Parenthood—in all stages, emotions, and variations of mess—is beautiful, and stepping into the home of a parent feels unexplainably different. There is often something homey, pure, and unapologetically real about a home with kids in it.
From the pictures on the walls to the furniture in the living room, here are six telltale signs you’re a parent, based on your home.
1. Your Decor Exudes Warmth
When someone steps foot into your house, they are immediately welcomed with feelings of acceptance, safety, and care. This is unconscious to the guest(s), and perhaps something you’re not even aware of.
Perhaps without even thinking, you have decorated the mantel with framed pictures of loved ones, ordered soft couches and sofa chairs, and outfitted the living space with cozy blankets.
Your decor exudes warmth and comfort, your door (and your heart) are always open to others—fellow T-ball coaches, PTA parents, and hoards of your kids' friends.
2. Comfort Can Be Found in Every Room
One of the telltale signs you’re a parent is that you focus on comfort and functionality above anything else. You have swapped designer armchairs for cozy recliners, exquisite art for your child’s finger paintings, and a fancy table for the dented roundtable that has been in your family for years.
You are far more focused on celebrating time together, embracing the people around you, and living in the moment. (Besides, it's hard to keep things looking formal and fancy when there are messy kids and teens around.)
3. Connection Is Prioritized Over Cleanliness
You are a parent. This means your life is always pulled in three hundred directions. You are constantly dancing between work, household chores, and play. You are often tired, yet you find a way to move forward because this is what parenthood asks of you. And you wouldn’t change a thing.
When someone walks into your space, they won't see a space that is the picture of cleanliness. Instead, they see piles of shoes at the door, dir smudged by the back staircase, and dog hair nestled in the crevices of the couch. They see fingerprints on the glass windows and crumbs from last night’s dinner still under the table.
They see mess, yes. But what they feel is love—real love.
4. The Evidence of Your Children Is Everywhere
Perhaps one of the biggest telltale signs you’re a parent is that the evidence of your children is everywhere—from the second someone opens your front door. There are pictures and homework papers on the table, toys like little landmines on the carpet, and alphabet letter magnets stuck to the fridge. There are sippy cups in every corner, or, if you have teenagers, laundry piled next to the hamper instead of inside.
In fact, your home is probably designed with your children in mind. Playrooms on the first floor, baby gates protecting the crawling toddler from reaching the stairs, or a "tv room" for the teen to play video games with their friends.
The evidence of your children is everywhere. Your home, undoubtedly, screams "I am a parent.” And, even if you don’t feel that it is as pretty or as put together as someone else’s house, it is embraced and appreciated because it is uniquely yours.
5. There Are Definite Signs of Life
In a house where kids live, you will never open the door and wonder whether or not people live there. You will never wander through the rooms and question how everything is so perfectly kept and organized. And you will may never take a deep, slow breath soaking in the pure silence.
Instead, you will chuckle at the unfinished projects in every room. You will smile with understanding at the laundry piled high. And you will recognize the cacophony of sounds—the teenager’s music upstairs, the baby’s white noise machine, and the pounding footsteps of kids running from room to room with no awareness of how much noise they are making.
6. You Have Been Embarrassed About Your Home, But Other Parents Get It
If you are a parent, you probably invited guests over and apologized for the mess. You might have even tried to shove a few toys in a basket as you walked by.
Chances are, you’ve been embarrassed about the state of your home. But the truth is, the people you invite over love you for who you are—mess and all. They don’t judge you for the things that are "out of place." They don’t see the crumbs or dirt as something to be ashamed of, but rather something to celebrate because they show you’re too busy living life to worry about how ‘perfect’ everything is to someone else.
And really, they probably have a messy home too! If they are parents too, you can be sure their home is just like yours.