No mom I know is a hot mess all the time. To my knowledge, we all experience moments when we feel like we've mastered parenting and are totally crushing it, only to experience moments that can best be described as total "hot mess" status. I’m know I'm guilty of beating myself up and trying to move through the hot mess phases as quickly as possible, so I personally think the moms that embrace it might be onto something. In fact, I have a feeling that unapologetic hot mess moms are winning at this whole motherhood thing.
I'm somewhat of a "new mom," so I can’t say what motherhood was like for other women of past decades, but I feel like — even in recent years — my friends and fellow moms have come a long way by emphatically embracing the messy parts of parenting. We can (usually) joke about the challenges, lament about the diaper blowouts and spit-up disasters, the lack of sleep and the spilled bowls of pureed carrots, as long as enough time has passed between the inciting incident and the present. Once time has done the dirty work, we can look back and realize that our mishaps are hilarious and our futile attempts are nothing if not entertaining.
However, even in this era of seemingly progressive parenting ideals, some of us (ahem, guilty) are still clinging to the idea that we should have it together, or at least look like we have it all together. However, and thankfully, I think there might be another way. Here’s what I think we can learn from our fellow hot mess moms, who aren’t afraid to flaunt their messiness:
They’re Not Spending Time On Things That Don't Matter
Of course, we may all have different definitions of “things that matter” when it comes to parenting, but perhaps we can agree that most of our children’s needs come before our need to change our pants or curl our hair or take a shower (unless maybe you’re accompanying them on a preschool interview or something else where your hygiene counts).
They’re Not Sweating The Small Staff
Unless by small we mean “physically small,” as in children. But pretty much all other "small stuff" is not fazing them. Ketchup on their clothes or stickers all over their face or a ponytail migrated to just behind one year? Yeah, a hot mess mom probably doesn’t care. If she does, she knows they’ll be time to take care of it later.
They’re Clearly Spending Lots Of Time With Their Kids
To be fair, the time I spend with my son when I’m in hot mess mode isn’t always considered the highest quality of "quality time." It often involves wrestling him back into the shopping cart, or blowing my hair out of my face like a frazzled mom from a commercial for cleaning products. But, at some point in our day together, there’s at least a couple warm, fuzzy moments, so I'll take it.
They Know The Sloppiest Clothes Are The Most Comfortable....
I come to you today as a woman wearing drawstring pants and fleece. I have zero room to judge anyone’s fashion choices, and I can only endorse those made with comfort in mind.
...And The Messiest Hairstyles Are The Easiest
One mom’s toddler-inspired updo is another mom’s chic messy bun. I’m not sure about you guys, but I can barely tell the difference between the two, so I say we just roll with it.
They’re Not Letting Struggles Control Their Lives, Or Ruin Their Day
If they were letting it take over, we’d never see them because they’d never emerge from their houses. I would have never had encountered that kind stranger who pointed out the sticker on my sleeve as we waited in line at the coffee shop, or had the pleasant exchange over the public changing table with the woman who nodded at me in solidarity as my toddler danced through a diaper change.
They’re Very Careful With Their Time
We have ten minutes before we need to leave, and a diaper needs changing, someone needs to be breastfed, clothes need to be changed, but I haven’t showered yet? Challenge accepted.
They Know No One’s Perfect
Sometimes parenting is a struggle because babies are demanding and toddlers are hard in general and kids are just, you know, difficult. This is no one’s fault. Sometimes I’m struggling because I forgot to pack my son a snack, or re-stock the diaper bag, and it’s no one’s fault but my own. If this is the case, it’s easy to beat myself up and get extra frustrated, but a hot mess mom likely knows to simply shrug it off.
They Know What Their Strengths Are
Right now, my son’s going through a phase where he loves playtime with his dad, but goes to me for snuggles and comfort. I’m not complaining, though. If I tried to keep up with the boys in my household when they’re having fun and getting silly, I’d be totally out of my element. I might wager that other hot mess moms have figured out similar nuggets of truth about what they're best at when it comes to parenting (usually through trial and error, I'm guessing).
They Know How They Present Themselves To The Rest Of The World Doens't Reflect Their Parenting Abilities
One woman’s hot mess state is another woman’s best day. It’s like telling someone they look tired or sick. Who are we to judge? Maybe a day that’s full of craziness and errands and tantrums is actually a great day for a mom. Maybe they’re preparing to go on a vacation, or everyone in their house just got over the flu and she’s just glad to be out of the house regardless of the circumstances.
No matter what has brought on a hot mess day, she knows she can handle it.