We’ve all seen her on Instagram: she’s the mom who does it all. Her hair is curled, she drinks green smoothies and her kids all wear coordinated-but-not-matching outfits. And her house? Oh, that place is also perfect. Everything magically stays white in spite of the kids running around. It’s shabby chic and it stays that way all day long.
And then, there’s me.
I always pictured myself becoming the mom I described above, the one whose house looked great no matter how many kids she added to her brood. But, now that I’ve actually become a mom, I’ve realized that’s not my aesthetic at all. At. All.
Instead, I’m going with a “lived-in” vibe from now until my kids go to college. Here’s why.
I Have a Lot Going On
You might have heard, but, just in case you haven’t, I’m going to let you in on a little secret—moms are busy. Whether you have an infant or a preschooler or both, there’s just a lot to do. During the first month of my baby’s life, I was feeding her a dozen times a day. That will taper off, but the other responsibilities—everything from playing to changing diapers to cleaning spit-up to rocking my baby to sleep—will continue to be there.
Then, of course, there are the non-baby things I have to do. My preschooler keeps me running around like crazy. When I can finally get both girls down for a nap, I spend those hours working. Did I mention that I also work in this very lived-in home? The last thing on my list is to decorate my Pennsylvania home. And we all know what happens to the last thing on the to-do list—it never gets done. And I’m okay with my house being imperfect for now.
There’s No Use in Perfection
My baby is currently immobile. In a few months she’ll be old enough for tummy time and then I can look forward to her crawling, walking and wreaking havoc house-wide just like my older girl does while I’m trying to work. If I had a perfect home, the future of two little girls running around would only damage all of that carefully curated cuteness.
Let’s face it—kids are messy. They throw up, they have accidents, they spill their sippy cups. They grab markers and draw on every surface. Crumbs fall out of their mouths and into crevasses that the vacuum may or may not be able to reach. Sure, I can learn how to remove stains from my sofa, but how many times can a beautiful piece of furniture withstand that type of trauma? In my opinion, I’m better off with the basics so I can worry less about what will happen to it throughout the next 18 or so years.
I Don’t Need the Stress
Another big thing that comes with motherhood is stress. It’s not a problem that affects only moms—according to a 2017 Gallup poll, 79 percent of Americans said they felt stress sometimes or frequently throughout the day. So, there are a lot of us who experience this on a regular basis, considering more than 325 million people live in this country.
But, of course, once I gave birth to my first girl, my stress multiplied. I now have to worry not only about myself and her but also about the helpless little human in my charge. Is she crying weirdly? What does it mean? Does she have a fever? Is she still breathing in the middle of the night? These are all thoughts that race through my mind all day long and I am doing all I can to assuage them by reminding myself we’re all okay.
With this in mind, I know that my lived-in house is the perfect place for me to raise my children. I don’t feel like I need the added stress of maintaining an aesthetically pleasing design scheme. Plus, I’d worry about my girls damaging the furniture and accessories I had so thoughtfully chosen for each room. Like—to every mom with a glass coffee table—how do you not have a panic attack every day? I don’t think I want to spend my time stressing over decor when I’m already anxious enough about the responsibilities of motherhood.
I Kind of Like It Anyway
Finally—and maybe most importantly—I like the way my imperfect house looks. It might not be Instagram-worthy, but my home is the first place where my husband and I lived post-wedding. It’s where I stared in complete shock at a positive pregnancy test. And it’s where I very carefully carried both my girls through the front door for the first time. In other words, it’s special to me, no matter how it looks.
I’d like to think my lived-in vibe welcomes everyone into our home and tells them they can relax here. We’re proud of our place and we keep it clean in the hygienic way, but we also don’t care if things get a little bit messy. And, as a mom and a woman who works from home, I know that they will—so I’m just going to stick with my chill decorating style until my girls are old enough to handle a little glam.