Loving My Messy Couch: Picture Perfect Is Just an Illusion

Once upon a time, our family room couch looked like a Pottery Barn catalog. The leather was glossy and smooth to the touch, with faux fur blankets and matching throw pillows strewn about. I vowed to keep our picture-perfect couch pristine when my kids came along. How hard could that be?

Rules of no eating or drinking on the couch were instated, along with the obvious no jumping on the furniture clause. These were civilized expectations that I intended to stand by no matter the case. However, these declarations quickly went to hell in a diaper bag. My lovely couch didn’t stand a chance with three bouncing boys and parents who equally enjoyed its company.

Cushions became sticky from leaky sippy cups, diaper blowouts occurred regularly, and during the daytime, it was used more as a jungle gym than a place to perch your bottom. Holiday parties with friends ended in newfound stains and scratches galore. The springs lost their bounce as the years passed, and the leather became weathered. I had failed at keeping our couch vibrant and alive. It was time to part ways and purchase a new one.

mom and teen boy
Our couch is more than furniture.It is the respite from our fast-paced world and over-scheduled lives. (Twenty20)

Our new couch marked the beginning of a new era

Our present-day couch marked the beginning of a new era. I started strong, declaring all the rules and regulations to keep it in tip-top shape. However, as the years passed, my three boys grew into teens. Snacks became more complicated, and overflowing drinks lost their lids. The imprint from our backsides branded the cushions with endless delight as we binge-watch our favorite TV shows. Our tidy couch began its decline again, and its catalog-worthy mien became arduous to maintain.

I battled the crumbs and melody of cozy accouterments that hijacked its cushions for a while. But seriously, I drove myself bonkers trying to keep up with stringent rules and appearances. I realized quickly that I was draining the joy out of this precious piece of furniture and decided to let things go.

On most days, our couch is a mess

On most days, our coach is now layered in tattered fleece sports blankets, patchwork throws carefully knitted by loved ones, and pillows from various bedrooms that have trickled down the stairs on tired mornings. Dirty socks have taken up residence beneath it, and remnants of multiple food groups burrow between the cushions. I couldn’t be happier.

Here is the thing. Our couch lends more to its users than a convenient place to sit. It’s the staging ground for opening presents on Christmas morning. It’s the gracious host of epic teenage sleepovers and late-night shenanigans. It’s the exclusive destination for morning coffee rituals, mindless snacking, and reading into the wee hours of the night.

It is the sole entertainer for Patriot games and happily sacrifices a spring or two for each touchdown made. It’s a vault of secrets from intimate conversations with family and friends and encourages all to unload the weight of the day. At first glance, it’s the focal point of our family room, but in all honesty, it is the respite from our fast-paced world and over-scheduled lives.

While back in the day, I felt like a failure for not keeping up the day-to-day appearances of our couch, I now know this to be untrue. Our once-upon-a-time folded faux fur blankets and fluffy pillows will always be on standby for quick fixes and special occasions. However, I am delighted that on most days, our couch is tousled, probably sticky, and could use a good vacuum betwixt the cushions.

Our couch is the repository for a lot of our family history

Our 300-pound cozy contraption is a vessel of memories that no unspoiled couch could match. It hollers from the top of its lungs, WELL-LOVED, and begs to be sprawled on. So as I find myself brushing away yet another cluster of crumbs, I sit back and allow the cushions to swallow me in.

I pull from beneath me a balled-up mucky sock or two and gently toss them aside. I slowly exhale and realize that picture-perfect isn’t the orderly illusion I made inside my head. Nope! It’s right here, right now, and there is no place I’d rather be.

More Great Reading:

Empty Nester Diary: How a Single Mom Makes Peace With the Quiet

About Kelly Fredericks

Kelly is a writer, voracious reader, and the creator of Dear Mr. Hemingway, LLC, a literary website for the everyday reader. She is a contributor to ZIBBY MAG, a community host on the podcast MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO MOVE AND SHAKE, and Co-Hosts the online monthly book club, #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS.  Kelly lives in Maine with her husband, three teenage boys, a gaggle of chickens, two pet ducks, mountains of dirty laundry, and a dishwasher that always needs to be empty!

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