How to create a cozy retreat and center of life for your child


​A few years ago, I had an interview with the delightful Nic Scholtysik of A Home Worth Having.

Nic is an interior designer and specializes in designing interiors with the occupants in mind. In other words, not (just) what’s hip and trendy at the moment – but what helps the emotional balance above all.

When I first read about this particular aspect of her, it immediately caught my attention. 

Although this interview happened a long time ago, I believe this message is timeless and can be repeatedly shared!

After all, where is emotional balance more important than in the new center of life after being physically separated from a toxic Ex?

Especially when there are always terrible child hand-overs as long as the children are small?

Many mothers who follow me report again and again about their powerlessness and helplessness that overcomes them as soon as they give their children into contact and experience the toxic child father as particularly manipulative and overpowering in the life of their child.

Do you wonder:

  • What can I do so that the Ex does not succeed with his manipulations?
  • How can I convince my child not to believe the lies he tells about me?
  • How can I protect my child from the narcissistic actions?
  • How can I strengthen my child?
  • What can I do to make him stop?

Many mothers are especially stuck on the last question

But, sweetheart, if you are one of them, what do you want to do to make him stop being a narcissist?

Do you want to sue him and force him to say or do this and that? That already didn’t work in your relationship, did it?

It is a toad, but you will have to swallow it sooner or later – you cannot influence his actions, let alone control them.

And therefore, when your child goes to their toxic father, it is called letting go.

Nevertheless, I would like to encourage you at this point to adopt a different attitude. For your child, who needs you to be especially clear and distinct. So that it has an orientation.

A lighthouse.

The clearer you stand as a lighthouse, the more stable and helpful you will be in your role as the mother of a child with a toxic-narcissistic father.

Please keep reminding yourself: you are the other 50 percent of parenthood! 

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Now how do you become a calm and clear lighthouse?

By exploring all the ways you can ground yourself and bring yourself into emotional balance.

For some, it’s sports and yoga. For others, it’s reading or meditating. For a third group, it’s quiet, reflective exchanges with a good friend or with your own mother.

And today I would like to share another aspect with you: Your home and thus the current center of your child’s life.

You have probably already lovingly created a delightful sanctuary for your child’s room, haven’t you? In my Facebook group of strong mothers I see from time to time wonderful examples of cute children’s rooms – mostly for kindergarten or elementary school kids… In pre-puberty the rooms are no longer so presentable.

However, I’m not so sure if it’s really that important how nicely the children’s room is decorated and furnished.

Especially in our case, where the kids are torn between a toxic and an empathic parent, smaller kids especially need a lot of physical closeness and cuddle time. And where does that usually take place?

Sure – in the living room!

So my question to you: What does your living room look like?

Does it radiate tranquility and joie de vivre?

Is it light or rather dark?

Is there enough air to breathe or is everything cluttered?

Do you have high cupboards and open shelves where you constantly see all the things you haven’t read or done yet? Possibly even above your head?

Do you have a cozy sofa and nice indirect light?

Bottom line: Do YOU feel comfortable in it?

Can you find peace in it?

Or are you constantly reminded of what you still have to do?

Do you like to look at it – can’t get enough of the shelf or the wall with the great picture?

Nic recommends – this of course immediately makes sense to us – bright furniture, good light and low furniture that doesn’t stick out above our heads.

Now we all have to make compromises – in most cases we have to be satisfied with smaller apartments and now have more stuff in the household due to the child, which did not exist before when we were single.

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


There is always potential for optimization if you look around you

All the books that you haven’t read yet and that you don’t really want to read anymore because the titles don’t appeal to you – or because you’re not ready yet – and that make you feel bad, you can put away for now so that you don’t see them anew every day and the bad feeling is immediately perceived in your subconscious. Yes, even if it’s just a mini-second! There might be a place for unread books that you go to whenever you’re bored or run out of reading material.

The books that you will never read, you can sell at the next flea market or give away on occasion.

Or do you still have old mementos and photos from the time with your ex in the living room? Get rid of them, and fast!

Does your living room need a new, bright coat of paint?

Maybe that would be a good activity for a child-free weekend, what do you think? A room can usually be done very quickly and the costs are manageable.

I myself have to make a big compromise as a self-employed person – my living room is also my office and video studio, so I don’t really have many options in our small 3-room apartment, and I also readily admit that it bothers me colossally. But it will definitely only stay like this for a short time, at the latest next year we will move!

But unless you’re self-employed and even live in a 4- or even 5-room apartment or house, take a particularly critical look around.

Does your living room support you in staying in your emotional balance or grounding yourself again and again? 

Which things haven’t you touched for more than a year, what doesn’t interest you anymore? What can be thrown out altogether right away? What could be placed in a room that is not so important? (Now please don’t necessarily think of the bedroom – you should be allowed to sleep peacefully and not have to do it in a storage room).


Another important issue is large green plants. I love plants – but when the floor space is small, large plants look like heavy pieces of furniture and you can no longer move freely. Let alone romp around the apartment with the little ones!

For me, there was a clear rule about this from the very beginning with my toddler: all toys must be taken out of the livin room and back into the children’s room and tidied up after playtime.

See what I’m getting at?

Before you focus on what will be good for your child in the current situation, consider all the ways YOU can calm down and become more balanced, especially if your toxic Ex is giving you hell right now.

So that you become a lighthouse for your child.

And believe me – your child feels where he can come to rest and where not!

What’s your current situation? What will you tackle next in your living room and clean out? Leave me a comment below, I’m sure it will inspire other moms too! Thank you so much, sweetheart!

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