Clean, bright, optimistic, refreshing, and uplifting. None of these words described our bedroom during the years our kids were infants. This is not to say we didn’t try to make it all those things. We brought in a lovely new bed and a rug in an uplifting shade of pink. We created a symmetrical layout and got matching dressers like real thirtysomething parents of two. We made sure we had enough storage for all our belongings. We did our best to make it feel like a haven away from the stress of life, but stress has a way of following you to bed.
As we settled into life with two toddlers who had found some new independence, we finally had some headspace to bring back new habits to our morning and evening routines. Despite our gorgeous bed and pretty pink rug, I learned that new furniture isn’t a quick fix for old bad habits. Just because you have the space for your clothes doesn’t mean they will fold themselves. You have to want to see a change in how you use the room. Rearranging and redecorating can undoubtedly help you get there, but you have to be willing to let go of old coping mechanisms and get uncomfortable with the hard changes that will ultimately lead to better ways of living.
Before we redecorated with Lulu and Georgia, I took a hard look at why I treated our bedroom like the proverbial junk drawer of our upstairs living space.
It came back to the fact I didn’t enjoy being there. It was a place of stress, where most of the late-night battles took place with the kids, and it was most certainly the place I would bury my face to muffle the sound of my screams—a necessary outlet for frustration and a safe place to save face.
We removed the rug that had been puked and bled on and sent it to be cleaned, and then replaced it with a creamy, serene wool beauty from Sarah Sherman Samuel.
We added an optimistic shade of yellow through lush velvet curtains.
We swapped out light far too bright for the bedroom with an oversized, sculptural pendant.
We flanked each side of our bed with sconces that provided us with more room for personal effects that would signal, Hello, tired parent—it’s time to connect with someone outside caring for your two toddlers.
Scented candles replaced stacks of laundry. On my bedside table, I added a stack of books I couldn’t wait to read. Joe’s pile of “stuff” was now contained in an attractive bowl that allowed him to do whatever he needed to do to decompress without having to spread it all over the room.
Now, when we walk in, not only do we feel a sigh of relief—the kids do too. We spend time in our room to read, not to fight for the covers through piles of dirty laundry.
Don’t get me wrong—we still have days and nights where the laundry feels like an impossible task to tackle. We started 2020 with a new appreciation for our most personal space, and caring for the main bedroom is a sign we’re also caring for ourselves. By prioritizing what makes us feel like us, we’re showing our kids that while laundry will come and go, self-care makes mom and dad the best mom and dad they can be.
BY Kate Arends - April 16, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.