Since you’re reading a self-proclaimed mom blog, it’s safe to assume you’re familiar with the stereotypical mom “types” you might find on something like a Buzzfeed quiz. Crunchy, PTA, Soccer, Fitness, Hot Mess, Parenting Expert, Pinterest, Helicopter, Hipster, and the list goes on…. Admittedly, it’s all pretty arbitrary since, as mothers, we can fall into multiple categories at any given moment. And it can be completely different the very next day. See? It’s all nonsense. We are human and can be many different things at the same time.
However, it seems that I consistently fall into the ‘Hot Mess’ category. When we consider what defines a hot mess, it’s a bit unrealistic to assume any mother wouldn’t be a hot mess as long as children live at her house at some point in her life.
The Definition of a Hot Mess
According to my extensive research (Google), the term ‘hot mess’ describes something spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered Well, that’s a bit harsh.
Upon further review, socially agreed upon characteristics of a hot mess mom include:
- Perpetually running late
- Disheveled appearance
- Muttering swear words
- Forgetting things
- Running on caffeine
Most of us have a mental picture (both physically and personality-wise) of a hot mess mom. Let me say that I’m not here to poo poo on the self-depreciation. There is certainly a tinge of humor and relatability behind this hot mess express. However, I’m just going to step up here on my soapbox real quick.
Surviving does NOT make you a hot mess.
Motherhood includes times of absolute chaos and upheaval. We should not have to pretend otherwise. When it comes down to it, we should be allowed to prioritize WHATEVER WE WANT without the fear of being labeled a hot mess.
Hot Mess isn’t the full picture
Let’s get one thing straight, I’ve never had all my eggs in a row when it comes to my appearance, punctuality, and general “having it all together-ness.” My language has always been questionable. Did you know that cursing helps relieve stress? I’ve never been into make-up or fashion, so why would I start now? By the way, if that IS something important to you, by all means, Do. Your. Thing. I’m always going to fall solidly into #teamchaseyourbliss.
But you know what else this hot mess woman has done?
- Worked multiple jobs to become financially stable
- Earned a degree
- Been a loyal friend and shoulder to cry on
- Adopted an adorable puppy
- Made my friends laugh
- Moved across the country
- Advocated for the people I love (and some I don’t even know)
So it seems “hot mess” doesn’t exactly capture the whole picture.
Expectations are Unrealistic
In attempting to find an image for this post, there were plenty of stock photos showing happy moms looking VERY put together. Can you believe there was no selection of mothers looking like they hadn’t gotten a good night sleep in the last two years?! Would it surprise you to hear many new moms refer to themselves this way? Their context speaks volumes. Many mothers feel like they’re a hot mess, as though they aren’t living up to some set of (unrealistic) standards.
This societal assumption seems to get worse with social media. It’s the idea that motherhood is only positive and beautiful as shown through the lens of Instagram. While motherhood is certainly life changing and incredible, it’s also really hard, both mentally and physically.
Not a Hot Mess, Just a Mom
The “Doing her best while prioritizing the emotional well-being of herself and her family” mom isn’t exactly a catchy title. It’s not visual either. You would have to get to know her. So instead of caring about your tidiness or punctuality, let’s focus on:
- Your unconditional love
- How you give your children so much of your time, energy, and mental space
- Making room for yourself
- Making sure you feel supported
I’m just spitballing here, but those things are much more important than a messy bun. Motherhood is not a contest. Every mom struggles at some point. And those struggles change over time. How about we start setting the bar for our own expectations at a slightly more reasonable level?