Final Advice

Our Work | October 24, 2010

I just have to say that I have been overwhelmed with the great response this series has gotten. Thank you to everyone who commented, everyone who blogged about it and a special thank you to all the contributors!
I have learned so much this week. I feel the most important thing I’ve learned is that kids are hard and sometimes they mess up your house but they are so so so worth it. Each day I am going to take a deep breath and remember that my time with my sweet baby boy is more important than anything. I want to enjoy every moment of him and not worry so much about the little things. 
I asked the contributors to share some final nuggets of wisdom with us to end the week. 
Magic eraser folks…I use it at least every other week.  Did I mentions lots of baskets to hide things on the fly?:-)
– Christina Brian Full House  
My children love seeing their artwork displayed. I think every home should have a space dedicated to displaying children’s art. It’s just so happy to look at, isn’t it?
– Danyelle Mathews  Dandee Designs  
Not only have your children wash their hands before they eat, but after!! It is amazing how effective this is…when they don’t wash up afterwards I’ve witnessed how amazingly fast the sofa gets decorated with peanut butter and jelly!
– Janell Beals Isabella and Max Rooms  
My experience in my five years of motherhood is that it is all about control with kids.  If you give children choices and make them feel like they have a place in your home where they can be a kid, they are much more likely to respect the things that you tell them not to touch.
– Krista Salmon Kiki’s List 
My greatest piece of advice is to hold onto your mornings and evenings.As a family, we always clean up and put away  toys and “kid” stuff before the children go to bed. So at the end of the evening, my husband and I can enjoy our space. I can fluff the pillows and enjoy the spaces we have worked hard to design. Likewise, when I get up in the morning and make my coffee I can enjoy the well put together house before it gets crazy. It helps me to accept and appreciate the chaos that is our day! I can let it go. I can organize and put all the systems in the world in place, but children bring a whole “new design” to the table. Embrace it. 
– Courtney Fernan A Thoughtful Place
If you’re living life with little kids, learn to love the chaos that is your home.  My motto I live by is that I can have a clean house (i.e. we clean the bathroom, kitchen, etc.) but I can never have a tidy house.  There is always going to be stuff everywhere.  Art projects, books, dirty underwear…you name it.  It’s taken me a long time, and often I digress and can’t handle the mess, but I am so much happier when I just embrace the fact that this is my life right now.  Having a clean and picked up home is not important to me.  Having a home that my children remember as being fun, is important to me.
Kids are so full of energy and joy. If you allow that to enter your house even in decor it can make such a happy environment. For instance, I got some chalkboard wall decals and let my son draw his little artwork on them. They are such sweet reminders that I love getting to see day to day. 
– Anna Liesemeyer  In Honor of Design 
It’s worth a little extra money to buy the swing and bouncy seat in an unoffensive pattern. Trust me, you’ll look at it for a long time – and there really are some attractive baby items out there today. If you keep it in good condition, you’ll also be able to recoup some of your investment by reselling it – or you can just pass it on to someone who will appreciate it.
I love the IKEA Trofast system for toy organization. I put Polaroids on each bin so that my boys would learn what toys go in which bin.
The KABOOST portable chair booster let me get rid of high chairs and booster seats earlier than I would have been able to otherwise – and feel as though I had reclaimed my breakfast area.
Use a fabric protectorant. There’s a great company in my area who will treat just about anything – and let me tell you, it is worth the money. One client had her muddy Lab – who is not allowed on the furniture – jump into and sleep on a recently recovered cream-khaki-celadon striped chair. It was disastrous! Fortunately, we had had the chair treated – and every last bit of mud came out.
If you are having throw pillows made, get them with a zipper so you can remove the cover for cleaning. Like it or not, spit up happens!
Lastly, learn to laugh – and just enjoy it for what it is. We are all just parents, doing the best we can to raise these wonderful little people. I’m not perfect, and they won’t be either. Accidents happen – but as long as we are healthy and happy, that’s all that really matters. Just don’t ask me how I feel immediately after my mirrored nesting tables get shattered!
Enjoy your children! Because  my husband experienced infertility I adore seeing toys and even little messes because they mean I finally havce children by the grace and perfect timing of God. I actually really think toys and childrens clothes and things are adorable. Not the plastic junk but a wooden train set, a classic pea coat or children’s book, a classic animal. It’s good stuff! 
” Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So, quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep! I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep!” A dear friend shared this with me and it is so good to remember to enjoy every moment!
Leah Hill  The Way We Are
Embrace the fact that kids live in your house and make it a design focus! Frame their best pieces of art, paint a wall in chalkboard paint, use bright and fun colors and patterns that your kids will enjoy too. I like to keep a bottom drawer in my kitchen full of fun things for my crawling baby to pull out and play with while I’m doing the dishes. Buy beautifully designed baby gear (high chairs, toys, gliders, baby bouncer seats, night-lights, stools) and avoid character products. Just because you have children doesn’t mean you need to see Dora or Pooh Bear all day long!
Thanks everyone!