Keeping It Real

I’m tidying the house that I share with my blended family and their occasional guests, and not for the first time, I find myself stricken with, what is it? panic? annoyance? frustration? rage? when I discover a wet glass stuck to one of the many wood surfaces in my house. Get a coaster set, you might be thinking. Got one. But, in order to have the coaster deployed, I find myself having to hover like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder personified and use an arsenal of verbal and nonverbal communications to successfully complete the coaster mission, and I mean, I would have to do this between each sip. As they say, Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That. Not one for this level of micro-mom-agement, I put decorative plastic trays on surfaces, just in case my coasters are deemed too diminutive for an accurate beverage-landing pad. Score 1 for decorative plastic trays; they mostly work for my little family.

Now, enter my little family’s nefarious associates. They come over to my house and, depending on their age and at-home training, they jump on my furniture, and walk through the house in their muddy shoes. They throw balls in my house and break the television, and leave their ice-sweating glasses on my wood surfaces. Don’t even get me started on what teenage boys do in bathrooms. It’s barbaric.

Here’s the thing, and I’m just going to put it out there. We have all heard people say some version of the following: “Oh, I’m not going to get a new couch-car-kitchen table and chairs-house-etc. because I have kids….” Kids are expensive. Make no mistake, daycare, camps, karate-music-swim lessons, birthday parties, epic-length Back-to-School lists, new shoe size every few months; it all adds up. But, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I am talking about are the people who forego the home they want, that they work hard every day for, “because they have kids” and, the subtext is: kids are messy and destructive, and I have given up. Here’s the problem with that thinking: people surrender to the wrecking ball that is a toddler. That toddler grows into a teenager who has clearly been allowed to grind his or her dirty body and sticky snacks all over the furniture. Why do I say “clearly?” Because then, that otherwise likable teenager comes to my house, and because you have created an environment in which your child can indulge all their filthy impulses all over your couch, on the promise that one day, decades from now, you’ll buy a new one that you’ll actually like and care about. Meanwhile, they treat my couch, which I happen to like, in the same disgusting manner. Over at your house, you nap on a bed of peanut butter and jelly and human excrement. Sleep tight in the foul world you have created. That’s not how we roll over here.

Cheekiness aside, why, instead of creating a cozy adult-appropriate house, where grown ups feel comfortable and enjoy spending time, do some parents insist on settling for a loveseat that is about as used as a Greyhound Bus station’s smoking lounge? You can have nice things and children. It’s not impossible. Who says you have to allow juice boxes on the couch? Keep them on the kitchen table. There’s something to be said for actually compelling your child to get up and move on commercial breaks. Also, because kids (and adults) can be clumsy and accidents happen, know that spills and vomit are inevitable. I’m not suggesting you live in a fantasy world. Invest in a fabric steamer; they work wonders for the mysterious blobs that elementary school aged children leave behind. And believe me, steam your couch once, and you will wonder exactly what has happened while you weren’t looking. Gag.

Then, there’s the coasters, or failing that, the plastic trays, which come in a variety of designs, and catch a multitude of crumbs and goo and which you can stick in the dishwasher. You can make fabric choices that are forgiving. Got 3 year old triplets? Perhaps the white suede dining chairs aren’t for you, but you know what is? Taupe ultrasuede. Purple scotchguarded velvet. Festive oilcloth. Leather. Fiberglass. Bent plywood. Plastic. Bold floral patterns in durable, cleanable slipcover-type deals. You can merge the practical with the beautiful.

So, what are you waiting for? For the love of fabric steam cleaners, fight back! Fight back, and teach your child how to enjoy a nice home, and then maybe when they come to my house, they can enjoy my home without the added bonus of me chasing them around with antibacterial wipes and a plastic tray!

See the designs below for some kid-friendly but ever-so-stylish decor options for the Toddler As Wrecking Ball Set.

Shannon Signature


This fun, colorful, vibrant, and modern game room is the perfect hangout for your kids to enjoy their Saturday morning cartoons, host a fun game night or for any occasion in between!


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