“Hot Mess” is the New “Cool”
Once upon a time, I had it all together. I was just your average person, super OCD and organized, that kept a pretty great schedule. I slept 8-11 hours a night, took my time getting ready for work every morning, and ate really great food. Then, the pregnancy strip turned pink.
When I first gave birth to my now two-year-old son, I thought that I had everything figured out. How hard could this motherhood thing really be? You feed it, you bathe it, you dress it, and then there’s a diaper every now and then, right? WRONG. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. Little did I realize that this cutie patootie little baby would rock my world.
The first year was okay. I didn’t sleep much, but I got lots of cuddles in, so it sort of made up for it. He ate pretty regularly, so thank goodness for that. Diapers were a little overwhelming, but hey, I had a Diaper Genie and an awesome husband to help me out. During his first year I had monogrammed outfits, monogrammed blankets, and his name adorably labeled on every cup, pacifier, and bottle. I had his first birthday planned six months prior. Most of my friends and family understood that I had a baby, and if it took a few days to respond to texts or emails, it was cool. But for the most part, my head was pretty much above water.
Flash forward to now. I’m two years and four months into this motherhood thing. And for the last few months, I keep wondering what in the snotty heck is going on. Where did I go wrong? What happened to my once picture perfect, clean, organized, structured life? Then my child walks into the room with dog food in one hand and paint smeared across this face. Well, crap.
I’ve joined several mommy groups on Facebook, in addition to some that get together around my city. All these moms walk around well-groomed, heads held high, and are even wearing cute mom clothes! They’re on time from what I can tell (because I’m the one running in late) and they all have these fantastic stories about the amazing things they do with their kids all the time. So, I decided to investigate. How do you do this?! How do you groom yourself AND your child? How do you get laundry done? How is your house even remotely clean? Mine looks like the Tasmanian Devil brought all of his Tasmanian devil friends to my house and they all had a fiesta.
I started asking questions. I started letting down MY facade that I was good and started getting real honest. I stopped apologizing for being late; I stopped being overly aware of the stains my kid had on his shirt sleeves. I stopped making excuses for things I was overly self-conscious about. And you know what I found out?
That ALL of these other moms were the exact same. They ALL had those “HOW DO YOU DO THIS?” questions…just in their own form. They all were trying super hard some days to make sure everyone else thought they were all that and a bag of chips.
That’s when I realized that motherhood is literally just making sure everything is in order. Your house. Your schedule. Your kids. Your husband. Your life. That’s what moms are for, right? My mom always had it together. Her mom did, too. And I bet if you asked my son later in life, he’ll probably not have noticed what a hot mess I am. That’s what we do. We hold it together.
But, society has asked us to make sure everyone thinks we’ve got it together. And that keeps us from being really honest with the ONLY people that can understand childbearing: other moms. We’re all in this together, yet somehow we’re all trying so hard to convince other moms that we don’t need help. That we get it all done.
Since this realization, I’ve got a fab idea. I’m going to live my life honestly. If I don’t get to baby’s play group in time, it’s okay. He’s going to have a blast there anyway. If I don’t have time to put my make-up on because my child needed extra love that morning, it’s okay. The love is more important. And if I don’t hand-make my Christmas cards by November 1st, it’s okay. My family will still be happy to see our faces over the holidays.
My challenge to you is the same. Understand that being a mom is hard work, and we don’t have to make excuses when we don’t always get it right. We’re trying our hardest and we’re making our kids feel safe and loved…that’s what motherhood is.