Monday, April 4, 2016

Rage Against the Pinterest Kid’s Room

When I was a kid, I had a FANCY room. My double bed (that I shared with my sister), was adorned in a yellow Holly Hobbie bedspread my Mom had purchased from the Pottery Barn Kids of our time:  JCPenney.

She even went through the pains of painting the walls yellow.

It was straight up tricked out in a very 1980’s kind of way.

Which is the same type of way I hope my children’s rooms are decorated.


Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dreamt of creating bedrooms for my children that Pottery Barn would want to copy and use in their next catalog and of DIY projects that would be pinned on Pinterest thousands of times over.

But, here’s the thing. A few weeks ago we had some beautiful weather. I seized the opportunity to roll out three-foot-wide paper for my children to paint on on our back deck. For the better part of two hours they delightedly created masterpieces. My eight-year-old’s masterpiece featured his personally developed initial-superhero-slogan complete with his brother’s muddy footprints on it. When his paint was dry, he begged me to allow him to hang his creation on his bedroom wall using two-and-a-half inch, blue paint tape. I hesitated, knowing it would be a full-wall mural, but relented due to the joy on his face. It’s his wall.

And I want it to stay his wall.

He’s happier decorating with his carefully-designed-personal-logo-on-muddy-footprint-paper than he would be if I dropped thousands of dollars and countless hours creating my idea of utopia for him. [Tweet This]

Beyond having cute stuff, I need to give myself the space to love my precious people. If I give them adorable stuff, and they in turn use it to help me clean the toilet, I might feel angry. I could find them ungrateful and disrespectful when they don’t respect all the thought and work I put into their space. When I relinquish some control and keep things simple, I have the opportunity to admire their wonder and creativity and I have less to worry about or take personally.

While growing up I didn't know anyone with a room nicer than my own, I do remember seeing movies where girls had canopy beds and matching white furniture, and I never envied them. I was thankful for my room because my mom didn’t ask me any questions when I decided to tastefully decorate my yellow walls with posters of Kirk Cameron from my Teen Bop magazines. My room was my space to express my interests (however shallow). The perfect princess bedroom could have complicated things.

If you, like me, are rethinking what makes a child’s bedroom great, I’m sharing all the tips I have so far.

Nicole’s Five Ingredients to a Rockin’ Kid’s Bedroom

1. Clean, Warm or Cheerful Paint on the Walls

2. As Much Open Space as Possible for Play

3. Safe Bed with Simple Bedding According to Child’s Individual Taste

4. Remove all Danger (Lead Paint, Rusty Items, Sharp Items...)

5. Allowance for Child to Make Reasonable, Unique “Improvements”

 
That’s it. Because, as I relinquish control, I’m free to appreciate my child's creativity. And he knows I support his individuality.

He knows I enjoy him.


That’s far better than being featured in any catalog.

20 comments :

  1. SAFE bed! Yes! My son had bunk beds because I thought it was pretty cool. But they were NOT safe Thankfully no one was hurt but we made them into single beds -- no bunking -- immediately. Do not pass go.
    Thanks for a great post.

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    1. Ha! Yes, safety is first in a house with four boy children. I have no idea about raising girls, because I'm not raising any. However, my youngest, at no more than 17 months had climbed to the top rail of his crib and was balancing between it and his dresser- wearing a [previously modified by me so it was slimmer and more difficult to climb in] sleep sack. Thanks for connecting, Sinea!

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  2. I don't currently have children, but I really enjoyed this post. I think it can work for more than just children, too. This is kind of how I felt with my husband's work space. I wanted everything so so, forgetting the fact that it was not my space to work in. He has a vision for what he wants, and I should allow him to create it. Visiting from Friday Funday Link Up! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for connecting, Erin! I've been there with my husband too. If it were up to him, we would have a U2 poster over our bed. For real. He still doesn't get why I'm not a fan (of the poster in our room, not the band). But, it has been freeing (for both of us) for me to let go of "his space." I'm more of a minimalist and things hold more meaning for him. I'll never get his preferences, but I do get a need for personalized space. Best to you!

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  3. Such a unique idea for your childs room. I think that the rooms that should look like they've come out of a magazine are the ones that any other people are likely to be in (living room, dining, kitchen, etc) Personal spaces can be decorated to personal tastes. Thanks for sharing on #FFBH

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    1. I agree. Well, except I doubt any of our rooms are in danger of being featured in magazines anytime soon...unless, of course, we're talking about the "before" picture.

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  4. Thank you for this! Growing up, we were not allowed to make any changes to our rooms. I wasn't even allowed to use sticky-tack to hang posters.

    As an adult, I have chronic design variability. My husband has just accepted that when he gets home from work, I'll have moved all the furniture and swapped the curtains from room to room. I can't help it! Blame my upbringing :)

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    1. Wow, Lorelei! Your comment is an example of how sometimes I share something and really have no idea what the impact of my parental decisions. In this case, your comment causes me to be grateful I let my child decorate his room, but it also reminds me I'm likely missing many other things. Sometimes decisions as a parent seems minor and yet I have no idea what the effects will be. Thank you for that reminder and for sharing your experience. I'm sure you are natural at making your place look incredible each time you design it.

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  5. My kids rooms were once designed to look like something out of a magazine; I even painted full size wall murals for them when they were babies. As they've aged I just had to let them have say in how their room look-- it's their room and they need to be comfortable in there not me. Great reminders to let alter the perception of "perfect."

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    1. I love this and I admire your talent- painting full size wall murals! That's really incredible. Thanks for connecting.

      Parenting, for me, is a battle where I have to continue to relinquish control so I don't squelch my children's confidence. Before parenting, I had no idea how much I wanted to control!

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  6. Brilliant, Nicole. So smart. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have just left my girls' rooms pretty much alone until they hit the tween years and got all opinionated about what was acceptable and wanted everything changed anyway! I think someone should invent DisPinterest: ideas, recipes, photos, etc., for "the rest of us." And by "us," I mean me. Love this post...sharing right this minute!

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    1. DisPinterest... talk about brilliant! It took me several years to join Pinterest, but I'm certain I wouldn't deliberate over joining DisPinterest at all. Thanks also for sharing, Elizabeth.

      Also, I know nothing about tween girls, but my 8, 9, and 10 year-old boys have serious opinions about decorating. Who knew?

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  7. I totally agree - a kid's room is where he/she can be himself/herself. As much as I personally don't love the sports posters if my son wants them all over his walls that's ok with me (as long as it doesn't ruin the paint ;) Found your post at the #SundayBlogHop

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

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    1. Thanks for connecting, Nicole. I agree about the paint. Many crises have been averted by me screaming, "That's the wrong tape!" I'm constantly hoping I won't need to make any more time for DIY fixing-stuff-my-people-constantly-break-because-they-forgot-my-specific-instructions projects. But maybe that's just me.

      I'm smiling as I write this, because while these amazing children can be destructive, they rarely (if ever) intend to destroy anything. In fact, they're usually having a great time.

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  8. This is such a heartfelt piece, Nicole. What a great way to look at the bigger picture--that perhaps we really shouldn't be pushing for kids to paint the right way, or stay inside the lines. Perhaps we should just be thankful that their minds are still that creative, that their imagination is still boundless and still so free; because at some point, that will fade. And one can only hope that the boundaries of reality and fantasy blend just right so they don't lose that little spark they have as children. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm really enjoying your pieces :)

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    1. Thank you, Maria. I wish I had understood how my desire for control can squash my children's creativity and imagination if I let it. They are learning what's important from the battles I choose. This is weighty for me and it's imperative that I show I accept them as individuals through my responses to them.

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  9. Good for you for appreciating his creativity! Thank you so much for sharing this over at #bloggerspotlight link and Pin-it Party. I do appreciate it and hope to see you again! Pinned!

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    1. Thank you for hosting and pinning, Cristina!

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  10. This is such a great piece and something for every mom to consider. My son is still young so he's not asking to decorate his room, but I know that day will come soon. Thanks for sharing at the Friday Funday Blog Hop!

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    1. Thanks for connecting, Lissette. It is true- I had a lot more fun with my children's space before they had any opinions.

      But now I get to watch them express themselves and it's pretty awesome too.

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