In honor of Mother’s Day, we polled moms about the features they look for in a home. Initially, the wishes were for an un-disturbable bathroom (alone time) and a self-cleaning kitchen. Yeah, sorry, that doesn’t exist. But, there are some essential home features mom love and want in their home (so listen up, dads and kids).
Clear sight lines from the kitchen
This could fall into a full open-concept floorplan, or just a kitchen with a good view of the family room. Moms don’t like being trapped in the kitchen, cut off from family activity. Plus, we all know what kids get up to when they think mom isn’t looking! Of all the home features moms love, this was a unanimous first choice.
The separate dining area is nice. But let’s face it, life happens in the kitchen. Whether it’s a big island where family & friends can gather or a great nook, it’s a mom must.
For moms with a big family, the dishes pile up quickly. Double dishwashers are that “something extra” of home features moms love, but they aren’t always possible given the space constraints of some kitchens. A number of brands are making a single dishwasher with easy-load two drawers to increase options for light and heavy loads. Every mom has their ideal features, so ask her before you run down to the hardware store. Read best dishwasher reviews from independent sites as well. Personally, my litmus test is being able to put in a glass dish with stuck-on cheese from yesterday (don’t judge) and have it come out clean.
Tile grout is a nightmare to clean and maintain; wood counters are nice-looking but a bacteria factory (plus you have to oil them). Moms want easy-care surfaces that are easy to wipe up and don’t harbor germs. No-fingerprint stainless and fixtures are a dream come true. And who can put a price on the waterproof carpet pad?
Main floor or upstairs laundry
It seems like a cruel trick that the clothes are all upstairs, but you have to drag them down to the basement or garage, and up again. For basement launderers, it feels being imprisoned in a poorly-lit dungeon to fold clothes. For garage laundry laborers, it seems ironic to be cleaning clothes in the dirtiest space of the house.
A main floor laundry at least makes it possible to watch TV while you’re folding, and keep the noise away from light sleepers. Upstairs fans enjoy the ability to easily transport dirty and clean items – and even eliminate hampers altogether if there’s room for a sorter in the laundry room.
This is the sacred no-kids-no-husbands-allowed guest bathroom that keeps mom from freaking out when unexpected guests arrive. It’s the one glam spot with matching towels that’s free of Legos, soap spills and grubby hand marks.
The long, steep flight of stairs (especially uncarpeted) is the stuff of mom nightmares. Visions of things tumbling down – from kids in laundry baskets (real-life experience here) to, well, everything – gets moms to wish for nicely padded switchback stairs (hey, it’s a lot shorter distance to fall). Plus, they’re prettier and a nice place to put that Christmas garland.
A great backyard
If you’ve got a kid-friendly backyard, the kids will want to be there (and so will their friends). It needs to have enough grass for a level playing field, a shaded area, no hazards (i.e. fish pond) and a privacy fence. Plus, you have to have room for the swing set and/or trampoline. For southern mamas, the pool (with security screen) is a way of life.
Moms are planners. Whether saving that item “just-in-case” or for a future event, these money-saving measures need a home. The shed also provides an easy-access place for seasonal décor and gardening must-haves. Make no mistake. This is no spider-home guy shed. The She Shed has become a fashionable space, serving as storage and a much-needed getaway for girl time, reading and crafting. If we can’t go to the bathroom alone, we can at least have a place to binge-watch This is Us when the kids are sleeping (or dad is on duty).
Dirt, mud, water, grass. If it’s outside, it will come in. The mudroom provides mom that one chance to get the dirty stuff off the kids before they bring it in. It’s also a great place for backpacks and smelly sports stuff. Not all houses have enough space to build one, but an entry can be fashioned with easy-clean surfaces, built-ins, bench and boot trays. It’s one of those home features moms dream about.
Who loves hanging on to the vacuum while doing the stairs? These pain-in-the-back mom problems are solved with a central vacuum system. Imagine not having to empty the vacuum every 10 minutes. Or easily sweeping the endless crumbs into a baseboard vent. *sigh*
Clutter makes a house hard to keep clean, and drives mom crazy. Homes with plenty of storage, from closets to built-ins, gives no one an excuse to leave stuff on the floor. Moms also like a back-up pantry in the basement or garage for all those stock-up items. Off-the-floor storage in the garage is essential for homes without a basement.
By Susha Roberts (mom of four), with thanks to all the moms who gave their input!
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