By: Jeremiah Brent
Everything changes the minute you hold your child for the first time. In my home, there isn’t a day that we, as fathers, don’t look at our daughter and feel waves of utter and complete appreciation and adoration.
The type of joy that parenthood brings has a profound ripple effect and undoubtedly changes your life. My experience as a father has affected me in ways that I could have never predicted — as broad as who I am as a man, down to how I approach my job as a decorator.
I received this advice time and time again before I became a father, and though I brushed it off initially, I have found that it is so incredibly true: Once you have kids you really have to shift the way you live — that includes everything from your day-to-day routine, down to your home and lifestyle.
The trick (and the ultimate goal) is to find a way to make your home safe and comfortable for your child, while still being a clear and authentic representation of you and your spouse. I may only be a year or so into this journey of fatherhood, but I feel as though I have gained immense and irrefutable knowledge during that short time.
If you’re starting on this path for the first time, or even if you’ve been on it before but still feel at a loss, here are some of my tips for shifting your home into parenthood.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: I can’t stand all the plastic tubing and bumpers that the commercial baby-proofing industry suggests is required to make your home safe — your house just ends up looking like some bootleg version of a child’s discovery zone, and you lose any semblance of adult sanity.
Instead of going the intense all-over baby-proofing route, consider designating a room or space for your baby to have as their own. They can hang out (supervised, of course), play, make a mess, fall, jump etc. in this room. Teach them to respect the space they have on their own — it’s a lesson that will be ingrained in them, and will follow them through their lives.
Slipcovers Are Your Friends: Kids are messy at their best, and can be complete (but adorable) tornadoes of destruction at their worst. Invest in some great timeless pieces of furniture that have removable covers and sturdy frames. It’ll save you time and money, now and down the line when you realize that the furniture is still going strong. These days, there are so many beautiful pieces that are not only durable and washable, but also truly timeless and transitional.
Get Natural: Embrace natural materials and fabrics. Textiles such as cowhides, sisals and even cotton and linen are able to withstand the wear and tear of a growing home, and the incorporation of natural fibers and materials is an incredible way to start teaching your children the importance of the natural world and healthy living.
Not only will these types of rugs and fabrics transition with your family in the long term, but they are easy to care for and incredibly durable.
Embrace the inevitable change that parenthood brings, but also remember that everything starts and ends with you. When it comes to your home, be cognizant in maintaining a space that still feels like a reflection of you — not just a giant play space for your child.
I always say your home should be a representation of where you’ve been, where your are now, and where you want to go. With this in mind, allow your home to shift with you as you move through the exciting and completely unpredictable journey of parenthood. And remember… you’ve got this!