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Can mothers let their children play with Legos on the formal dining room table?

My formal dining room table is covered with Lego bins, and there are Lego’s on the floor and ground into the carpet. Is there a rule for formal dining room use?

Legos in the formal dining room

Clearly the builder of my house wanted this room used for formal dining and not as a playroom for Lego’s as there is a hanging light in the center of the room.

Usually the Lego’s are only up from the basement storage area for two days, or maybe three, and then I put all of the Lego’s back in the tubs, rake the carpet for Lego hands and heads and put the dining room back into a sterile oasis. Trying to make my house look like a home I saw in a magazine while I stood in the grocery store waiting to pay for my food.

Who made the rules for formal dining rooms?

Okay now, who made the rules for formal dining rooms? Was it an editor in Good Housekeeping? Or maybe Emily Post made the rules? I know it is not in the Bible. There is no commandment about how to use a dining room. “Thou shalt have a formal dining room because the builder designed your home that way.  And though shalt never allow your child to build with Lego’s on the dining room table.”

What is a dining room suppose to look like? What rules are mothers supposed to follow? Is there a rule I should follow? I am a mother. Please tell me.

I have spent years trying to follow the rules. Trying to fit in to what others expect. Yes, even to what I thought my dining room should be used for.

Today I was going to pack up the Lego’s again, rake the carpet for Lego arms and heads and put all the Lego’s back in the basement.

If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?
― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

 Are you trying to wear the perfect mother mask?

And then I realized something. I forgot who I really was. What kind of mother do I want to be? What kind of mother am I? What mask had I willingly put on. The perfect mother mask. Perfect mothers don’t let their children play with Lego’s on the formal dining room table.

I don’t want this mask anymore.

I don’t have to put away the Lego’s.

And neither do you.

Do what ever you want to do with your formal dining room.

Please don’t let a builder or a magazine or your neighbor tell you how to use your formal dining room. Please feel free to be yourself.  You have the freedom to use your dining room however you want to.

If you only want to use your formal dining room as a place to eat, go for it. If you want to have Lego’s all over the table, on the floor and ground into the carpet, do it, have fun.

Because life is not a display, and your home is not a show-room.

There are no rules on how you use your house. There are no rules that say you can not turn your family room into an office or your dining room into a sewing station and Lego play area.

Are you living life with a mask on your face? You don’t have to. Be the mother you want to be.

My mask is coming off.

I wonder who I really am?

I think I am the mother with Lego tubs in her dining room. The mother who would rather build a city out of Lego bricks with her children than dust a dining room table that no one uses.

Who are you? What kind of mother are you?


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Love Pamela

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About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    I love legos. Maybe i could get them again.

  • Pamela- We should use the rooms in our homes as we see fit, not as others expect us to. I knew a guy whose living room was his art studio and gallery. As for masks, I’m an artist in a police chief’s body. I’ve been a cop for 25 years but never abandoned my underlying identity as an artist.

    • Hello Artist friend who lives where I use to and where I wish I lived now,
      You are so right John. We should use the rooms in our homes as we see fit. I am curious to see what the artist does when the cop retires.

  • Kaye

    I love this, Pamela! Wanna’ see what I wrote in my journal this morning?

    “I like how Pamela Hodges writes. She writes the way I want to write. She often teaches me something and she very often makes me chuckle. But the real reason I read her stuff is that she makes me want to write. She inspires me. When I read her stuff, I find myself nodding and thinking, “I wish I had written this” or “I want to write like this.” So fresh. So real.

    “I am desperately trying to cut back on my subscriptions to protect my inbox from being taken over, but I must keep this one because Pamela somehow keeps me in touch with my true writer self.”
    Thank you, my friend.

    • Oh Kaye,
      You are too kind. And this morning I was just thinking I should not write as often. Your words were like a warm sunbeam on a cold winter day, or like a breath of fresh air on a muggy day, or like a warm piece of toast with honey.
      Keep writing Kaye. Write from your heart. Write like you.
      You are very welcome.
      Thank you, my friend.

  • Sue Sutherlin

    What? You have a Lego room in your house? AWESOME! I always wished for a place in my house where the Legos could stay out all the time – alas, no such space existed. I had a friend who had a walk in closet that was devoted to Legos. You can always put the Legos away for a little while if you want to eat in the ‘formal’ dining room.

    • Hello Sue,
      Yes, the Formal Lego Dining Room. Soon it will become the Formal Lego Dining Room and Formal Sewing Room of small plush figures and perhaps the Formal Sewing Room for Catnip Toys.
      And when we have company, the tubs will be stacked around the room on the floor. No more dragging them back to the basement. Who knows, the company might want to play with them after dinner.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    WHen you & your brother were small there were no “legos, but, there were tubs of “tinker toys”, you & Neal would spend hours in the dinning room building towers or whatever with the tinker toys. That was fun too, as they were sort of sticks with round disks with holes in where you would put the stick so they didn’t really get ground into the rug. Not sure how I would have handled that……….. 🙂 Everyone should be the Mother they want to be & not worry about what others think they should be!!

    • Hi Mom,
      We always had fun, my brother and I. I just hated making the salad for supper, and always seemed to get a stomach ache when we had to dry dishes.

      • Berdeane Bodley

        Hey Pamela, do you remember when I came to visit you in Calgary & you asked me to make the salad, I called my girlfriend fist, then you reminded me I was supposed to be making the salad, then I said okay, right away & I did something else……..we had fun times didn’t we????

  • jennieb

    Legos! I thought I was the only one with a Lego covered dining room!

    • Hi jenni b,
      Another Lego mother. So happy to meet you!

  • Hurrah for the legos in the dining room! In my former house, rarely did anyone enter the dining area. We sat and ate and played at our wonderful booth in the kitchen. Now I have an office room with a little table piled high with teacher stuff that I want to keep out. I have a lovely ‘new’ dining table in the large room that’s also the living room. Since I live alone, ‘that’ table is my workspace too, filled with piles of curriculum, articles I want to read, to keep, to share; books to read next.. Well, you get the picture. Enjoy the legos, surely no one lives in those living and dining rooms on the magazine covers!

    • Hello Linda,
      Your home sounds like it is full of love and creative ideas. What is the first book on your pile to read next? I am so stuck on self-help books I would love a book suggestion.
      You are right, I’ll bet no one lives in those dining rooms on the magazine covers. Maybe a cat.

      • Don’t know if you want adult or children’s, but one blogger keeps talking about Little Bee, which I have not read yet, but have. And I recently read The Family Romanov-wonderful nf! Best wishes finding a book, Pamela!

        • Thank you for the book suggestions Linda. I always love to discover a new author.

  • Lee Ann Spillane

    Amen! I’m a dining room table take over mother too. Love the descriptions and joy in this slice. Who needs a room that gets used maybe three times a year (unless you like to eat fancy and formal every week). We need to rename that room.

    • Hello Lee Ann,
      A fellow dining room table take over mother too. What do you suggest we name the room? The Lego Room?

  • Mary Helen Gensch

    Bravo! I love the quote. What a wonderful mom you are to allow your children to be creative in the formal dining room. Great way to use the space. Some day you will use your formal dining room when they are older. For now, embrace the fun.

    • Hello Mary,
      Yes, one day there will be no one to play with the Lego tubs and my dining room will be used for eating at Christmas and Easter.
      I think I will just have to turn it into a painting studio first.
      And for now, I will embrace the fun.

  • jencherry

    I’m a mother with toys all over the living room, kitchen, and “fake” formal dining room. The evidence of my two year old can be found in my car, my purse, my bathroom, my sink, and pretty much my clothes.

    It’s perfect 🙂

    And I never understood formal dining rooms…seems like a waste of space for me!

    • Hello Jen,
      Your comment reads like a short story. I love that there are so many places with evidence of your two year old. Yes, perfect.
      And I agree, a waste of space. I would have rather had tile floors and a sky-light. Every home should have a painting studio and not a formal dining room. Who needs so many places to eat!