In so many ways, it wasn't the baby books or the online forums or the other moms in my life that prepared me for motherhood. They all helped, don't get me wrong, but I truly believe that college was one of the best and most helpful prerequisite "courses" to life as a mother. For me, that's probably because I was a hot mess in college and, well, I'm a hot mess now. After all, a hot mess mom and a college freshman are basically the same person, and the ways that I fantastically failed when I was trying to will myself to class have helped me get through some of the pretty fantastic (and not to mention embarrassing) failures I've experienced as a mom.
In college I was a disaster. I mean, I made it to my classes (late) and I passed all my courses (surprisingly) and I paid my bills on time (magically) and even managed to work full-time while going to school full-time. Still, I struggled and was somewhat lost and when combined with a few (read: many) horrible dating decisions, my college experience was nothing if not entertaining. Motherhood has proved to be much of the same. The bad dating decisions are gone (thankfully) but I'm still late to everything and working full-time and stumbling through motherhood, one stained shirt and stubbed toe at a time.
Which is why the undeniable similarities between college freshman and hot mess moms are nothing if not comforting. After all, I made it through four years of school and snagged that undergrad degree, so I can make it through motherhood too, right? Right. So, with that in mind, here's why that mess of a college student and that hot mess mom are basically the same person:
They're Both Always Late To Everything
In college, I was notoriously late to absolutely everything. I was late to classes and late to study sessions and late to brunches and late to parties. I would like to tell you that four years of college and a few more years of being "on my own" helped me fix my time management issues, but that would be a lie.
I'm still late to everything, and I'm now at the point where my friends will tell me an event starts about an hour before it actually starts. Hey, I don't blame them (I'm usually only 1/2 an hour late to things, now).
They Both Consider The "Messy Bun" To Be Their Go-To Hairstyle
Because I'm perpetually late, the "throw my hair up in a messy bun and completely forget about it" has been a fashion statement staple in my life since always. It was my go-to "look" in college and it's my go-to "look" as a hot mess mom. I make no apologies.
They Both Procrastinate Until The Last Possible Second
It's not like I don't want to plan everything out and set schedules and stick to some timeline that makes my days smooth and effortless. It's just that it's freakin' impossible, OK? It is. Something will happen and the plan will go out the window and so, you know, what's the point?
I didn't see the point in college and I don't see the point now. I think it's best to just enjoy the moment when I'm in it, put off the tough or difficult stuff until the very end, then drown myself in coffee while I deal with the necessities at the final hour while simultaneously driving myself slowly insane. That sounds much more reasonable, right?
They Both Don't Believe In Doing Laundry
In college, if I found a shirt on the floor and it wasn't too dirty and didn't smell and wasn't all that wrinkled, I considered it a completely appropriate shirt to wear in public.
Yeah, the same applies now. (Actually, even a stain here or there won't keep me from wearing that shirt to the store or the park or wherever).
They Both Don't Care About Wearing Pajamas In Public
One person's pajama pants is another person's, "I'm running late to class" or "I'm running late to a playdate" attire.
Plus, in my humble opinion, if you don't think a pair of comfortable sweats or pajama pants are completely fine to wear in public, you're not trying hard enough (or living your best life).
They've Both Made That "I'm So Sorry I Didn't Understand Before" Phone Call To Their Mothers (Or Fathers)
I vividly remember one (of many) phone calls I made to my mother my first year of college, apologizing for the numerous ways I was just a naive pain-in-the-ass. I apologized for failing to understand how bills worked and how laundry is actually washed and why cleaning my room was, probably, a necessity.
Then I had a baby, and made a few more phone calls to my mother. I apologized for ever putting her through labor and I apologized for ever being rude to her or telling her she didn't understand something and I apologized for wanting to do dangerous things in high school, because I knew (and still know) what it feels like to love someone so much you're afraid of them experiencing an ounce of pain.
They Both Struggle To Feel Like An Actual Adult...
I'm still waiting for the day I feel like a "real" grown up. I didn't feel like an adult when I was "on my own" and going to class and working a full-time job and completely responsible for my own life. I don't feel like an adult now that I'm working full-time and in a healthy relationship and completely responsible for not only my life, but my son's life.
Like, I'll feel grown up eventually, right? That'll be a thing that happens? Someone? Anyone?
...And They Both Find Themselves Somewhat Jealous Of Kids (At Times)
I remember looking back at high schoolers thinking, "Man, you guys don't even know how good you have it. You' don't have to pay bills or anything."
Now I look at my son and think, "Dude, you have no idea how good you have it. You have people doing everything for you and you don't have to pay bills or anything."
Some things never change.
They Both Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I would have never made it through college if it wasn't for my amazing friends. They bailed me out of more sticky situations (figuratively and literally) than I care to admit, and if it wasn't for their support and friendship there's a good chance I wouldn't be where I am today.
The same can be said for my friendships and motherhood. If it wasn't for my friends and the support system I have, I truly don't know how I would have made it through a difficult pregnancy or a scary delivery or the first two years of motherhood. Hot messes can't do it alone, and hell, we don't want to. (Plus, don't act like you guys don't like getting those erratic phone calls from us, when we need your help and usually have to tell an elaborate, entertaining story as to why.)
They're Both Have Pretty Big Goals In Mind
Even though I was a mess in college, I kept my eye on the prize. I worked full-time (because college is expensive) and went to school full-time and I graduated in four years, despite being somewhat irresponsible and flawed and dating some very questionable individuals that made life, you know, hard.
Now, and in so many ways, not much has changed. I'm working full-time and taking care of my son and continuing to keep my eye on the prize — raising a happy, healthy and kind human being who can go into the world and find his own definition of success while being respectful and caring of others — even when I'm failing. I didn't look like the "perfect" college student when Iw as in school and I definitely don't look like the "perfect" mother now, but that didn't (and won't) keep me from being my absolute best at both.