My family recently moved, and one of my must-haves for the rental house was a playroom. My reasons were very selfless and practical. For instance, I wanted to.
- Create a toy force field separating kid stuff from expensive stuff
- Secure my self-worth by bragging to other parents that we have an entire room dedicated to kids crap
- Cut down on time spent cleaning the family room
- Create a soothing and inspiring environment for my children (luckily I can type with a straight face)
- Fulfill my Pinterest destiny (Where else will I put my turquoise and chocolate color-coordinated bins, my clothes-pinned wall of kids artwork, and my reading nook teepee?)
A Playroom, is much the same as a butler’s pantry. It’s another room I didn’t know I needed until I started hearing that other people had them. The more I heard and read about playrooms, the more convinced I was that all household clutter, chaos, and negativity would be solved if only we had one.
The children could be sequestered there, and would play in harmony for hours at a time. Meanwhile I would spend my time in adjacent rooms watching QVC, reading and blogging. I’d occasionally pop into the playroom for a game of jacks or dominos, which could be easily cleaned up by the children, who would be eager to tidy up in their organized cubby hive with dedicated bins for each item. This toy room has even surpassed a powder room, a dining room and a guest room in my room importance ranking during the duration of the house hunt.
I was thrilled to move into a house with an extra room filled with tons of windows and shelf space. We filled the shelves with toys, put down a shag rug, and inserted a rocking horse, kitchen center and doll house. Voila!
I was quickly underwhelmed and understood that my reasons for wanting a playroom were asinine. As we now get closer to buying a house of our own, a playroom is no longer on the list of desired rooms, and here’s why:
- There is no force field included, and the kids still drag their toy debris into every room.
- A ball in the playroom is way less fun than a ball down the stairs.
- Kids don’t want their own space. They want to be where the parents are, even when their mom is as grumpy as I am most of the time.
- Family room has the word ‘family’ in it for a reason.
- When they have access to every toy from their lovely bins, they will get them all out at once and mingle the contents in an effort to test your expert sorting capabilities.
- The kind of people who care if you have a playroom are not people I like very much.
- Finally, Pinterest is nice to look at, but not real. If you took a candid photo of a Pinterest playroom right this minute, it would be a color-coordinated shit storm.
I never had a playroom, nor did I ever want one. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, no one had a playroom and we were fine. I’m pretty sure we were a lot less whiny and spoiled than MY kids and guess what? Even without a designated haven of chalkboard painted walls, tiny easels, and themed murals, we still played! We probably played MORE than my kids do, because Saturday morning was the only time I thought about looking at a screen. I was wrong when I said we didn’t have play rooms. Our playrooms were:
- The Rec Room or Unfinished basement
- Our Bedrooms
- Our friend’s houses
- The Treehouse or Fort
- The Bath Tub
- The Kitchen Table
- The floor. Any floor.
Kids are resourceful, and just like they don’t need a playroom to achieve their best play, they don’t need toys either. My train table was the basement floor, my pink princess castle tent was a sheet and some chairs, and my play food was empty food containers from Mom’s kitchen. There was no ‘toy rotation’ because we didn’t have so many toys that we had to put them on a merry-go-round schedule of display.
Outside was the ultimate playroom. Garages were for cars and people actually parked in them instead of filling them with crap. My water table was a puddle, my battery operated bubble blower was dish soap in a bucket with a bubble wand, and my kiddie pool was the sprinkler. My motorized vehicle was riding on the lawn mower with my dad, and my bug catching kit was a jar and a stick. Sidewalk chalk was white or yellow and it was made for black boards, not our creative enjoyment.
While my kids play in, and enjoy, our playroom, I know it was more for me than for them, and they’d be just as happy without it. What parent is entitled enough to think they should be exempt from stepping on a stray Lego in the family room? Maybe the same person who needs a butler’s pantry…and a butler.
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