I’m the kind of woman who opens her car door and 58 things fall out on to the road. If it isn’t a tennis ball, matchbox car or snotty tissue it’s an empty packet of popcorn or apple core. You see I have three kids and I’m what you call a hot mess mum, but after ten years of motherhood I’ve learned to just embrace it.
I’m the mum friend you can count on to call you in a panic asking you what time something starts, or to straight up forget to pick up my kid from an activity. I’m the one rocking the mum-bun 7 days straight, and throwing on a t-shirt over my braless body to race down to the school to take the forgotten homework to my kid.
I’m not proud of the hot mess I’ve become, I’ve just succumbed to it. It is what it is, and what else can I do? Sure, I have lots of excuses. I could get up earlier to do my hair and makeup, but when the youngest calls me into his room three times in the night to fix his blanket, my bed just feels too good in the morning to get out of it.
I could clean out my car more, but since we basically live in it most days, I’ve just embraced that there will be a chicken nugget from 2012 on the floor when I finally get around to cleaning it out. I guess I can cross becoming an Uber driver off my bucket list, unless my passengers don’t mind brushing away crumbs before they sit down and a little smudge or 300 on the windows.
I have a basketful of school papers that aren’t due for weeks, and I’m awesome at pulling them out exactly 24 hours after something was due. I procrastinate because it’s just so easy when I have so much on my plate and swirling around in my head, and then I fly into full-blown crisis mode when I realise I’ve messed up.
I have a planner, and I attempt to use it. I also have a smartphone that is supposed to help me not to forget band practice, or soccer games. But, it never fails that I’m still racing at the last second anyway, so why not just accept the fact that I’m a hot mess mum and it makes me who I am?
It’s EASY to beat myself up over the fact that I can’t seem to get my crap together, but here’s how I’ve learned to embrace the chaos:
1. I remind myself that I used to be organised. I never missed a deadline, and even as a full-time, working, kid-less adult, I was probably the most dependable person in the office. I was always punctual, and the one you’d ask to finish up someone else’s work too. But, now? I’m running a circus most days that consists of whiney kids, tired adults, and I’ve lost all control over my environment. And, let’s face it: my brain has a to-do list a mile long because I’m now managing the lives of five people (plus a cat) instead of one.
2. My kids are loved. I may be the one that rolls up 15 minutes late to the P+C meeting, but dang it, my kids know I love them. I’m there for them when it matters and I step up when they ask me to. Yes, I might be a hot mess, but I’m their hot mess mum and they know I’m there for them when it’s important. They are thriving, and we’re making it through this beautiful messy life one day at a time.
3. Big picture, does the forgotten lunch box really matter? The answer is no. Our kids won’t remember the forgotten lunch. And, hopefully that one time we forgot to pick them up from their piano lesson won’t be etched into their memories either. Kids are forgiving, and the little slip-ups, and tardies don’t really matter. What matters is that our kids know they matter, and mine do. I bet yours do, too.
4. The world needs the creative types, too. Look, it’s great that I have friends that are organised because they are the ones that I need to call to remember when that class project is due. But, the world also needs the free-spirited creative types who can’t seem to remember what day of the week it is. I have my own strengths, like the ability to think quickly on my feet when we forget career day at preschool and craft an outfit out of things found in my car like MacGyver. All kinds of people (especially mums) are what makes the world go round, so I’ll keep reminding myself that my type of hot mess is part of what makes the world go round, too.
5. Mums are more than just mums. Perhaps you have a career, work from home, or are a stay at home mum. It doesn’t matter, really. It’s OK to accept that your plate is full. Like overflowing-I’m-at-the-best-buffet-ever-give-me-everything full. To our kids we are the chauffeur, the nurse, the life coach, the family chef, and the manager of all the things. Hot mess is just an adjective to describe all it takes to keep the world running in our families, and there is a lot of crap to get done.
We’re human, and it’s OK to not be the mum that has all her crap together. If we were all like that, the world would be far less exciting. After all, who would run in half-dressed to the parent-teacher meeting giving everyone a laugh?