I have five kids. Yep, five, from ages newborn to tween. My husband and I also have careers we love. To say I'm busy is a serious understatement. Don't even ask me about sleep (because I seriously miss sleep). Most days, I manage to feed them, clothe them, and get them where they need to be on time. Well, not always on time, but I try. How do I do it? Honestly, most days I'm totally a hot mess. Fortunately, over the past few years, I've learned some parenting hacks every hot mess mom already knows (and the rest of you "put together" moms definitely need to know).
Most of these tricks fall into the categories of no longer caring and no longer having the time or energy to care. Things like makeup short cuts, shaving my head, and dressing for comfort have all made this crazy life a little more manageable. I seriously don't care what people think, and I have stopped trying to please people who don't matter. Besides, I couldn't please everyone even if I tried, so what's the point?
Also, I try not to fight at meal times and bedtime, and have figured out ways to stop tantrums before they start. Spoiler alert: always bring snacks and develop a sense of humor about any and all mistakes. I have learned other hacks over the years, too, like how to manage conversations with other adults when you have serious social anxiety, because having kids generally means interacting with others no matter how much you'd like to stay at home and hide out in a pillow fort.
How do I do it and keep sane? TBH, I don't know about sane part (if you figure that out, please let me know), but I have learned a few hacks that help me get through the day and occasionally look like I know what I'm doing (because I totally don't most of the time).
Leggings Are Life
Leggings are the perfect clothing item for you and your kids. They can be dressed up, dressed down, worn to yoga or to bed. They allow you to hop out of bed and into your car with ease (just don't forget your coffee or your kids).
Skip Pajamas And Dress Your Kids In Tomorrow's Clothes
Tomorrow's clothes make fine pajamas if you ask me, and make for fewer morning fights and loads of laundry. Win win.
Buy Some BB Cream
If I don't have time in the morning for makeup, and I rarely do, I throw on some BB cream. It hides a myriad of sins and can be applied when you are still half asleep.
Get Punk Rock Hair
Seriously, shave it off, spike it up, or do both with a faux hawk. It makes your hair so easy to manage and always makes a statement with little to no effort. Let your kids have fun with their hair, too. You only live once and life is too short to waste time worrying. Besides, people will be too busy trying to figure you out that they won't notice your leggings or your kids' wrinkly clothes.
Let Your Kids Make Their Own Meals
We often have "make your own salad, sandwich, pizza, or cold lunch for tomorrow" nights at our house. They are fun for the kids, reduce meal time stress, and are super easy for the laziest parents. I just have to remember to buy the right ingredients, or my daughter may go to school again with a tortilla, pickles, and chips for lunch.
A Bright Lip Or Hair Color Detracts From Your Lack Of Sleep
I used to spend so much freaking time trying to look perfect and failing miserably. Then, I dyed my hair blue and started wearing bright lipstick every day. No one notices my dark circles or fine lines. I am a confident, punk rock mom (or at least I look like one).
Keep Scented Hand Cream In Your Purse
Hand cream is good for hands, but it also works for so many other things. Frizzy hair? Hand cream. Forgot deodorant? Hand cream. Notice your dry, scaly legs in the bathroom? Hand cream. If you have a razor, you can even use it to shave your legs. Crabby kid in the back seat? They just might like some hand cream. Seriously, I may have used it for all of these things on the same day.
I'm not referring to religious faith, although that might be important to you, too. I'm referring to having a few stock responses that work for pretty much any topic of conversation when you've had no sleep, or if like me, you have major social anxiety.
For this hot mess mom, these responses are easy to remember. Just have F.A.I.T.H: "fantastic," "absolutely," "interesting," "that must be so hard," and pretty much any response starting with the word "honestly." Don't believe me? Try it. Honestly, it works. See what I did there?
I wise mom once told me that nearly all tantrums are caused by H.A.L.T: hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness. So, if you want to halt tantrums, try to prevent those things from happening. I always bring snacks for the kids and myself, because hanger is real. I try to stay calm and upbeat, even when my kids are throwing transformers at my face or rolling their eyes. I try to be available to have one-on-one time with a lonely kid, and my perfect children all go to bed without a fight and sleep through the night.
Alright, I am totally lying about that last one. It's OK, I don't need sleep. I have BB cream and bright lipstick.
Bring Workout Clothes With You
Always keep workout clothes in your car, in case you have time to go to the gym (ha), or let's be honest, you spill something on your clothes (every damn day). That way, you will look like a grown-ass mom on her way to run a marathon or go to the yoga studio, when you are really on your way to the Starbuck's drive thru for another latte. All hot mess moms know you should fake it till you make it.