Before I had kids I had visions that I’d be like my own mom.
Perfectly organized. Effortlessly getting us off to soccer practice and birthday parties. A balanced meal on the table by 5:30pm sharp which consisted of meat, veggies and a starch. Bath and bedtime rituals where like a well oiled machine.
Instead this is a snapshot of what life looks like in my house…
Alarm goes off at 6:15am. I hit the snooze button.
Alarm goes off at 6:30am. I hit the snooze button.
Alarm goes off at 7am. SHIIIIIT!!!! I spring out of bed like a teenager whose mother just caught him butt naked with his girlfriend after school and start barking orders at my 2 kids…
“We’re gonna be late! Everyone get up! Move, move move!”
I have no time to shower before work. I slap some deodorant on and cover myself in a coconut cloud of Bath & Body Works body spray.
My 8 year old throws a frozen waffle in the toaster for breakfast. My daughter is still asleep after 3 blow horn wakeup calls.
I go into the kitchen and realize I haven’t gone grocery shopping all week and have nothing to make the kids’ lunches. Decide crackers and string cheese paired with a slightly bruised apple will suffice and try not to feel guilty.
My daughter wakes up too late to eat anything substantial before school so I pour the remains of my protein shake into a sippy cup for her, transfer the cold remnants of my son’s leftover waffle onto a clean plate and hope she doesn’t notice.
By 7:45am my daughter is having a full blown melt down because she can’t find her Elsa sneakers. My son is screaming he’s going to miss walking to school with his friends if we wait any longer for her.
All kinds of bargaining, promises of chocolate cake for dinner if she’ll just wear her Ugg boots today even though it’s 80 degrees outside and finally death threats ensue from my mouth in an effort to get her to move her ass.
Finally by 8am they’re at school. I breathe a sign of relief as I pull onto the freeway, mentally calculating how many hours before I can pour myself a glass of Malbec and zone out to “The Haunting of Hill House.”
On the drive to work I realize I have nothing but chicken nuggets to serve for dinner tonight. No veggie my kids will actually eat to pair with it or a nice baked potatoe like my mother would do.
But I decide if both kids mutiny over my lack of dinner prep I can still feed them the chocolate cake I promised. And my mother never has to know the truth about me.
I’m a hot mess mom. And I realize, I couldn’t give a shit.
Do Our Kids Even Notice We’re A Hot Mess?
I know I’m not alone in my tales of not so brag-worthy motherhood moments. Who of us is doing this perfectly?
I know from becoming friends with my own mother once I transitioned from bitchy teenager to a deer-caught-in-headlights new mom that she wasn’t perfect either.
As a child I saw what most kids see… my parents seemed to have their shit together. If they fed us, let us ride in those backwards seats of the station wagon with no seatbelt on and kept us alive they were doing a great job.
And you know what… that was enough. It didn’t matter if we were occasionally late for church. It didn’t matter if my mom fed us $.99 burgers and greasy fries from Burger King on the nights she was too exhausted cook. I hardly even noticed when she tried to pass off those fake “these kind of look like Jordache jeans but they’re definitely not because some other subpar designer’s name is on the back pocket” when I was in 5th grade.
I saw her as being just perfect.
And I know that as messy and imperfect as all of us think we’re doing things at times, the truth is, our own kids probably don’t notice.
What My Kids Are Learning From Me Being A Hot Mess
One time my daughter spilled her juice at the dinner table and she started crying.
I didn’t react at all. Just got a paper towel and cleaned it up. When I asked her why she was crying she said, “Because I thought you’d be mad at me for spilling my drink.”
“Baby,” I said. “Why would I be mad at you? I spill things all the time. Remember yesterday I spilled coffee all over my shirt?”
She started to giggle, “Yea. And you said a bad word too.”
I said to her and my son, “You know guys, nobody is perfect. Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I know everything. I make mistakes. I forget things. I oversleep and am sometimes late for work. Even with you guys, I don’t always know the right thing to do. I just keep trying different things till I get it right.”
My son nodded his head thoughtfully, “I think it’s good to make mistakes. Because it would be way too hard for people to be perfect all the time.”
And you know what… we shouldn’t have to be. Life is messy and unpredictable. Some days we’re totally on our game. And other days, we’re way off. Maybe parenting can be messy and we all don’t have to feel so bad about it.
Maybe being a hot mess mom isn’t something we need to feel shame around. Maybe it’s just part of the gig.
I for one think that showing my kids that they don’t need to have it together all the time is teaching them what it means to be human. Messy, imperfect, sometimes a little disorganized or off our game. But always putting our best foot forward to try again and get it right next time.
So I’m OK being a hot mess mom. Last I checked, my kids hardly noticed. And I’m pretty sure they love me anyway.