Back when my husband and I were in charge of our house and what went where everything was kept in order. I’m quite a house proud person so kept on top of the chores and there was limited clutter.
Fast forward a few years and although we own the house on paper, there can be no question who the real kings (or rather queens) of our castle are.
Babies are tiny, so it makes zero sense that they would take up so much space, but they do. Trouble is babies come with a lot of stuff and they inspire a lot of buying of useless cr*p by starry-eyed relatives.
Now we have a toddler who has no concept of mine versus yours or boundaries.
While before we owned 100 per cent of the space, now I would say we’re down to about 10 per cent and it’s shrinking by the day. Soon we’ll be sleeping in the garage. If the children let us.
Here’s what’s changed about our house since having kids:
The front door would open to a tidy hallway with just a neat shoe rack against one wall. One of my collection of tiny handbags would be by the door containing keys, a purse, lip balm and phone.
I constantly trip over the tiny pairs of shoes left strewn by the front door.
Tiny handbags have been replaced by a big changing bag packed with everything to cater for every possible contingency when we’re out.
Wipes (obviously), nappies, multiple changes of clothes for both children, snacks for bribery, drinks, toys, muslin, fold-up changing mat, suncream, sun hats and sudocrem.
The lounge was an immaculate chill-out zone where we watched grown-up movies while eating pizza with a hangover. It had various pretty vases, pictures in frames and tealight holders dotted around.
We kept a couple of recipe books on the coffee table for flicking through. We casually left glasses with water etc on the coffee table without a second thought.
The lounge looks like a chaotic branch of Toys R Us. Stuffed animals, Lego bricks (ouch, see my worries about these here) and rattles are strewn in every corner.
The couch cushions are dumped on the floor as our toddler just will not stop pulling them off. All ornaments have either been moved onto shelves at least 7ft off the floor or been boxed up in the loft.
Recipe books have been removed as anything paper-based left on the coffee table gets scribbled on.
We never leave drinks out ever for fear toddler will break the glass so are forever getting up to go in the kitchen and take a sip of water.
The TV no longer screens grown-up films but instead plays Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol on loop. Our toddler has now learned to use the Amazon Firestick remote so the TV is officially hers and we are redundant.
We have two spare bedrooms. One was used as an office with a desk and shelves filled with folders and books. The other room had a pullout sofa for guests and a large double shelving unit for the mountain of grown-up books and DVDs we own.
Both bedrooms are now taken by our two children. The office has moved to a corner of the dining room and most of our books are boxed up in the loft.
We have given away most of our DVDs to the local charity shop because, let’s face it, we don’t have time to binge watch 24 again. Shelves are now filled with children’s books, nappies, creams, and clothes.
The walls are covered with child-themed pictures and stickers.
The pullout sofa remains in our baby’s room but instead of guests I sleep there when she’s having a particularly unsettled night. Any guests who want to take over are welcome though. There’s been no takers so far.
The bathrooms were kept pretty simple. The main bathroom was for toothbrushes and the ensuite had most of our other stuff. There were a few candles round the edge of the bath for when I got a chance for a soak.
Every corner of the bath is covered with bath toys. There are enough child lotions and potions to stock a pharmacy as we have tried a myriad of bath products for my baby who has eczema (see how we’ve tried to treat this here).
There’s a potty in one corner and a little Peppa Pig step in another. The candles are gone, I now exclusively shower and it has to be done in under five minutes.
The garden was a place to sit around the outdoor table and enjoy a barbecue or glass of cold wine while looking at the lawn and flowers.
The lawn is no longer visible as it is strewn with toys such as a playhouse, slide, bicycle and emptied out paddling pool. The flowers have all been picked as a “present for mummy”.
Our bedroom was our little sanctuary of peace and calm. We would lie in bed on a Saturday morning and watching Saturday Kitchen or something on Netflix. We would check out the news on our iPads and laugh at silly YouTube videos.
If I grab five hours of uninterrupted sleep then I’ve had an exceptional night. The bedside tables and floor are covered with toys and books. The iPads are used as a distraction for our toddler while we catch some extra shuteye in the morning.
Has your house been taken over by your children? I would love to hear about your child takeover stories!