Happy 2021! Hallelujah! Where’s the Tylenol?!
WHAT A RIDE THIS LAST YEAR HAS BEEN.
Let’s do a little check-in, here.
How you doin’? You good?
Or are you holding your life together with a single bobby pin you found on the ground of your dumpster-fire minivan?
I’ll let you in on a little secret if you picked option B. You’re not alone. Not even close. 2020 was quite the year. Between Australia being on literal fire, Kobe passing, and a pesky little virus called COVID-19 completely turning most people’s lives inside out and upside down, I think we all felt the weight of the world a little heavier on our shoulders.
The truth is, it doesn’t take a global pandemic to make me feel like a hot mess. I’ve felt like a disaster for all of my motherhood “career”. That sounds dramatic, but I’m ok with it. I see it as part of my personality. Or it could be my un-medicated ADHD. It’s a mystery. We’ll never know.
I’m the mom who forgot that I was responsible for juice boxes for the class Christmas party and had to run to the gas station after I dropped my kid off to purchase said juice boxes and bring them back. The mom who perpetually writes down the wrong time for hockey practice or dance class or appointments (I’m famous for doing a half-hour AFTER whatever event has started- it’s a gift.). The mom who’s house is always a mess, and her car doesn’t look much better. I allow entirely too much screen-time to help me not lose my mind. I’m the mom who is in constant survival mode. I am a steaming hot mess.
A steaming hot mess who is here to tell you IT’S OK IF YOU THINK YOU ARE A HOT MESS TOO. Or failing or unorganized or whatever negative thought runs thru your mind on the daily as you are navigating life as a mom. Believe me when I tell you that you are so far from being alone. So far.
Unluckily for us, social media paints this picture of perfection in the form of influencers, celebrities, heck even some of our own real life friends and it can make us feel a little less- than. Especially with the added weight of the climate of the world. Now, don’t get this twisted, I am by no means bashing women who have it together. Quite the opposite- I freaking idolize you. I want to BE you. But I never will be, and I’m okay with that. But, could we have some lessons on how to keep it together from you ladies who are motherhood goddesses? Like, maybe put a powerpoint together? Some cue cards we could keep in our bags? No, scratch that, they’ll get lost in the abyss.
HOWEVER. I feel like the absolute freak show of the past year has leveled the playing field a little for all of us that feel like inadequate members of society. Hence why 2020 was the year for the hot mess mom to shine. We were in our element, don’t you think? We have been thriving in chaos for so long that we shrugged our shoulders and we took 2020 in stride. We even gained momma friends in our hot mess mom tribes. Took mommas in who maybe hadn’t felt the way we feel before, comforted them, handed them a (large) glass of wine, and told them that this is fine. It’s alllllll fine, pretty lady.
I’m sure if you’re a full-fledged hot mess mom, you are well versed in coping mechanisms and have tried various ways to un-hot-mess-yaself. 2020 has taught me a few valuable tools to help me be OK with not having it all together.
Ladies, I give you, my official guide to (trying) to keep it together with more than just a single bobby.
Find a planning system that works for you
If you know me, then you know I’m obsessed with buying planners. Note that I said buying. Not utilizing, not actually planning. Buying the planner. The pens and the fresh paper and the illusion of having my life together- it’s the best. Probably would be better if I actually HAD my life together, but I digress.
There is one planner that I keep going back to, and this past year has taught me to stop wasting money on the ones I don’t use and just bite the bullet and pay a little extra for the one I love and, here’s the big and here, actually
use. For me, this planner is by a brand called Erin Condren. I started using it in nursing school and it’s appeal has stuck with me since. We also try to utilize google calendar for our family. If digital planning works for you, awesome! It works super well for my husband. My brain is wired in a way that if I do not physically write something down, It’s gone forever. Like the juice box thing. Spoiler alert: never wrote it down.
My point here is, figure out a planning system that works for you and stick to it. Don’t try to fix it if it ain’t broken!
Find your tribe
This is so important. I am very bad about internalizing and making jokes about my shortcomings both as a mom and a person to make me feel better about them. While it helps, it helps to also not feel so alone. Support from a spouse, or parent is wonderful, but there is something about having a support system of people who know EXACTLY what you are going thru and how you are feeling.
One of my closest HMM (hot mess mom) friends is someone I barely see in person, but we have a deep bond over the chaos of motherhood. We feel the same way about so many things and I can check in with her at any time of day and say crazy things like “It’s normal that I’m letting E have 8 hours of screen-time today right?! this house NEEDS TO GET CLEANED OR I’M GOING TO LOOSE MY FREAKING MIND”. She never lets me down and always responds with “yes. Also, how can I help you?”. And I’m the same way with her. We listen to each other and 99.9% of the time that’s all we need. A sympathetic ear who knows exactly how we feel and knows what they would need to hear were the roles reversed.
Friends like that are pure gold. We don’t see each other very often at all, but she is an integral part of my survival. Yes, I said survival. It’s vital that you have someone or a group of someones like that.
Self care, baby.
I’m not talking about going to the grocery store alone, or showering, or anything that is classified as fulfilling your BASIC NEEDS. Although those things feel like a vacation at times. I’m talking about little (or big) things that fill your cup and make you happy. Obviously it’s different for everyone but you need to prioritize yourself too.
I found this out the hard way. By nature I’m a fixer and a nurturer and take care of everyone else before myself. I was running on empty and not fun to be around. I thought self care was nice, but not essential. After last year, I know better.
I spent 6 weeks furloughed from work. Stay at home mom’s- I SALUTE YOU. You guys. I was climbing the walls. Itching for adult conversation. I got snappy with my kids and my husband. I’m not going to say that a hot bath and a book changed me into a new person. Because it didn’t. But, taking time for myself and doing things that I enjoyed helped me not get so irritated and be a better mom, wife and friend.
I love to read, I’m real into skincare and I am artsy fartsy. My self care routine consists of:
1. A side hustle called Punkpost where I do handwritten cards for people- just a few a day.
2. Reading a book that I’m interested in every night before bed. Horror is my JAM.
3. Keeping up with my skincare routine nightly (I do skin for a living so this really fills my cup) and doing lengthier, more pampering things on Sundays.
These three are things that I do for me and me alone. I make time to separate Kaleigh from “Mom” and “wifey” and do things for myself. You don’t have to have as many things as I do, but you need to find SOMETHING that brings you joy and make it a priority. Something beyond motherhood. It’s cliche, but you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Give yourself some grace
OK, this one is way easier said than done. But stepping back from the chaos, taking a few deep breaths and really evaluating what is going on can be helpful to get some perspective that, “hey, maybe I am juggling this OK”. We’ve all got a lot on our plates. Chances are, you are doing a heck of a lot better than you think. And if you’re not?Keep on trying, mama.
A lot of these suggestions might seem like common sense, but sometimes when you’re knee deep in the chaos, it helps to have a gentle reminder that you’re doing alright and that you are most definitely not alone, and it means so much more if that reminder comes from your inner voice.
I’m a pessimist by nature, and I’ve found that the more I force myself to be positive about both myself and my situation and actually give myself credit where credit is due, the truer I believe it to be and gives me the motivation to try that much harder.
We are the hot mess moms of the world, and this is our time to shine! This is what we’ve been practicing for all this time. And if you need a little help- your fellow hot messes will be right here to dust you of, hand you a glass and help you shoulder whatever load feels too heavy to bear on your own. We’re all in this together, and don’t you forget it!