July, 2006 Contest: Now that your children are out of school for the summer, is your home messier or just as neat as usual?

Congratulations to our contest winner!
Nancy Pakech of Durham, CT

Now that my children are home from school it seems as though my house is always a mess. I clean and clean but it never looks any better. I have 3 children (ages 9,8 and 6) a dog, cat and 2 fish. And I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning, trying to decorate. I’m a stay at home Mom and I want to spend the time with my kids before they are too old.
I wish, more than anything, that I could say “the heck with it” and not be embarrassed when someone comes over, but as much as I’ve tried, I can’t. So many of my friends have a knack for decorating and I love their homes and want to achieve the same end, but can’t. The good thing is that we do have a nice home, in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids. Time and time again I’ve tried to make changes to make our house look decent and also be “liveable” for our family. My husband tries to do as much work around the house as he can, constantly trying to make thingd look attractive, but it takes forever: He works a full-time, stressful job. It definitely is affecting our homelife, all of the time we spend trying to get it right but it is not happening. I try to work within our budget and I don’t really mind shopping at Marshall’s, Target, etc. But I am not a good decorator. Please, please help me – help me get over not entertaining or inviting guests over to my home because of my lack of decorating skills.
We don’t want to move or change anything structural, we just are desperate for decorating help. For my children’s and husband’s sake and sanity, please help us!