This week, I was folding the washing and my brain registered a new sound. You know how it is as a parent – always in a state of high alert, always forward planning chores/meals/outings/nappy changes. Sounds come in and out of your consciousness without you really taking any notice, unless it’s a high pitched squeal, or your brain reminds you that you haven’t heard from your tot for some time and its time to check the damage.

So this new sound wasn’t particularly remarkable, and it was really quiet, so I didn’t think much of it. The kids were happy, after all!

I did, however, discover the origins of it when I carted the newly folded washing away. There, down my white wall (why did I ever think a white feature wall would be ok?)… a beautiful masterpiece drawn by one of my cherub-faced children.

I have to be honest – it perfectly matched the drawing on the opposite wall (green) drawn by his older brother the evening before. A friend suggested attaching frames over these wonderful art pieces and preserving them.

Instead, I gave the kids some baby wipes and in just a few short seconds, the walls were clean. (Though, it will never be white again). Baby wipes are amazing! Failing baby wipes, I recommend those Scotch erasers!

Keeping pens out of reach is actually extremely difficult – no matter how many times I try to collect them all and keep them under lock and key, a child will always find the red one I’ve forgotten!

This is the same story as to everything ‘nice’ I’ve created in our home. Beautifully hung wall decals are ripped… pretty display shelves are dismantled… curtains meet stray pairs of scissors (also hard to locate and lock away!).

We have some behaviourial issues in our house and with those come some wicked tantrums and meltdowns. This week, holes were smashed in the walls and several toys destroyed.

And this week, I really just felt like giving up. Why do I bother trying to make things nice for little people who neither care, nor appreciate it?

Let’s be honest, they don’t really care. They’d rather draw pretty pictures and smash playdough into the carpet, as long as they are fed, have clean clothes, get to play! And I am quite sure they would rather have extra cuddles with a Mummy who is not creating a magazine-worthy home, than listen to one screeching about how her walls have marks on them.

I love the cuddles, but then I sit there and start thinking about how I could arrange the books by size so the bookshelf looks nicer. Now, I am absolutely NOT bored, nor silly about meaningless things! I just desperately try to carve little slices of organised heaven in my very chaotic life, and sometimes a colour-coded DVD shelf does that for me.

I’m also not, by an stretch of the imagination, ridiculously house proud or pedantic. There re marks on walls, dust on shelves, fingerprints on windows, cobwebs on ceilings, toys on floors… and this doesn’t bother me, such is the nature of raising a happy busy family.

The bit that bothers me is the constant destruction. I concluded that since I like our home to have nice things, I’ll continue to replace wall decals each season. I have already bought new paint (we’re going to have a blue feature wall now).

Keeping a pretty house is not top priority when you’re raising boisterous active young people, but it feels important to be able to have nice things! And to be able to relax for five minutes without the house turning into a bombsite (again!). 

Does anyone else keep persisting in this thankless task – creating pretty rooms for unappreciative children?


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