Yesterday evening, I was trying to get my daughter to swimming on time. I had packed her into the car with a few minutes to spare, sat in the driver’s seat, closed the door, and hit the ignition, which didn’t work. I was confused for a moment, until I realized my actual car keys were sitting by the front door. I told my daughter to hold tight while I ran inside, and in that brief moment, the scene I saw was like a microcosm of my current life:
Our kitchen floor was covered with shattered glass. My husband stood looking at me with a pained expression on his face, and my 2-year-old son held out his sister’s purse to me. “He swung the purse over his head in the kitchen and it knocked your favourite (glass) mug off the counter,” my husband said. I sighed, turned around, and walked out the front door.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
I see images of beautiful homes on Facebook and Instagram, and many of these homes contain children. Children who are still young, like mine are. How is it possible for these parents to maintain pretty things? Do they constantly replace them, as they get broken? Are there areas the kids aren’t allowed to play in? Is there some parenting secret I’m missing out on, here?
I was raised in a home with lots of knick knacks. I don’t remember them being at eye height when I was little, but I also know for a fact that I was an easy child, by my parents’ standards. Being an only child was just another bonus for them, in terms of how crazy things got around the house. Two kids under six is a level of activity I was seriously not prepared for.
In recent memory, we have broken three French presses, 5 wine glasses, 2 mugs, 2 pieces of decorative pottery, several plants, and a music box that was given to me 30+ years ago. Not all of these moments of destruction were directly caused by my kids; usually they were indirectly caused, due to their being underfoot at the wrong time. I knew having two kids would be a challenge on many levels, but being an only child really didn’t prepare me for the destruction.
My kids want to know all the things. They want to see all the things. They want to touch all the things. I’m currently growing a vegetable garden from seed, and like many parts of Canada, need to start the plants indoors until the Victoria Day weekend. My son is now old enough that I can trust him not to eat the soil, but the number of times he has almost pulled an entire tray of new seedlings down off the counter, in an effort to look at them, has made me question my sanity.
That said, I know plenty of people with two or more kids who have nice things in their homes. At least, I think they have nice things. Maybe they’re a little frayed around the edges, too. Maybe I’m not actually paying close attention to my friends’ home decor, because I’m enjoying being with them. And maybe that’s the key.
So perhaps it’s not that I can’t have nice things in my home. Perhaps it’s that the things in my home aren’t what matter at all; it’s the people. And if those people happen to break a few of my nice things along the way, I’ll shrug instead of getting upset.
Most of the time.