A few weeks back, I needed a solution for some of our clutter. Specifically, I needed to reclaim some space for their clothes. It seems that, as they keep getting bigger, so do their pants and shoes. Go figure. I decided on wall hooks for hoodies and backpacks and lofting Shorty's bed to add drawers or shelf space. I didn't want to spend a fortune doing it, either.
It didn't seem too daunting at first.
One trip to the thrift store.
Two crafty little projects.
And, as it turned out, a whole lot of stewing, frustration, and mom guilt.
You see, we live in the Pinterest generation.
One quick internet search for DIY coat hooks, and you are bombarded with images of beautiful designs carefully painted and distressed to perfectly compliment any decor.
And check out a few of the DIY kid's loft bed suggestions.
It seems we have added a whole new dimension of competition and judgey-ness to motherhood.
As if it weren't bad enough already, comparing children's behavior, activities, and accomplishments with each other, we now have social media dedicated to making us feel like our furniture, parties, decorations just don't stack up to the standard. It is no longer enough to buy a bed frame and a set of Holly Hobbie sheets for your kid's room, and use an old dresser to store their clothes (as was the case with my childhood room). Now you must find a free wooden pallet or two and transform them into a personalized headboard. If you are lucky enough to have that hand-me-down dresser, you've just saved yourself days searching thrift shops for the perfect item. However, you can't just use it as is. You must sand it and paint it. Then distress it, because it can't look new. You need to put new hardware on it, too. Maybe even decoupage something on the drawers to add some interest or texture.
We have bought into this idea that we are somehow less successful as a wife or a mother if our house isn't some wonderland of perfectly coordinated DIY items.
So my little plan to add more space and organization began to feel oppressive to me.
Between cleaning the house, doing laundry for 5, cooking 3 meals a day, homeschooling 3 bright and active boys, and finding time for the hubby, I barely had time to shower. How was I going to find time to create these amazing pieces to add to the boys' room?
Could I skip a shower for a month, cut out some of my play time with the kids and quality couple time to get it done?
I drew a line in the sand.
I let the boys paint the coat hook any way they wanted while I figured out how to get some storage out of Shorty's bed.
It's so crazy, but it's so them. They owned it, and it makes them happy. Plus they got some great bonding in while they collaborated on the design. You aren't going to find this on any idea boards or in any design magazines, but I don't care. Why does everything have to coordinate, anyway?
And for the loft bed design, I found a bench, an end table, some shelves, and some small craft pallets (from the store, NOT repurposed -- gasp) to help with extra height where needed. I got some spray paint when I was still thinking about making it look Pinterest-worthy, but I haven't used it.
The boys begged me to leave a "doorway" so they could have a secret hideout under the bed. It's their favorite feature...and I didn't even have to make it look like a real door or clubhouse. There's a hole where you can peek out through one of the pallets, and they call it their "mailbox." They don't want me to change what the internet would consider a design flaw.
I was able to get it all done while they painted the coat hooks. It was so fast...and imperfect...and not coordinated with the rest of their bedroom.
And not once have they asked me to change it so that it is.
Come to think of it, they haven't asked me why their dresser is the same color it was when it was part of my granny's bedroom suite. They haven't asked me to give their room some sort of theme. They don't feel like their lives are lacking anything because I didn't even bother to take the labels off the jelly jars that hold their craft supplies or why their toys and supplies sit on plastic storage shelves instead of cute painted and papered ones. They actually kind of like the fact that their marker bucket is just a free plastic container left over from a few Halloweens ago and there is an old green and pink Easter basket holding the glitter glue.
In fact, they have never once asked me to spend more time sanding and painting, coordinating and decorating their room so that we can post some pictures to Facebook and see how many "likes" we get or how many people compliment us on our decorating skills.
What they HAVE asked me to do is to spend more time with them. To play games. To run races. To cuddle up and read a book. To have a family movie night. To go bowling. To look them in the eye and give them my full attention.
So if you want to spend your time searching for your next project on social media, executing it, and then posting the results to social media...you go right ahead.
As for me, I'm just not interested.
I'm going to go play soccer.