As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, under the best of circumstances. That's why I've taken the time to create this Hot Mess Mom's Guide to Surviving Winter. I feel this is an important service because not only am I someone who wants to help hot mess moms, I am a hot mess mom. (It's very much a "doctor, heal thyself" kind of situation.)
If you're a mom in a warm climate — Florida, Texas, Southern California — this article will not help you too much. And don't you dare come at me with something along the lines of, "Well, sometimes it gets as cold as 50 degrees and we can't go to the playground!" Stop. If we ever get a 50 degree day in the winter we wear tank tops. You may be a hot mess mom (we're everywhere) but you cannot know a cold-weather mom's pain.
So, what is a hot mess mom? For starters, if you are one you know it instinctively. You don't need clarification. But for those of you who would like something more specific, think of the kinds of pictures moms post on Pinterest and Instagram. Can you see them in your mind? OK, great. Well, we are the opposite of that in absolutely every way. We take good care of our children, to be sure, but in a way that's sort of hapless and by the skin of our teeth in some cases. We are charming but graceless. We get an A for effort but certainly not presentation (except in the cases where effort wasn't even attempted, in which case our profound inability to give a single f*ck is sort of admirable).
So, now that we're clear as to whom this list will benefit, here's how you can brave the cold long months until the spring. Yes, you'll be a hot mess in the spring, too, but that's OK.
Layer The Leggings
Because you're not going to let a little thing like subzero temperatures get you back into pants with zippers. We hot mess moms have been to the mountain top, friends. We're not going back to live like the rest of you suckers with your unforgiving pants with buttons that don't work the morning after you eat an entire roll of cookie dough. (What else were we supposed to do to comfort ourselves through the latest episode of This Is Us?)
So instead of lowering yourself to the level of jeans, just wear multiple pairs of leggings at a time! Or invest in some fleece-lined ones. But for the love of God, winter is bad enough without bringing pants into the mix.
Find A Hat That Will Accommodate Your Top Knot
Because that baby ain't coming down, but it looks really dumb in most hats, like you're smuggling a grapefruit on the top of your head. So either get one of those headband ear-warmers or (and these exist) a hat with a hole in the top for your hair.
Of course if you're an A-level hot mess mom you can always just cut a hole in a hat yourself.
Regulate Your Body Temperature With Hot Drinks From Starbucks
Honestly, this is just a safety concern. As a hot mess, your body has become so accustomed to your daily Starbucks intake that your various regulatory systems have been physiologically altered. You need that triple shot soy latte to maintain a proper temperature. It's science. Well, at least that's what you should tell people when they start to get all judgmental about how much money you spend on coffee.
When You Inevitably Lose All The Gloves In Your Home, Just Use Socks
This is actually something I learned from my husband, who is a hot mess dad.
As a hot mess mom, you will lose all the gloves in your house. Every single one. Or your kids will, because even the most put together child is a hot mess. This is a problem when aforementioned kids want to play outside in freezing temperatures for some reason. In a pinch, big fluffy socks on their hands is just like a mitten without a thumb. Plus, they'll think it's funny. In these moments you can pretend you're a funny, crafty mom and not actually a scatterbrained mess mom!
Tall Boots, All Day Every Day
Fortunately they're in style right now, but tall boots are ridiculously practical. Not only do they make it more possible to wear leggings by providing extra leg insulation, they keep us from getting absolutely soaked every time we step into half-melted slush puddles.
And obviously we're frequently finding ourselves in half-melted slush puddles, because us hot mess moms never look where we're going.
Stock Up On Arts & Crafts Supplies
Because you'll try. You know that outdoor play just generally isn't an option in the cold winter months and your children will require an assortment of indoor activities.
These supplies will wind up absolutely goddamn everywhere, because your children are monsters and you lack the organizational skills necessary to store them in a particularly intuitive way.
Remember That Screens Are Your Friends
Seriously, just turn the damn television on in December and leave it on until April. Zero judgment, mama. This isn't on you. This is on another mother: Mother Nature. She's a hot mess, too. Well, I guess a frigid cold mess, in this particular case. Cabin fever sets in and sets in hard and sometimes only the kids with YouTube channels can keep your child preoccupied.
Convince Everyone That Christmas Trees Are A Totally Valid, Every Day Decoration
In a world of the same farmhouse chic decor and greige walls absolutely everywhere (what hell hath you wrough, Chip and Joanna?), why the hell not have a Christmas tree as the centerpiece of a room all year long? (Or at least until you finally take it down sometimes between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day?) Let it stand as a conversation piece. Or decorate it for various other holidays throughout the season. It's "Happy Holidays," after all.
Invest In A Snowscraper
Because this is the year you're not going to try to do it with a credit card. Seriously, you can get them for, like, a dollar at the gas station. You've got this.
Set Your Clocks Ahead
Because the winter weather is going to add time to your commute, no matter what. You will convince yourself this is not true every damn time because "the roads look fine." But they aren't and you will be late. In order to save your future self from your slightly sooner future self, just set the clocks forward a little bit so you're tricked into getting out of the house kinda on time.
"But won't I know that the clocks were set ahead if I do that?" you ask.
Of course you won't. You will forget. You will probably forget about 10 minutes after you do it. You're a hot mess, sweetie.
Winter Colors Are Your Stain-Hiding Buddies
God bless dark colors and rich patterns and textures of winter wardrobes. They keep all the daily shmutz from being visible and goodness knows we could use the help.
Never Give In To The Temptation Of Winter White
Every now and then you'll see someone rocking a snowy winter white. Maybe Kim K. is resplendent in a white sweater. Or Beyoncé is reigning fierecly in a gorgeous white coat.
You are not Kim. You are not Bey. You will stain that sh*t approximately 47 seconds after you put it on. I know it's tempting to look that glamorous and seasonal but you're just going to have to sit this one out, mama. Sorry.
Under No Circumstances Should You Use A Space Heater
Non-hot mess adults can do this, but you will absolutely burn your house down.
Forget About New Year's Resolutions
It will be tempting to resolve to get more organized, do your makeup and hair every day, buy fewer caffeinated beverages, or wear real pants. But we love you just the way you are, hot mess mom. And let's be honest: there's no way in hell you're going to do literally any of those things so why pretend?
After all, a cold, bleak winter could use a little bit of a hot mess.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.