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Jane Roper

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Jane Roper is the author of the memoir Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins and blogger at Her writing has appeared on Babble, Salon, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and the upcoming anthology The Push: Birth Stories for the 21st Century. Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.

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Do your kids’ rooms look like this?

By Jane Roper |

Exhibit A: Friends in bed

So, in the vein of my post about how Pinterest makes me feel inadequate, I have a question: Does any any kids’ room actually look like the rooms in, say, the Pottery Barn Kids catalog? Or Pinterest, for that matter?

And, related questions: are your kids’ rooms as irredeemably messy as my girls’ is?

I would love for their room to look adorable and cozy and neat, and occasionally (like, maybe once every other month?) I go in there and do a real number on the place. And it’s never actually dirty. It’s not total bedlam (ha ha, get it?) either. But with two five-year-olds and all of their five-year-old quirks and possessions, maintaining lasting, picturesque neatness is just not a realistic possibility.

At any given time, if you walked into Elsa and Clio’s room, you would see:

1. Unmade or only partially made beds. I try to at least pull up the covers in the morning if I’ve got time, but lately that’s been difficult because (see exhibit A, above) the girls are going through this thing where they put TEN THOUSAND “friends” in their beds (so that they themselves end up sleeping in, like, a six inch-wide space) and insist that they stay there all the time. Clio, in particular, gets really bent out of shape if anyone moves them. Sigh.

2. Library books on the floor / under the beds. I think it’s the cellophane dust covers. They’re just so….slidey. The girls bring books onto their beds to read at “quiet time” and they inevitably end up scattered about like so many, er, library books on the floor.

2a. Other books on the floor / under the beds. But it’s great that they like reading so much, right?

Exhibit B: Dresser Top

3. Dresser drawers not fully closed, and frequently with bits of clothing peeking out. (And if you opened the drawers, you’d find semi-chaos as well) I hate this, but it’s mostly my fault, really. We have all the girls’ clothes in one dresser, and this is getting more difficult as their clothes get bigger, and as they have more things  they each think of as their own, as opposed to wearing the same clothes interchangeably. They also just have too damned many clothes (we get lots of hand-me-downs) and are sort of between sizes at the moment. AND it doesn’t help that when they pick out their own clothes, they completely unfold everything and toss it about, Yoda-like. (Too nerdy and obscure a reference? I’ll take my chances.)

4. Crap all over the top of the dresser. (Exibit B). Somehow the dresser has become a dumping ground for crap. All the little stuff that the girls “collect,” the scraps of paper and artwork / toys / rocks / shells / etc. they are attached to at any given moment, their barrettes and elastics, random toiletry items, books, clothes that won’t fit into the jammed dresser drawers, etc. It’s a free-for-all.

Exhibit C: "Fort"

5. Sacred spaces. (See Exhibit C. Note books on floor, semi-unmade bed, and small green bowl of pink Styrofoam peanuts, which used to live on the dresser). Does this look like a fort to you? Not to me either. But it is. These things are forever getting built, and it doesn’t seem worth the trouble to dismantle them, given how upset it makes the girls. I mean, it’s not like the Queen is coming over or anything, right? And even if she did (if she ever returns my calls), she’d most likely stay downstairs. (We’d bring out the good china, of course.)

Indeed, I suppose it doesn’t really matter. The neatnik in me — who, although he has become far quieter ever since I had children, does still exist — just shudders a bit now and then.


DOUBLE TIME, my memoir of parenting twins and battling depression (among other things) is now available for pre-order!

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About Jane Roper


Jane Roper

Jane Roper is the author of the memoir Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins and blogger at Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.

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15 thoughts on “Do your kids’ rooms look like this?

  1. Michele says:

    This just described my 4-year old twins room to the T! Too funny!

  2. nutterbutter says:

    did you check under the pillows..or IN the pillows? What about IN the shoes?
    Yes…the bedroom looks the same to me.

  3. Cheryl says:

    My girls’ room looks similar… and their uncle and aunt in CA bought them a HUGE caterpillar because it looked cozy and fun for Christmas. Mommy is not amused since it makes the room even more cluttered looking.

  4. Diera says:

    Yeah, pretty much. My daughter’s room is always carpeted with books, plush animals, and toys. Also, right at the moment she alternates between sleeping in her bed and sleeping on the floor, so one corner of the room is taken up with her ‘nest’ of blankets and pillows.

  5. Tracy Hahn-Burkett says:

    My six-year-old daughter’s room looks exactly like this. (Except for the styrofoam peanuts. Those things are banned in my house because they creep me out. They stick to you and they never let go.) In fact, periodically, I get this crazy idea that she should clean up her room and when she does, it doesn’t look any different. Hmm…

    Do you think our kids’ future college roommates are in trouble? If they’re lucky, maybe they’ll all room with each other. :)

  6. Isabelle says:

    thank you for an honest post and photos of real kids rooms! Pinterest and many other mom blogs make me feel super inadequate with their designer nurseries and kids’ rooms. I keep wanting to make some changes to my son’s room but he’s happy with his room how it is (cluttered and full of stuff he won’t let go of). I clean around and under his stuff and its not so messy as to be hazardous in any way so for now I’ve decided its his space and I want him to feel comfortable in it and have his treasures.

  7. Rachel says:

    Yup, yup, yup. Your description fits Evie’s room completely. The top of her dresser is always a mess, her bed is never made, she currently had 8 rolls of duct tape on the floor, as well as a haphazard heap of duct tape crafts, and she has half-finished projects and art supplies all over the place. And that is on the neat side of the room. She has a 4′X4′ corner of the room that is jammed with paper bags full of old drawings and projects she couldn’t part with. I used to droll over the Container Store catalog, making grand plans for finally organizing everything….but I have just finally given up on neatness in there. I told her I didn’t care anymore whether her room was neat, and she cheered. Now I just close my eyes when I walk by. I did have to insist on four rules: (1) no dirty clothes on the floor (hamper is easily accessible); (2) no scissors on the floor; (3) no dirty Kleenex on the floor; and (4) nothing on the floor in the direct path between her bed and the door, in case someone needs to walk through in the dark in the middle of the night. (We already have a “no food upstairs” rule – otherwise that would have been the fifth rule of her room.)

    Interestingly, her sister appears to be a neat freak. She insists that we clean up her toys before she goes to bed, and she enjoys lining things up in an orderly fashion. I may start spending more time in her room.

  8. mama de marlie says:

    i think as long as under the dresser there aren’t actually the surprise 100 stale french fries, each with their own name, and a bunch of groupie flies…you’re good. i can deal with the clutter, but some stuff just has to be in its place. i can’t take finding the cash register money all over the place – it bugs me to no END!!!! keep it in the drawer!!!

  9. Michele says:

    Hahahahaha. You have been in Cooper’s room haven’t you. Or mine for that matter. I am so not a neat freak. I finally have curtains that match a color in the quilt on my bed. I think that is the first time since I was 8 that that has happened. Cooper’s room is a mish mash, and we are all okay with it.

  10. Korinthia Klein says:

    I thought I was clever in getting my girls beds with drawers underneath because then there would be nothing to look for under the beds. So they cram stuff between the mattress and the wall. I got so fed up with the mess I declared a no toy rule in their room for a while, but Mona just started ‘hiding’ things in pillowcases. Ugh.

  11. Mary G. says:

    My twins’ room looks exactly the same! In addition to covering their room in lots of little stuff they “collect,” art projects, and small mixed-up pieces of toys, they have also covered their cute Pottery Barn quilts with cheap/ugly Scooby Doo blankets and Harry Potter sleeping bags they found in the basement (cast-offs from older siblings). My question for you all — how come some of the homes I visit have beautiful catalog-ready kids’ rooms? Do the Moms/Dads constantly pick up? How do they achieve this? Never going to happen for us anyway, but I am genuinely curious about these homes where I don’t see lots of art projects and pieces of toys lying all over the place. How do they do it?

  12. Cindy says:

    My twins are 3.5 and their room looks like this too. Every night before they go to bed I go in and set up their room, remove the toys/books/costumes/dolls, etc. and neaten it up because I don’t want to deal with an accident in the middle of the night when they are coming into my room (yes, we are still in that stage, argh!). I used to do it during the day too, make them do it with me or “clean” it themselves but it looks the same within minutes. So, once a day. Their older sister is 7.5 and she tries really hard to keep her room clean, it’s just her nature. but the drawers are always hanging open with clothes popping out and DEAR GOD, DON’T open her closet – you will be injured in the landslide.

  13. EdnaKay says:

    Yes, my kid’s room looks like that, too.

    When ohdeedoh gets me down, I just imagine that beautiful day when we win the lottery and I can send EdnaJunior out with Mary Poppins while I carefully remove 2.5 years of sticky tape infestations, then take a nap in the cabana.

  14. Marnie says:

    I am SO unbelievably THRILLED to see another Mom – especially another Mom with five year old twin girls – pissed off at Pottery Barn and Pinterest! YAY! My girls, like yours are collectors of all things ODD. And it’s the grouping of the items that really gets me – totally schizophrenic. On any given day I can open a play purse and find two princess dolls, a plastic lemon, three old bottle caps, a ticket from last summer’s fair and some strange scrap of paper that I assume is trash only to be told otherwise whenI attempt to throw it out. I try. I really do. I WANT their room to look nice and land-of-nod-ish. But it’s never going to happen. And like you said, it’s not DIRTY. Just weird and jumbled and quirky. And I’m okay with that. Hubby and I have actually started taking photos of the random toy placements when they strike us as funny. I’m thinking of making an album of just strange toy / grouping placements because it’s so damn funny. Today I found Ken and Skipper sitting toe to toe in the bathroom of their dollhouse with the tub upside-down over Skipper’s legs, a plastic leopard next to Ken and Ken was also wearing a bridal veil. I felt like I needed to give them some privacy – or at least a cigarette! BTW – I only found your blog recently via your interview you did with Liz but I LOVE it! It’s so refreshing to see honest and REAL twin mamas!!!!

  15. Jane Roper says:

    @Marnie — thanks so much!! Nice to make your virtual acquaintance. That’s great that you’re taking pictures of all the hilarious groupings of toys. We get them all the time, too. (I recently posted a picture on my Baby Squared facebook page of Clio’s bed — which has become even MORE full of “friends” than before — and now, in the middle of all the toys and stuffed animals is the plastic bowl full of Styrofoam packing peanuts. Of course! It must be cozy with all the rest!)

    Thanks for reading! xoxo JR

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