When I was pregnant with my son, I tried to prepare myself for his arrival. There were many ways that I knew life would change once he came, most of them exciting and eagerly anticipated. But I was already very happy. Would his arrival mean I had to accept some negative changes along with the positives? Would my cozy little home have toys scattered across the living room floor, tucked into book shelves and emerging from couch cushions? Would my favorite music be replaced with saccharine, repetitive kiddie tunes?
Many parents would simply say, "yes" and chalk it up to the overwhelming joy that comes with having a child in your life. But since bringing our son home, we've made every effort to ensure this isn't the case. Yes, my child has child things. His room is filled with colorful toys, wooden stacking blocks, bright puzzles and their myriad pieces. But those things are stored there, in his room. Of course he brings them out to play, but they're always returned to their place in the nursery, keeping the common areas neat and orderly.
We've also been lucky to find that he enjoys the same music we enjoy, eats the same food we eat, and is happy to tag along for our grown up activities - particularly if they involve going outside or grabbing a bite to eat. My son just needs a good rhythm (and appropriate lyrics) to bop his head and wiggle his hips. He doesn't insist on "kid food" (so much of which is lacking nutrition, anyhow), but is content to share whatever we're having.
I know that toy-filled living spaces, tinny nursery rhyme music, and food shaped like dinosaurs are minor concessions to many parents. For me, though, avoiding them helps me maintain my grip on adulthood, and my own interests while still giving my son all the space he needs to grow and thrive.
How do you keep "grown up space" in your own home and life?
About Liz Moorhead
Liz Moorhead is a high school teacher turned work-from-home mom. An illustrator and writer, she blogs for a top wedding site and shares her own personal experiences on her blog Happy Sighs in between walks to the park with her toddler son - all just outside of Philadelphia.