Guest Post by Monica: Tips for Getting Decorating Done, Even With Kids
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Hi, you! I’m swapping blogs with my friend Monica today. She has amazing taste and is like a project completing machine in her lovely home! I asked her to share the secret sauce she uses to get it all done with three littles in the mix. I think you’re going to love her. Oh, and I’m writing about what scares me over on her blog aboutprogress.com. Come see me too!
Hello! My name is Monica and I blog at aboutprogress.com. My blog is about making progress in our lives without hyper-focusing on perfection. Come visit me there to see posts on food, parenting, exercise, interior design, DIY and more! (I’m a bit all over the place…) I am also a mom of three littles, ages 4, 3, and 10 months. (That’s why I’m all over the place!)
We’ve owned our little home for 3 ½ years. It is still in its original glory, ala 1949. We have loved every square inch of it and worked hard to improve it with what pennies we could spare. I love interior design, so I’ve always got a project up my sleeve. Here is a sampling of the projects we have personally done ourselves:
Painted 6 rooms, two of them twice.
Painted ~20 furniture items from Salvation Army and Craigslist.
Painted the whole exterior of the house, including the trim.
Made an upholstered headboard.
Replaced a toilet.
Installed light fixtures inside and outside the house.
Removed and replaced an old brick mailbox.
Pulled out a million weeds and little trees growing on our front lawn.
Rehabbed our front and back yards.
Filled in a doorway, making a better entrance into our house.
Created a brick barrier along the sides of our backyard.
Re-hauled our fireplace including demolition, tile installation, and refacement.
(And a 100 other small DIY things, including lots of IKEA hacks and organization.)
My husband is great and has really been a partner on those bigger projects, but he can only help on Saturdays—so I’ve done most of that above list myself. And 100% of the time, my young children were present, alive, and (mostly) well fed.
People often ask me, “Monica, how do you do it all? How do you do all your house projects with those young kids at your feet, constantly asking to be fed?”
Just kidding! Nobody asks me that.
But if they did, here’s how I’d say we’ve done so much around this little house despite our well-meaning “helpers:”
1) When the Cat is Away…: Most of what I do is when the kids are asleep: naps or at night. That means my “me” time is gone during our more time-consuming projects and my own sleep is limited, but I don’t have to worry about them drinking paint or accidentally hurting themselves with my tools.
2) Get Them Distracted: Sometimes, the kids have to be around when I’ve needed to do something that doesn’t involve endangering them. I’m thinking things like plastering nail holes, yard work, laying out a tile design, sanding furniture, or hanging things. I’m not a huge fan of letting my kids have more than 20 minutes of screentime a day. (When I do, they act like entitled demons. Seriously.) So it’s worth it to me to take a few more minutes and get them properly set up with a real activity that will keep them busy. That entails: finger painting, coloring, doing puzzles, playing with their trains/dollhouses (or whatever toy(s) they recently forgot about), etc. Sometimes, it also means just shuffling them into the backyard with some bubbles, chalk, or a snack, and giving them a time limit before they can come back in. (I actually set the timer, so we’re both accountable!) If a project is necessary to do during the day and the kids aren’t cooperating (or it’s simply unsafe for them to be around), I turn to my next tip…
3) Trade Off: Brad and I largely team-tagged our fireplace project during the day a few Saturdays in a row. Trade off with a spouse or even a friend when you need to get things done during the daylight hours. For example, we’ve had a friend watch our kids so my husband and I could make a big Home Depot run. Get your friends in on it and return the favor!
4) Get the Kids Involved: This one is trickier. Obviously, you can’t let your young children help paint and use power tools. But sometimes, I give my child an unused paintbrush, a cup of water (or no water!) and ask them to “paint” a certain section of the wall or piece of furniture. Keep in mind, that still entails careful instructions and mom’s attention. We have found that yard work is a great way to get your kids involved. When we recently added the brick divider around the fence in our backyard, we had our kids picking up sticks and pulling weeds while we did the hard labor. We were out there for hours at a time. Lately, my older two have been getting paid a cent per plum they pick up from our neighbor’s tree along our shared fence. A lot of encouragement and rewards go a long way in simultaneously helping your kids be entertained and learning the value of hard work.
Finally, when all else fails, just turn on a dang show!
And since I’m all about progress, not perfection, I thought I’d end this post with a picture of what my house looks like mid-project. You are welcome.
What tricks do you parents have up your sleeve for getting house projects done with kids?