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Is this real life???

  1. Anagram

    eggplant / 11692 posts

    @Ajsmommy: I think that it’s good for both marriage partners to be a little introspective when these arguments crop up. He needs to explore why he’s bothered so much about the toys, beyond “that’s how his parents did it”. Because it’s impossible to have a marriage where either/both spouses are trying to replicate their own upbringing. Well, unless you marry a sibling I guess. 😜 and that’s illegal.

    And then if he can figure out the root of the inssue and verbalize it, then you two can figure out a solution together that you can both live with. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not having toys in the living room. I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with having toys in the living room.

    I agree with you it seems like the issue is general clutter. And you are not solely in charge of clutter in your house—he’s an able bodied adult and you have a 5 year old. My 5 year old is really good at cleaning up after herself when I direct and help. And usually my 3 year old helps.

    So you two should sit down together, figurenout the whole issue, split the responsibilities to solve the issue among the 4 of you and give it a go for the next month.

    My husband and I have constant renegotiations about household balance. Constant. But when something is bothering him, even if I think it’s “not important”, I make an effort to work on the problem to his satisfaction anyway and I really appreciate when he does the same for me, even if he thinks something is not important.

    For instance—he is a bed maker and I never saw the point. Now we both make all the beds in the house each morning. I have a hard rule about no eating on the living room rug for the kids; he thinks it’s nr important. But we talked about it, I asked how often he’s willing to buy a brand new rug (he’s frugal, so that got him); now he enforces the rule too. We’ve had to negotiate all those small rules. We grew up in two different countries, have 2 different first languages and 2 different religions and 3 different cultures and we would be at each there throats if we were both set on reliving our own childhood, you know?

    Just send him an email or text about this stuff when you aren’t at home so you can both think before responding. Good luck!

  2. cake2017

    persimmon / 1041 posts

    @Ajsmommy: We don’t have any toys in our living room but maybe three small things. For the most part no toys and i’m okay with that. DH and I actually said when we moved into our new home that we wanted the home to be where we can all enjoy and relax and not just a kids zone. So LO has a playroom and his bedroom and we have the rest of the house 😜.

  3. SweetCaroline

    pear / 1715 posts

    @Ajsmommy: We have an open concept kitchen, living room, dining room. That being said, our dining room is tiny and we chose to put kid toys there and eat at the kitchen island for now. The dining room is situated next to the living room, behind the couch (same big room). This dining room turned play room has 4 things in it: play kitchen, kids table, craft cart and toy cubbies.

    I am not someone who can tolerate toys not being picked up on the regular. Sure, some nights it's a disaster and I leave it. Many weekends it's a hot mess until Sunday night. By and large though, the table is clear, toys are in the cubbies and the toy kitchen is picked up. If I can't motivate DD to do it all, I do it myself and do not ask DH.

    Personally, i love the happy medium. I've waited my whole life to have this house full of love and the toys in our living areas make my heart happy to see. However, I am a stickler about properly caring for the things we have worked so hard for and threaten to give toys to someone who will take better care of them.

    ETA: Also, I echo everything said re: getting DH to care about certain things the same way that I do. He won't and it's not important so I either need to let go of those things or do them myself. Further, If it is truly something inconsequential and I chose to do it myself rather than let go of it, I cannot harbor any anger or resentment toward DH for not equally caring.

  4. PawPrints

    pomegranate / 3658 posts

    Our living room is toy-free, as is our dining area, but that's only possible because we have like... 6, maybe 7 other areas in the house that are dedicated play areas!! If our living space was limited to the rooms you describe, I don't think it would be possible or reasonable. Our play spaces are DS's room, DD's room, the common area in the basement (where both their bedrooms are), a sunken mini-room that leads to the backyard, a little craft table next to the dining table, and the covered deck that houses DD's painting table and play kitchen.

  5. wrkbrk

    pomelo / 5082 posts

    I’ll go back and read everything as I haven’t had time yet but yes we do have toys in the living room. One big basket,’one shelf, and what fills the top of the coffee table! Granted we bought the coffee table for that purpose (it holds the basket). It doesn’t bother us but if it bothers your husband, cleaning at the end of the night should solve it. I wasn’t allowed to play or have toys anywhere but my room growing up ... and it sucked and I see no reason to impose that formality on our son!

  6. wrkbrk

    pomelo / 5082 posts

    ETA my son sitting in said toy basket in the middle of our living room here 😂



  7. Grace

    cantaloupe / 6725 posts

    Do you have storage for these toys? Or arethey all in a row on the floor? Lots of people feel anxious if there’s clutter - and lots don’t even realise it. Another thought if there is a lot of toys, you could purge some (which means you would have less toys to move). Or you could pack some up now and not unpack them until you are in the new house. See if you can find a compromise.

  8. Mama Bird

    pomegranate / 3127 posts

    When I was growing up, we had no toys in the living room. They were all in the kids' room, and if we played in the living room we put them away right after. And we didn't even bring them to the living room, unless it was something that had to go on a big table, like a puzzle.

    My place now is not like that. There are toys on every surface and IMO it's disgusting. I've tried many times to get the kids to clean but they don't even seem to register what I'm asking of them. If I really get on their case, they just move the mess from one place to another. I guess the problem is too many toys. I've got to get my own cleaning sorted out (it's not going great with a two-montb-old). Once I can set a better example, I'll get rid of this mess for good. I'll toss the toys if that's what it takes, because otherwise it'll look like my parents' house where there are two couches but you can't sit down, and the kitchen has tons of counter space but there's nowhere to cook. Ick.

    Only, if you have storage in the living room, it figures that's where the toys get played with. The first step to getting clutter out of the living room is probably just not storing toys there....

  9. hellobeeboston

    honeydew / 7222 posts

    @Ajsmommy: I really liked @Anagram: ‘s advice above.....

    How old are your kids btw? We have a million toys in our living room. Our kids still like to be where we are. We have a separate playroom in our finished basement, but I think they will use it more when my little guy is older. Mine are 6 & 3.

    The toy clutter gets to me after a while and I do a major cleanup (I’m also having a ton of cabinets installed in our LR to hide the toys away.... but I also just say to myself, this is the stage of life we are in right now. It’s going to be pretty brief. So there are toys in the LR. Who cares. Most of the toys will be gone in a couple years as they get older.

  10. Ajsmommy

    pomegranate / 3355 posts

    @hellobeeboston: 5 and almost 2 .. and your last few sentences is exactly how I view this.. it's a phase. It won't last forever... they kind of need us now and actually want us to be near them... soon they won't even care about us, then the toys will be gone and then DH can be happy! And i'll be sad.. LOL

    But Dh can't seem to get past it...

  11. Ajsmommy

    pomegranate / 3355 posts

    @Grace: there are a lot that are just along the wall in our living room... little people castle, rolly and bingo house, push cars, etc.... however this is for now, we move in March and I dont' plan it to be like this. We'll have a whole large area dedicated to the kids which we don't now so I plan on most of these toys going there... and just have a shelf or two with some stuff on them in the new living room...

  12. brownepiano

    persimmon / 1467 posts

    Growing up we had toys in the living room, and our rooms. Everything had a spot and was expected to be put away.

    My almost 5 year old has a very small selection of toys in his room. My 2.5 year old is not allowed to have toys in his room because he tends to destroy things during nap time before going to sleep. Everything else is in the living room. However, we have a large cube shelf with baskets on the bottom row for toys and a toy box. Everything has a specific home and the kids know where that home is. Duplos quickly take over the whole floor but my kids can clean up in 10 minutes. I rotate toys so we only have so many sets with lots of tiny pieces out at once. All the big trucks go in the toy box, the four baskets are full of collections (duplos, mini cars, etc) that the kids can easily sort, and puzzles are displayed 1 or 2 to a cube. We clean up every night because I teach out of my home and anyone who comes to my piano studio has to walk through our entire house to get to the studio.

    I think you should both work on a system that works for you and involves less toys available at once. Then institute a clean up every night rule, regardless of where the toys live.

    ETA: you don't have to wait to move to have less toys out. Maybe pack some away now and see how your kids do with less.

  13. Kaohinani

    grapefruit / 4144 posts

    @Ajsmommy: Both of my children have their own private play spaces as each bedroom has a split room construct. My son has a 8x8 play niche affixed to his room and my daughter has a separate room behind hers which is used as her "hangout" and Art Studio. With this stated, we STILL have a play space in the corner of our livingroom towards the dining room and entryway. The space means the children can play with favorite toys while I am working or puttering around the house and DH is either watching TV or in his office. We can keep an eye on them and they don't feel "lonley" (* a complaint of DD. DS could care less but I like keeping an eye on him as he creatively "gets into things." 😉😂) I am a neat freak (no shame) so the idea of toys strewn all over our family space makes me cringe (*I am also the main person to pick up toys, although DD is "selectively helpful" as a pre-teen AND DS is stubborn.) I remedied the clean up issue by purchasing easily accessible soft toy bins and setting up rules. The kids know they are able to play in the LR but:
    (1) Can not spread toys EVERYWHERE.
    (2) Can take out a few toys at once (this sounds mean but DS has a huge cloth bag of cars, a bin of action figures/superheroes, tons of duplos, puzzles, etc ... When he takes out the car bag, superhero bin, AND his duplos, it counts as 3 items but is a HUGE mess. 🤣)
    (3) Must put back a toy (or bag of toys) before selecting something new to take out.
    Both the rules and the bins have cut down on the clutter, as well as, have allowed DD and DS a better ability in carefully and mindfully choosing what they WANT to play with.



  14. foodiebee

    kiwi / 662 posts

    I agree with Anagram.

    When my DH tells me something that's bothering him (let's say about pets bc we're kidless until June!), if I feel like it isn't a big deal, I still respond that I hear him and ask if he can explain what about it bothers him so that I understand. If it's that the dog doesn't do XYZ, what I really end up learning is he thinks the dog is disobedient and rude through that action and it's a safety risk. While I don't see it that way, I find it helpful to understand what about it pisses him off. We had a long-running disagreement about a pet behavior and argued about it a lot. YEARS later, we finally talked about it in detail using Crucial Conversations skills, and ever since, I've been happy to modify the way I handle it to match DH's request, because while *I* think it isn't a big deal, I now understand why it's important to him. We had the same situation play out in reverse where DH now understands why I handle a behavior the way I do even though he'd harped on me about changing it, and he doesn't do it anymore. It's helped both of us feel like our wishes/concerns/feelings are being heard and respected by the other, rather than ignored/unimportant.

    I don't think you should have to handle teaching the kids to pick up their toys on your own/clean the room yourself without any help. That's ridiculous and unbalanced!! But if my DH was so upset about something that he wanted counseling, then I'm going to break out the Crucial Conversations skills and take it seriously. I'd try to phrase it in a way that'd show that I hear him, so can he help me brainstorm how we can work together to find a balanced approach to fixing it, instead of framing it as, "I work too and it's utter bs of you to put this all on me and ask me to do everything when they're your kids too step up or step off buddy!" bc while it might feel grand, it's not going to accomplish anything, and these feelings he's having don't end with your upcoming move. They're portable.

  15. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    We have toys, but I insist they get cleaned up. Like every single day almost no exceptions whatsoever. I feel like I can't relax or even think straight with a cluttered house! At the moment we have too many toys for the storage space so even put away it doesn't look great, but I require at least that! And I think it's a good habit for the kids anyway.

  16. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    @wrkbrk: that's nice! We have way more toys than that between the three kids though. (2 story house so it's hard to put things in their rooms.)

  17. RonjaL7

    apricot / 424 posts

    We have a play room with the majority of the toys, but my living room has one wicker basket bin (with connected top) from Homegoods for items that can be stored. I also have this $30 utility cart from Target that has craft items and toys in it. Then we have a small kids table and chairs (natural brown wood not crazy colored). It helps keep me sane, as I can't stand to have toys everywhere.

    https://www.target.com/p/3-tier-metal-utility-cart-made-by-design-153/-/A-53314604?preselect=53166285#lnk=sametab

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