The notion of a “hot mess mom” depicts mothers as stock photo clichés — frazzled women who struggle to get through the day in one piece — and one mom is sick of the stereotypes.
In an Oct. 30 blog post called “I Am Not a Hot Mess Mom” published on City Moms Blog, a Wichita, Kan.-based mom named Jill wrote: “I have no idea how long the term ‘hot mess mom’ has been around, but I feel like I hear it everywhere. ‘I’m always late to everything, I’m such a hot mess.’ ‘I haven’t washed my hair all week, I’m such a hot mess.’ ‘I forgot to pack diapers in my bag, I’m such a hot mess.’ ‘My kids haven’t eaten a vegetable for days, I’m such a hot mess.’ You get the point. You name whatever you believe is not living up to the societal norm, and then add ‘I’m a hot mess’ to the end of it.”
She added, “Can I just say that I am over this trend? I am 110% for vulnerability in life, but why does that mean that we’re a mess? Is there anyone who is free of areas that need work? Do we truly believe there is this magical creature of a mother who exists? A mother who has it all together? A woman who everyday is flawlessly coiffed, dressed perfectly chic, who never forgets anything for anyone in her life, only eats health food, does all the things for everybody, only wears workout clothes when working out, and is never late to anything?”
The problem, according to Jill: “When we label ourselves as being a hot mess, I feel that we are diminishing who we are and what we do as parents, adults, and human beings. Let’s face it, being any or all of those things at any given time can be challenging. Hygiene, chores, health, finances, shuttling of small children, hygiene-chores-health of small children, jobs, doing things that bring you joy, doing things that don’t bring you joy but you still have to do them, being a loving and attentive wife/mother/daughter/friend, and so on. Each one of those areas are multifaceted. Let’s give ourselves some grace, because clearly we have a lot on our plate.”
Sharon Silver, a parenting expert and founder of Proactive Parenting, concurs. “The idea of a ‘hot mess mom’ is conflicting,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “On the one hand, mothers often strive for perfection, but using the label takes the pressure off achieving it.”
So if you’re down on yourself for not packing a Pinterest-y lunchbox or using dry shampoo in lieu of a shower, claiming the “hot mess mom” title allows you to shame yourself, before others can do it.
The tendency to put down our parenting skills is largely generational. “Back in the 1950s, mothers put themselves first,” says Silver. “They enjoyed their social lives — which could include drinking and smoking — and children were expected to adapt to the parental routine. Then, throughout the decades, parents became more self-aware of their children’s emotional needs.”
And given the prevalence of social media and the pressure to parent perfectly, it makes sense that moms are holding themselves to unrealistic expectations. “Parenthood is a process,” says Silver. “Raising kids requires you to stretch and grow and that can’t happen if you’re blaming yourself for all the little things.”
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