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Who’s in Charge at Your House?

Who's in Charge at Your House?I bumped into another mom yesterday whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while. Our now 9- year old sons were friends a couple of years ago, when they were in the same class, which meant that she and I were the hosts of several playdates.

One thing that I always remember about her is that she is very much into being a full-time mom, driving her kids around like a chicken without a head, throwing great at-home birthday parties, practically camping out on the baseball field during baseball season…you get the picture.

When our boys were buddies and I was first inside her house, I instantly loved her taste and decorating style. I asked about a couple of unique paintings hanging on the walls. She had a story for each of them and seemed to be a bit of a connoisseur of art. When she gave me the house tour, we went down to the finished basement last, where she explained that this was the place for her children’s artwork (in other words, it wasn’t worthy of the main floor). She had some of her boys’ paintings and drawings framed, hanging on the basement walls.

While it was nice to see her boys’ work hanging on the walls, I thought it was interesting that someone so “kid-centric” had none of her kids’ art on the main floor. I thought about a relative of mine whose kitchen was plastered with kids’ drawings from the time they could scribble with a crayon. That, of course, was to the other extreme.

That same relative referred to her house as being her children’s house as much as it was her and her husband’s house.

Then, there’s a neighbor of mine who has taught her children that their house belongs to the parents; the children simply live there until they are old enough to have homes of their own. This is a very clear way of showing that Mom and Dad make up the rules—they’re in charge.

I think my husband and I fall somewhere between these two “types” of parents. I love to hang up my boys’ artwork in the kitchen, yet I have my own sense of decorating and would never plaster kids’ artwork all over the walls, as my relative did. I look forward to displaying that wonderful “first art” made by our 8 month old, when he’s big enough to color.

Our house belongs to all of us. Mom and Dad make up the rules, but we aren’t too strict. When I cook dinner, sometimes the kids get what they get and sometimes I’ll give them a choice, if it’s a laid back kind of night when I haven’t planned a big meal. They can decorate their rooms pretty much as they like, as long as they’re not destructive in any way. (I get to do whatever I like in baby’s room, since he doesn’t know the difference!).

How do you handle the decision-making in your house? Will you or do you ban children’s artwork from certain rooms or the nicely decorated first floor?


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