Does a current design dilemma have you disgruntled? You’re not alone! Featured in our August Family Homes issue, mom blogger Lela Davidson of After the Bubbly shares her own struggles with finishing out her children’s spaces—and shows that, for busy moms with growing kids, happiness and comfort can be found in a work-in-progress too. Take a moment to read her witty story below.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I scoffed at friends’ designer nurseries—their carefully coordinated bedding, crib bumpers and diaper caddies. I deemed them commercial, expensive and unnecessary. All I remembered about my own childhood bed was putting my pillow to the head or foot of it on alternating nights. Plus, my mental capacity was tapped with studying the shelf full of books promising to teach me the magic formulas to get my baby to sleep through the night and cause him to nurse only during my non-working hours. It was on a quest for the ideal stroller that I caved to the pastoral charm of Peter Rabbit and his pals—the kittens, the badgers! I left the Big Box Baby Mart with two hundred dollars worth of cotton and batting and a whimsical border—remember those?
Decorating is not my “thing.” When I found out my blog, After the Bubbly, would be featured in the August issue of At Home in Arkansas, I thought it must be a mistake. Not only do I not blog about decorating, I’m also pretty sure there are a few posts out there about my marked lack of talent in this area. It’s not that I don’t want my spaces to be homey and inviting—who doesn’t? I like to buy flowers and accessories, but matching solids and patterns makes me dizzy. I can choose the right color throw, but “throwing” it seems to require a doctorate in physics. Give me the infinite combinations of furniture, fabric, and the indecipherable subtleties of paint chips and I am paralyzed. Every time I try to tackle an entire room at once, I feel my head threatening to explode into a zillion pieces. If that happens we’ll have to repaint and then we’re back to those cursed paint samples.
In addition to being home decor-challenged, I’m also a bit of a control freak. Designers with their books and swatches make me squirrelly. And I’m frugal, thrifty even. (Why does fabric trim cost more than actual fabric?) However, what truly dooms my decorating endeavors is my fear of commitment. Oh sure, I’ve been married for sixteen years, but I rarely wear the same shirt for an entire day. (Incidentally this is the same reason I’ll probably never get a tattoo.) Furniture is a big deal. A sofa is not just a place to watch Real Housewives marathons; it’s a ten-year commitment. Tastes change, fabrics change, and what if it’s not really that comfortable once I’ve settled in with my feet up and my laptop on my lap?
Which brings me to the kids’ rooms. That seems like a project I can handle. Never mind that kids spaces are the most difficult to decorate. All those moving variables! What’s the perfect color to take a girl from age six through sixteen? Is it pink? Is it lilac? Is it chocolate? My children live upstairs in what I call the Children’s Suite—their own floor complete with private bathrooms and a playroom. Except it’s not really a â€œplayâ€ room anymore with dollhouses and coloring books. Now they use it to master Guitar Hero, watch iCarly, and plot my demise and subsequent disposition of assets.
Still, I delude myself with the fantasy: if I could just get the upstairs done!
My daughter turned ten this summer. I haven’t finished decorating her room yet. It’s mostly done, but I can’t seem to tie it in a bow. There is a mirror on the wall that has holes where you’re supposed to weave some lovely-hued grosgrain in an artful way. Or you can do what I did and put some remnant ribbon you had lying around and then just leave it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m at peace with my somewhat-put-together house overall and the it’ll-probably-never-be-FINISHED-finished Children’s Suite. Home decor is really about comfort and warmth. Nothing makes me feel fuzzier than seeing my daughter asleep in her almost decorated room, cuddled up in the bedding that cost more than my first car, head on a polka dotted pillow—at the foot of her bed.
Lela Davidson’s award winning essays appear in magazines throughout the country. She is the Editor of ParentingSquad.com and the parenting columnist on http://www.hubpages.com. Read more at AfterTheBubbly.com.
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