The “hot mess mom” is someone we’ve all seen, and dare I say, we’ve all been at some point (read: many points) in our lives. In fact, I might even go as far as saying that we’re all just one blow-out and one ill-timed sneeze away from being an absolute mess everyday of our parenting lives. Still, that’s not to say there aren’t reasons we might need extra support when we’ve inevitably reached that point. Thankfully, there are a number of ways a grown-ass man can help support a hot mess mom.
Of course, most, if not all, moms are capable of dealing with a state of hot messiness all on their own (if the women who frequent the same shopping centers as me are any indicator). And, of course, not every parenting partner is a man. However, it's important that we stop and talk about the ways men can support their hot mess parenting partners, because they're not under the same scrutiny and pressure as their partners. There's no denying that society is much "harder" on mother than it is on fathers, which is why the "hot mess mom" title exists in the first place. Being a "hot mess" really just means you're not 100 percent perfect and put together all the time, a social requirement of all mothers (and not, you know, fathers).
Which is why it's awesome to have help, at any point in the day but especially when I'm feeling like a complete and total mess. No one should be feeling like they're alone in this parenting thing — whether they have a parenting partner or not — which is why a grown-ass man will set up, realize he's not under the same pressures his partner is, and do what he can to support and help a struggling mom, up to and including the following ways:
He Pretends Not To Notice
The other night, I was out with my family and I discovered a huge orange stain on the thigh of my jeans — like nacho cheese had been smeared on them — even though it’s been forever since I’ve been in the presence of nacho cheese (sadly). I had no idea where this splotch came from, or how long it had been there or what it was. As I was lamenting about it, my spouse says, “Oh, I didn’t even see it,” and totally shrugged it off, like this earthly mystery did not even pique his curiosity in the slightest. I didn’t completely forget about the stain after that, but I did feel less concerned about it knowing that the company I was in did not care in the slightest.
(Or, He Might Actually Not Notice)
As much as I’d like to flatter myself and assume that my husband is paying as much attention to me as I’m paying to me, I know this just isn’t true. He’s a fully-functioning person who’s doing his own thing and staying just as busy with our son and with other parts of his life, as I am. It’s not that he’s ignoring me, it’s that he’s not going to take the time to wonder if my sloppiest of sloppy ponytails is a failed attempt at a chic messy bun, or if it’s just a metaphor for how I‘m totally falling apart.
He Offers Compliments Anyway
On the occasions that he does realize I’m struggling (like if I’ve sat him down and told him), he’s the first to reassure me that our son’s doing well, that I’m doing better than I think I am, and that I’m being hard on myself. Then he goes on to say that he thinks I’m the best mom ever and that he’s nominated me for the Nobel Prize in Parenting.
(OK, just kidding about that last part, but if you want to offer that suggestion to the men in your lives, feel free.)
He Gives Her Breaks
Sometimes a break is merely a few moments to eat some cheese standing up in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s a few minutes to myself when he takes our toddler out with him to walk the dog. Sometimes it’s a few hours away from the house with friends. Whatever it looks like, whatever shape it comes in, a break can help.
He Takes On His Share Of The Chores
I know, I know. All of my problems won’t exactly be solved by someone else folding the laundry, but you know what? One of them will, so I'll take it.
Ge Takes Over Kitchen Duties
On the surface, this may seem like a chore but let me assure you that it’s not the same thing. I consider the kitchen it’s own domain since, unlike most household chores, you can’t exactly wait until you feel like it to make your kid lunch or grab them a snack. If you do that, they will let you know in no uncertain times what a mistake you’ve made.
So, when our son asks for yogurt, while I’m still spinning from the last messy round of diapers and clean-up, and it’s my partner who gets up first, I’m grateful. (And by “grateful,” I mean “forever humbled and indebted to him.”)
He Steps Up To Help With The Parenting Duties
To be fair, if he’s a grown-ass man, he’s likely already doing his fair share of parenting. However, supporting a partner who’s turned into a hot mess can mean taking on extra, and this category is no exception. Plus, then you get to see your partner being a dad, which is one of the best things on the planet.
He Anticipates Her Needs
I’m not saying he needs to be a mind-reader, since we all know those only exist in '80s movies. I am saying that if he’s at the grocery store and locates her favorite cookies — or her shampoo, or whatever it is that she likes — and realizes it's on sale and decides to get it for her, he’s helping. She’s feeling cared for and she gets to hear someone say, “I got you something at the store,” which we all know are the best words in the English language.
He Asks Her What She Needs
A grown-ass man is free — and encouraged — to check in with his partner and see what he can do. After all, he's not a mind-reader, remember?
(While the answer probably won’t be “hire us a nanny,” there is a possibility so be forewarned.)
He Shows Her That He Has Faith That She’ll Get Through Whatever’s Causing Her Stress
Whether it’s a difficult parenting phase or a sleep regression or a big deadline or that fact that it’s a Monday, he’ll help her recognize that it’s not the end of the world. (OK, maybe not if it’s a sleep regression, but still.) Almost everything else is never as bad as it seems when you’re in the midst of feeling like a hot mess.
He Spends Time With Her And Their Kid(s)
Sometimes she doesn’t actually need a break or tasks checked off her to-do list or even a moment to eat cheese in the kitchen. Sometimes family time, when she’s sharing her parenting role and getting to enjoy her kid(s), can do more than anything else can. Just last week, I got to watch my partner and my son throw rocks into a lake and, I swear, it carried me through like the next four days.
He Takes His Role As Partner Seriously, And Continues To Treat Her As One
My guess is that a grown-ass man probably believes in his partner, and he probably wants the best for her, and he probably knows her better than an internet stranger like me does. So, as a result, he’s actually more equipped to support her in the ways the she needs to be supported.
Chances are, he won’t hesitate.