12 signs my kids have taken over my house

It’s messy here. Marker marks on walls, little piles of folded laundry waiting expectantly but in vain for someone to pick them up, a single toddler shoe sitting on the bottom step of the stairs. When exactly did the kids take over the house?

The most obvious sign that the kids have taken over the house is of course the presence of the children themselves – that one is clear. And their stuff – they have a lot of stuff. From the tiny wellies lined up in the porch and the colourful jackets hanging on hooks inside the front door, the signs are there as soon as you walk into my house.

Beyond that though, there have been some changes in the last six years; my house has slowly evolved from a once orderly source of pride to a purely functional holder of stuff.

1. Every room is a laundry room

office mum post: laundry
I literally have laundry on my laundr

Six years ago, my husband and I ran one or two loads of washing through the machine each week – at least I think so. I can’t say for sure, as laundry wasn’t a huge feature of my life back then, and as such, laundry memories are hazy.

Now that there are five of us, there are three separate laundry baskets, and three more for clean clothes, all full, all the time. And, I’m ashamed(ish) to say, our radiators might also regularly be covered in clothes. I promise to take them off if you’re visiting.



2. The kids literally did take over one room 

Office Mum post: photo of toys
What dining room?


Six years ago, we had a dining room. I still refer to it as the dining room sometimes, and the kids look at me quizzically, then say “Oh do you mean the playroom mum?”

It’s full of toys, a toy box, a bookshelf, a train-set, and a frog-pocket thing that hangs on the wall and holds stuff that doesn’t go anywhere else. It still also has a dining room table and chairs – a not very practical glass topped table and six cream fabric covered chairs. Now cream with a liberal layer of crayon and more than a smudge of tomato soup.


3. Some toys did not fare so well

Instead of “Please put Fireman Sam in your room”, the toddler somehow heard “Please put Fireman Sam in the toilet”

office mum photo of Fireman Sam in the toilet..

4. There are packs of wipes all over the house

Until six years ago, I had never before bought a packet of wipes. Since then, I estimate we’ve gone through 1,200 packs, costing roughly €3,300. I really wish I hadn’t done that calculation.

Office Mum post: photo of baby wipes

5. The hall-way is an impromptu racetrack

A line drawn in marker across the hall carpet, because, as my four year old explained, how else would they know where to start the race?

office mum photo of hallway as racetrack

6. The camera is full of unusual photos

Photos of feet. Small feet. And backs of heads. And the floor. Seventy-eight of them. It takes a long time to delete seventy-eight photos

7. Nature has come into the house

Every candle holder, every vase, every shelf is a “nature table”, filled or covered with leaves, twigs and daisies. I’m thinking of starting a pot pourri Etsy shop.

8. Baking is now an “activity” and by definition wrecks the kitchen

The product of any baking session is now secondary to the act of baking itself. Once upon a time, baking involved carefully measuring out ingredients with a weighing scales, following recipes to the letter and not wrecking the kitchen. Now, anything goes. Once we commit to baking, the baking must go ahead, regardless of belated discoveries that not all ingredients are in stock.

That’s why we’ve made chocolate cake without eggs (which actually tasted fine), chocolate biscuit cake without a weighing scales, and Rice Krispie buns with dark chocolate. The output is irrelevant – it’s all about the baking. And the kids will eat anything.

office mum post: Krispie bun
Dark chocolate disguised with a blob of icing

9. Hoovering is also an “activity”

My three kids love the hoover – it’s a favourite toy. What’s not to love – it makes a noise, it sucks things up, you can sit on it. So there are two options: hoover when they’re here, and let them do most of it, taking it in turn (this is quite handy from a housework perspective but does lead to squabbles) or don’t hoover at all (this second option is invoked all too regularly)

10. Painting doesn’t require paint

Sometimes yogurt is used as an alternative to paint. With a mallet for a paintbrush, and a toddler for a canvas.

Office Mum photo of painted boy

11. Wrappers 

Mysterious fun-size Twix wrappers appear in any vases not already in use for twigs and leaves and daisies. Nobody ate the Twix apparently and yes, yes, everyone knows the vase isn’t a bin. Must have been a burglar they say, with earnest faces. The same burglar who left chocolate handprints on the wall.

12. The car is destroyed

Right now my car is home to two packs of wipes (see point 4 above), three gloves, one hat, one buggy, one blanket, one booster seat, one spilled box of raisins, 4,000 crumbs and a headless doll. I don’t need to tell you that it didn’t look like this six years ago.

But it’s OK. In ten years my house will be tidy again (right?) and I’ll be worrying about teenage discos and Leaving Cert points. For now I’ll savour every minute, live with every mess and tolerate every scattered toy (except when stepping on Lego while barefoot – we all have our limits)


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11 thoughts on “12 signs my kids have taken over my house”

  1. oh my god the wipes… i don’t want to know how much nappies would ad up to!! great post, if it helps your house sounds a lot like mine 🙂

  2. Of course I cannot relate to this one little bit 😉 !!!! Absolutely hysterical, I really feel sorry for Fireman Sam and that line “how else would they know where to start the race” ha ha ha.

    1. Poor Sammy, he looked so confused, but was cheerful again when we took him out. And as for the race… we’ve replaced the hall carpet with wooden floors in the last week, which seemed like a good idea but might be even worse if the markers come out!

  3. Love it. The wrappers in our house are behind the couch. It’s the apple butts and yogurt cartons there that drive me crazy. Our sunroom is now called the toyroom. The dining table is the make and do and drawing table.
    Sudocrem as paint is the one that I dislike most. Or the toiletbrush as a paintbrush.
    Your car sounds very tidy to me. I have to clean mine before anyone can be given a lift.
    And as for the laundry, sob.
    Sinead – Bumbles of Rice recently posted…A Week’s (Barefaced) Dinners #4My Profile

    1. oh God sudocrem as paint has to be the absolute worst – nothing gets it off a couch! And yes, totally with you on the yogurts and the apple butts, and the plum stones and the brown bananas….

  4. Really great post and so so true to my own. The youngest who’s 1 loves the hoover, and chases me around after it, almost as much as he loves the brush. Thankfully they haven’t marked the floor with market yet, everything else but not markers. They have succeeded in taking over the whole house though, not just one room.


    1. hi Cormac, thanks for commenting! Just clicked through and followed your blog now. They really do take over every room don’t they – even parents’ bedrooms. I’m forever finding discarded children’s shoes in ours…

  5. Hilarious post!
    Our hallway walls are apparently a wonderful canvas for expressive crayon drawings. We don’t have a playroom (or even a once upon a time dining room!) so every room has a liberal sprinkling of toys in place – for any playtime emergencies. It’s the mouldering banana peels in the upstairs bins that used to rarely need emptying, that get me. Every time. *sigh*

    Great pics btw!
    Sadhbh@WhereWishesComeFrom recently posted…I Need Help – No Joke!My Profile

  6. Oh I was only thinking about our use of wipes and nappy bags etc, I was wondering to myself how much that has cost us to date…but I don’t think I’ll bother with that calculation now!! L has yet to do much of the above but I’ve no doubt anytime soon there will be a wall drawn on somewhere in the house. For now he’s happy enough to open and close the saucepan drawer and attempt to lift everything out of it (he manages the small saucepan, not so much the big ones!)
    Louise (@TattooedMumsy) recently posted…Parent / Child Parking SpacesMy Profile

    1. Yes I’d say steer clear of doing the calculation, it doesn’t bring much happiness!
      Love the opening and closing of the saucepan drawer – who needs toys 🙂

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