Here's an example of normal living with a kid (or three) life. We have two floor lamps from IKEA. The first was broken within 48 hours of arrival. The second? Smashed this summer. The pretty glass bowls were sturdy...just no match for children shoving them into the wall. Sigh.
I am a big believer that children should respect the houses in which they live. Although every room is allowed in our house for play or reading, every room is not available for eating. That's the domain of the kitchen.
Toys are put up each night so we can start fresh the next day.
Jumping on furniture or ramming rolling toys into furniture is not permitted (but happens anyway).
If a stain does pop up somewhere, the girls are helped in their task of cleaning it up. I spot clean our carpet immediately. I once knew a neighbor who allowed her carpet to get trashed by her two boys. She just shrugged it off as "Kids. Meh."
Me? I don't have the money to rip up our carpeting (six years old and going strong) so stains are vanquished instantly.
I was inspired on this path by my friend Jessica who had the coolest house with eclectic furniture, perfect decor and awesome art. You know the friend whose house looks like it should be in Real Simple or BHG or HGTV magazine? That's her. Anyway, she had kids before I did and believed that little ones can enjoy nice things. Note that "nice" is not expensive...nice is lovingly and stylishly arranged. See our post about what you can do with Six Dollars.)
If you have children, you can also have a clean, artfully arranged home. I'm queen of budgeting, so I know it can be done on the cheap. Will your house be cluttered and toy-bedecked by the little darlings? Of course! But do they have to destroy it? Absolutely not. You deserve a lovely home, Mama.