to play hockey on the hardwood floors, the game will somehow find its way out of bounds from the tile in the kitchen and onto the living room oak. Scratches, gouges, and cracks now riddle several planks on our floors. After I spent seventy dollars the first time to have one repaired, I vowed I would never make that mistake again. The pristine flooring only lasted a month since it was fixed before a new victim felt the wrath of a forceful slapshot.
Holes. SO MANY HOLES IN OUR WALLS! By the time I am done patching one up, another three of them are born. It’s like playing a game of “whack-a-mole,” but instead, I am having a go at “patch-a-hole.” At this point, I’ve decided I’ll patch them eventually- perhaps just once a year. Maybe the whole family can celebrate Happy Patch Day and help out.
4. Toilet Paper Holder (Yes, you read that right)
“Tommy, the toilet paper holder is not part of the monkey bars! Stop hanging on that!”
CRACK! The holder tears away from the wall sending him backward, nearly missing his head on the toilet. A portion of the wall is now missing and the holder parts are torn to shreds and can’t be put back together. The kid is safe. No hospital trip. Consider it a victory. My wife has fixed this one twice already. Forget it! She’s done. Put the toilet paper on top of the toilet tank and call it a day.
5. Picture Frames
When the pictures fall off the wall and the frames break because of a stray ball or an impromptu wrestling bout, just get some painter’s tape and tape the photo back up. It will happen again, and unless you’re willing to get rubber frames without any glass, just let it go. Let it go.
6. The Patio Door
Unless you can find a company that has a lifetime warranty on accidents like we have, don’t plan on updating your door. Michelle opens the sliding door often to let out the stench of the boys in her life, and even though she has asked Joey not to press the kick lock down, he of course does. In a rush, and forgetting to check, she often slams that door shut, and in doing so, rips the kick lock off as the door slides along the track. This is likely the only update that has made sense for us because of that warranty. The company has been out four times to fix that lock at no charge. If you must update, do your research on warranties!
7. Ceiling Fans
Honestly, I suggest you just take these down if your kids find chaos as easily as mine do. Twirling and swirling lightsabers while in the midst of a ferocious battle will connect with and certainly deform those spinning blades of death. The unit will wobble, jump, and threaten the safety of everybody in the room below. Take cover and pray nobody loses an eyeball. If it breaks, don’t fix it. Let it be a reminder of a common saying that now haunts our house. “This is why we can’t have nice things!”
8. The Television
This one is hard for me. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I have a passion for movies and the whole experience attached to it. That obviously has translated into an obsession with television viewing at home, and most days, when I walk by the local Costco or Best Buy television aisle, I am lured closer and closer each time by the crisp, vibrant pictures of those exhilarating flatscreens. However, in the back of my head is a little voice. Don’t do it. Think of the little hand smudges that will taint that picture quality. Think of the possibility of a Wii or Switch remote flying straight through its center. Wait. Wait until they are older. It’s been ten years since we’ve bought a new television. Ugh! I don’t want to wait any longer!
It’s not easy putting your house on hold because you know certain aspects of it will inevitably be destroyed by the kiddos, but this is what we signed up for, right? I realized that in the past I was overly worried about how the house looked, and in doing so, I may have caused some anxiety about it for my kids. They don’t need that stress, and I don’t need it anymore either because as I mentioned before, it’s completely and utterly stupid to think that my house will be perfectly kept with three ravenous boys running around it. I am in no way saying let the house go completely, but what I am saying is to let the obsession go and appreciate the chaos. If somebody comes to my house and judges me for having toys littered across our living room or for being able to stick their finger through the drywall, that’s their problem. In the future, I’ll get to the plans I have for my house. But for now, I’ve learned to appreciate the handprints on the wall and the memories they possess. For example, whenever I am in our office, I look at the crayon drawings on the wall, smile, and remember Joey when he was toddling around as a one-year-old. It is what it is, and I’m okay with it now. I do have one bit of advice though as to what you should update if you need to.
1. Your Backyard
If you have one, make sure there’s plenty of grass for them to roll and run around in. Don’t let them in the house unless they have grass stains on their knees and mud on their faces. We’re currently in the process of taking out a crumbling patio and adding more grass for the boys to run free.
What updates have you done to your home? Have you had the same experiences as us? Please comment and share how you manage your home with kids!