The other day I was on my way to work after dropping off all three kids at school and with the sitter. I was on time and not rushing – more or less feeling like a success.
I was listening to a popular morning show on the radio and they decided to go over the Top 10 signs that you are a “hot mess mom.” Some of these signs included things like forgetting it’s your day for snack, dropping kids off at school while wearing your pajamas, living out of laundry baskets and having your Christmas tree is still up months later. Bubble burst! They clearly had been spying on me and decided to write up a summary of my day-to-day activities. I could check almost everything off the list!
Am I really a hot mess? Is that why I feel like a success because I had everyone where they needed to be on time? I thought I was just a normal mom. I bet the person who actually wrote the list doesn’t even have kids! There is no way someone who has actually done this thing called parenting would really make this list.
I am sure some moms appear, on the outside, to have it all together. Sure their outfit looks just right and their hair is done, but you don’t know how early they got up to accomplish this feat.
This has been my first school year that I had to be at work immediately after dropping the kids off. I have no choice other than to be dressed in adult clothes in the drop off line. I do sometimes still have wet hair and do my make up in the car. I also have to get up at least half an hour before my kids get up to get myself fully dressed and ready. On the rare day that they have school and I don’t have work, you better believe there is a good chance that I am in my pajamas at drop off. Trying to get myself ready while staying on top of the morning routine and activities of three other people just adds stress to the morning that doesn’t need to be there.
Snack day always sneaks up on me. I never remember the night before or the weekend before when I am at the store. My kids and I have a system down though. It is amazing actually and it makes me quite proud. I wake them up and say, “Hurry, we are going on a grocery run!”
We have a grocery store that is generally empty at 7:30 a.m. and very close to school. We review what we need to get, make the plan of attack, get out of the car and run. The key to this plan is skipping breakfast at home and getting grocery store doughnuts. The older kids run and get their doughnuts while I get the drinks for snack. They run to the corner of the store to get their pre-packaged lunch (because we had to leave packing lunch out too for sake of time) and I follow behind and get the snacks. We are out of the store in five minutes. Take that snack day! Why can’t everyone bring snacks anyway? Why rotate? Isn’t it easier to just pack one every day?
I also generally live out of laundry baskets. But guess what? Everyone is in clean clothes. We just may never get around to putting it away. Just like we may never get around to taking down our Christmas tree.
I have very limited time to do things around the house. I should rephrase that. I have very limited time to do things that I don’t want to do around the house. I would rather spend time cuddling on the couch with my kids. I would rather spend time reading a book after the kids go to bed!
I realized quite a few years ago that there are these ideas and expectations everyone seems to have of what it looks like to be a mom. Maybe it is because they had a great example in their own mom growing up. Maybe they see other people on Facebook or in the drop off line looking super cute. Maybe they heard some silly list on the radio.
What they didn’t see was their own mom when they were little, or the other mom’s yelling at their kids to hurry up and find their shoes. They don’t see the other mom feeling lost in Mommyland.
I realized that I can set my own rules and expectations. I’m the parent! I am the adult! Just like getting to stay up late and drinking wine, the perk of being an adult is that I can give myself is grace. I give myself the grace to just focus on survival and raising kind, caring and generous people. If that means that I look like a hot mess to the outside world, then so be it. It isn’t a competition so just relax! (Unless it is meanest mom in the whole wide world competition, because according to my 9 year old, I have you all beat. So there!)