I’m so excited to present this guest post to you! Written by Anne Baldwin, a mother of two active little boys, a supportive wife to a busy realtor, and from what I’ve observed, a conquerer of many different interests and talents. How she does it all, I have yet to figure out.
Anne is the definition of a Modern Homemaker; she’s confident in her many ventures, honest about the struggles that come with the titles of mother and wife, and she exudes grace; not to mention she’s in the “hot mom” category of model gorgeousness.
Here’s some great advice for kicking butt in the DIY realm from Anne:
Two years ago we bought a house. A cute little colonial in a suburb of NYC in Bloomfield NJ. We quickly got to work ripping up carpets, we finished floors, I white washed the fireplace, and we painted over the dark maroon and hunter green paint that adorned all (and I mean, all) of the walls. A few months after moving in, I was pregnant with baby number 2. It was a tough pregnancy so DIY projects were put on the back burner; including our largest project, 1970’s purple floral bathroom which also happens to be the only bathroom in the house.
Fast forward to this spring…. My husband was traveling constantly for work and I was at the end of my term of being president of a nonprofit. We decided that those 2 things combined with our 3 year old and almost 1 year old, that this would be the perfect time to completely gut and renovate the bathroom (note the sarcasm). My dad offered to help with this project so he packed his truck full of tools and headed out from MI to NJ. We moved into my in-laws house at the end of April and planned to be there for 2 weeks while the construction was being done. Of course DIY projects never go as planned and thanks to the surprises that come with a 100 year old home, our 2 week project turned into 6 weeks.
Doing a massive DIY project with 2 small children in the home was not an easy feat. Keeping Gus out of the supplies so he wouldn’t put every single thing in his mouth and Levi getting upset because he couldn’t help with much, was at times enough to make me want to quit the project and put the house up for sale with a half finished bathroom. But, we persevered and in the end I am SO glad we took on this project. I won’t bore you with a step by step process but I will tell you what I learned from this both as a parent and from a DIY standpoint-
- Have Grace: living somewhere other than your own home is hard enough on an adult, but even harder on a small child. Expect some behavior you may not love or expect because of this. When my 4 year old would act out I had to figure out if it was because of all of the changes or just because he was just misbehaving. I didn’t necessarily let bad behavior slide, but I would try to weigh the situation to understand where those frustrations were coming from.
- Be flexible: once we got the project started we quickly ran into one problem after another that derailed our time line (like no support beams under the floor!!!) and some of the design plans. Before taking on a project of this size expect that things may not go as planned and add some extra padding onto your timeline. Also be prepared to possibly scratch or add some ideas you have for the end product.
- Do what you have to do: When it comes to the kids, do what you have to do to keep them entertained and happy so the project can get done. While I made sure to keep them on their schedules and routines as much as possible, sometimes it just wasn’t possible. They had a little more TV and games than usual, a few more sugary snacks than I normally would like, and spent a little extra time at preschool or with their babysitter. Is that the ideal situation? It wasn’t for me, but it allowed me to stay calm when things got frustrating and kept them happy.
- Have fun and be proud!: DIY is can be super frustrating and time consuming when it is happening, but when it’s done, it is SO worth it. I can look at my bathroom and feel so proud that it was my literal blood, sweat, and tears that went into it. I created the design, chose all of the products and fixtures, and I learned so much along the way that this was an experience I’ll be proud of for a long time. I even learned how to solder a pipe and install a drain!
- Moms can do anything: It’s true, put your mind to it and you can do anything! Not everyone has time to do something as major and time consuming as a bathroom. But even if it’s painting some picture frames or painting a bedroom, you can do it! Find some ”you time” (mine tends to be when both boys go to bed) and work on your project. Even if it takes a few weeks to finish, it provides you time to focus on just you.
Thank you for sharing, Anne!
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