Superkingsize bed with white polka dot bedspread and pink cushions

My child has destroyed my house and now I need a new one. Is it just me?

[This post contains affiliate links]

When you’re pregnant, you quickly discover that everyone around you has something to say about it, and, back when I was pregnant, one of the things people would say most often was that my future child was going to absolutely DESTROY my house – to an extent that I just would not believe, apparently.

And, to be totally honest, I didn’t believe it. Not in the slightest. I mean, I knew the house would likely be significantly messier with one (tiny) extra person in it, but destroyed? Nuh-uh. Not possible. Not on my watch. It just would not happen, and that was that.

Well, fast-forward four years, and, yup, my house has been totally destroyed. In fact, while most people I follow on social media seem to have spent the extra time at home some of us have had to declutter, decorate, and do DIY, we mostly spent our days systematically destroying our home.

We didn’t do it on purpose, I hasten to add. But when everyone in your house is physically IN your house all day for weeks on end –– as we all were for long weeks of 2020 – it doesn’t really do much for the condition of the place, does it? With a business to run and a toddler to look after, we didn’t have time for all of the home improvements everyone around us was making, so, instead, we managed to get through around a decade’s worth of wear-and-tear in the space of a few short months. Which is also an achievement of sorts, I suppose?

polka dot bedspread on unmade bedAt the time of writing, we’re on our third living room rug since the start of the pandemic, and I’m currently trying to talk myself out of replacing THAT one, too, because, despite our best efforts to clean and maintain it, it looks like we’ve had it for decades, rather than months. The cushions on the sofa, meanwhile, were replaced last year, when they became too flat and worn (A bit like my 2021 self, now I come to think of it…) for Max to build decent cushion forts with them, and, like their friend the rug, the replacements are already ALSO in need of replacing.

That brand new coffee table we got last summer, meanwhile? Now covered in three mysterious yellow stains (I say “mysterious”: it’s most likely from slime. Almost every stain in our house can be traced back to slime…), plus the barcode from a packet of wipes, which somehow transferred from the packet to the table.

The kitchen table ALSO has a couple of barcodes on it now (Yes, you WOULD think we’d have learned our lesson by now, wouldn’t you?), the sofa is looking more than a little bit battered, and the walls bear the many scars created by the tricycle we allowed Max to bring indoors, so he could burn off some energy on a rainy day by cycling endlessly around the loop that runs from hall ––> kitchen –– >living room ––> hall. In retrospect, an indoor bicycle turns out NOT to be a great idea, folks: you heard it here first.

By my calculations, then, we need a new rug, coffee table, sofa, kitchen table, cushions and complete repaint of every single wall. And that’s just the downstairs. Don’t even get me started on the rest of the house. Or the garden. Or – shudder – the shed.

My house is broken now. I need a new one. Or, failing that, I need a portrait of my house from this company, which sells custom house portraits, just so I can hang it up somewhere and remind myself of what our house could look like if we could just somehow find the time, energy (and, well, money) to fix everything that needs fixing, and replace everything that needs replacing.

It’s a full-time job, though, this home-ownership thing. As in, even if I didn’t have a full-time job to fit in, I STILL can’t imagine how I’d find time to fit in all the home maintenance tasks I’m apparently supposed to be doing. On Mumsnet, for instance, people clean their skirting boards on their hands and knees, wash the windows twice a week, and change the bedsheets daily – twice on Sundays.

OK, I’m exaggerating. But only a little bit.

I do, however, increasingly find myself wondering how on earth other people manage to stay on top of all this endless maintenance (Yes, I have looked at the Fly Lady and the Organised Mum Method, and no, they haven’t helped much: my problem isn’t that I don’t know what to do, it’s that, the second I do it, someone comes along and immediately UN-does it, so I feel like I’m just trapped in this endless cycle of maintenance, without ever feeling like anything is being maintained…), while simultaneously working, raising a child, and maybe even having a bit of time for themselves every so often? Is it even possible?

And if so… how?

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • Fi


    1. Stop reading Mumsnet! 🙂
    2. Nail varnish remover gets everything off everything so if your slime/barcode stains are on surfaces that won’t damage easily give that a try.

    January 27, 2022
  • Myra


    Johnson’s baby wipes takes almost everything off, which worries me as they are used on baby’s skin. Go figure!

    Darren complained about the mess his house was in with four children under three, but as I pointed out to him. You can either have a lovely house, or you can have kids. You can’t have both.

    The mess changes as they get older when shoes, bags and coats litter every room and other “stuff”, and I bet you can’t wait to get muddy hand prints and ball marks on your windows.

    It does get better when they leave home, but they leave all their stuff in your house 😂

    January 27, 2022
  • Miss Kitty


    I don’t know what you have already tried for the stains, but my go-to for anything that won’t come off any other way, is a paste of white vinegar and baking soda, leave it on for about 10 minutes, then wipe off. I don’t think I’ve had it fail yet. I have used this for cleaning upholstery and baked on ovens (took a lot longer sitting time than 10 minutes!), without any after effects, but as they always say, try on a small spot first! If you haven’t already, you can also try detergent, bleach, and magic erasers. Even Dettol can do wonders on hard to clean stains.

    My husband and I are discussing whether to start a family, it’s not something that was high on either of our agendas but we are getting on in age, it’s soon going to be at that point where it’s too late, so we have to decide now definitely one way or the other. I have to admit that house wrecking is high up on my list of why I never wanted kids! I saw what my sister’s kids did to her house, even though they were just fairly regular kids. She told me that it just isn’t worth buying nice furniture until they are older, and I’m not sure if I want to live with that for the next 15 years 🤔 But there are other things in the pro column that need weighing up!

    January 28, 2022
  • ArcticShimmer


    “I do, however, increasingly find myself wondering how on earth other people manage to stay on top of all this endless maintenance…”

    We don’t. We really don’t manage. I mostly am thankful our furniture is mostly that already worn style, because new stains and holes don’t show. I coloured our couch to dark blue from light grey. Everything that used to be white isn’t anymore (or has been hidden to our storage for the time being), but somehow I don’t notice anymore. I won’t even start on the rugs.

    I mean, I feel you. Our house is broken and I’m waiting for both of our children to move out. I don’t know what to do meanwhile.

    January 28, 2022
  • Cara


    I found that a leather couch in a dark colour (teal) worked okay because you could wipe off barf and other spills, and I would have the area carpet professionally cleaned – and grew to like the faded, shabby chic look. I’ve got some things with removable and washable slip covers that do okay as well. Husbands can be hard on things too 🙄

    February 22, 2022