There’s a campaign being waged against mothers these days. Just when we think that we can be whatever mother we want to be, a group of (primarily privileged white) women are now against the type of mom that has been coming out of the closet. The type of mom we all know. The type of mom that many of us have been: the hot mess mom.
When the hot mess mom began to gain traction and acceptance several years ago, it was because many of us had been her or were her. We were finally letting go of the shame and guilt that came with not having a clean house, not having Instagram worthy pictures, not having dinner recipes worthy of posting on Pinterest. Instead, we were starting to accept the fact that moms are people too. Moms can’t do it all, no matter how many of you call us Wonder Woman. We’re not superheroes. At least, I’m no superhero.
But over the past few years, I’ve heard and seen several middle-aged white women speak against accepting the hot mess mom. I’m going to tell you the truth: many of these women are selling products, memberships or courses to women who apparently want it all. To women who want to be happy. To women who are mothers and feel like they don’t have their lives together.
Momma, let me tell you: You do have your life together. It doesn’t feel like it. Your kitchen is a mess. Your hair is up in a mom bun. Maybe you didn’t even brush your hair today or this week. You feel like you haven’t slept in days. And oh yeah, you’re still dealing with a pandemic!
Don’t be fooled by the mothers out there who are trying to shame the hot mess mom yet again. They’re selling books. They’re selling products. And they’re telling you it can be better with their support. The catch? You just have to pay them money.
Here’s the truth: Being a hot mess mom is a phase.
No book or course is going to get you through the baby, toddler, and even young kid years without changing you. You will become a different person as you mother your child. You’ll become more human. And being human is messy. Being a parent is messy. No, you don’t have to stay in the hot mess mom stage forever. But you may be in that stage for a little while, maybe even a few years.
That’s ok. You’re doing the best you can with what you have.
Don’t let the women who are selling their coaching programs, books, or “life-changing” programs fool you. They are trying to sell you something. They’re looking to make money by shaming you as a hot mess mom. Sure, they’re reframing it as supporting you, helping you, and promoting a community of women who are just like you. But they’re selling you a product. Don’t forget that.
I’m finally getting out of my hot mess mom stage. It’s taken 4.5 years, but I’m starting to move on. My kids are getting older. They can finally take some responsibility for themselves. Plus I’m privileged in having extra help with the kids and the house. We can’t do this alone, friend. I certainly can’t do this alone. But being a hot mess mom doesn’t have to last forever.
Five ways to accept this stage of parenthood.
If you’re currently in this phase of life, you may just need to accept it and remind yourself that your kids will be able to do things for themselves one day. It’s so difficult to remember that in the moment when you’re cleaning up poop around the house, permanent marker off the wall, or dealing with yet another threenager tantrum. Good-ness, do I get it! But if you can remind yourself that this won’t last forever, you’ll get through it and maybe even find humor in it eventually…
Here are five easy ways to simply accept being a hot mess mom:
1. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with what you have. Don’t let shame take over your thoughts.
2. Give yourself a five minute time-out every day. Lock yourself in the closet. Hide in the bathroom. Step outside. Go somewhere where you can just breathe for five minutes. If that’s too long, start with one minute. Taking mindful breaths make a huge difference for me.
3. Leave the dishes in the sink and sit your butt down! Honestly, unless Chris is doing the dishes, this is what our sink usually looks like after just one meal…on a good day.
4. Give yourself a break from feeling guilty about not cooking a homemade, nutritious meal. Yes, you need to feed your kids. But you can feed your kids the kind of food you never thought you would- processed, microwavable food. The horror! (And order take out if you have the means.)
5. Here’s the toughest one but the one that may offer the biggest return: let go of any expectations you had for yourself as a parent. Yes, keep loving your kids. But remember that you need love, too. Be gentle with yourself.
I can tell you from my personal experience that this is a phase. If you can be kind to yourself, not fall into the comparison trap of social media, thinking of all the things you should be doing instead of what you are doing and just love your kiddos, you’ll get through this phase.
Sending much love to you, momma!
Life forever changed for Chris and me in May 2017 when we became a family of five. We are forever learning how to be parents, support our daughters, and navigate this thing called life as a transracial family through adoption.
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