If the pandemic has done anything it’s this: it’s completely leveled the parenting playing field. Even if you were the most organized, on top of it momma out there pre-pandemic, by now, you’re most likely serving up cereal for breakfast—and lunch and dinner, too. You probably aren’t at your most productive, and you could definitely use a shower, too. And it’s those kinds of moms, the hot mess mom, that you need in your life right now.
So many of us are struggling to make it through the day to day. Life has felt like Groundhog’s Day every single day since schools closed in the springtime, and sadly, summertime has shown us no reprieve. It feels weirdly like those newborn days, when mornings and nights made no difference in terms of sleep deprivation, and time took on a weird sort of surrealness. Except, of course, your kiddos are older and out of diapers. And it’s important to know that you’re not alone in this, which is why having a hot mess mom can help you during this critical time. “Yes, now, more than ever it’s important to have a mama who is a ‘hot mess’ in your life,” says Claudia Luiz, a psychoanalyst and author of The Making of a Psychoanalyst.
Here’s how a hot mess mom can make parenting (and life) so much better.
1. She Lets It All Out
When it comes to a hot mess mom, there’s rarely, (if ever) a filter. And that can be a good thing, especially when you have some big feeling of your own that you want to share. “When you have a Mom who puts it all out there, you feel less alone in your moments of fear, weakness, and vulnerability,” says Toni Coleman, LCSW, a psychotherapist and relationship coach. “You can connect with her because a mom like this shows empathy and communicates openly and without reservation, allowing you to do the same.” In short, she gives you the emotional space to allow you to say and feel what you’re thinking without judgment.
2. She’s Comforting
Let’s face it: no one knows what they’re doing right now. Should you send your child back to school in the fall? Should you let your kiddo have that extra snack? Should you have that extra snack? So many unanswered questions, and a hot mess mom is right there to take your hand and tell you that it’s okay to eat that extra cookie—and not know. “During a pandemic, having a Mom who is all in, deeply connected and concerned, and doesn’t hold back her emotions can be a great source of comfort and support,” says Coleman. So while it might be super uncomfortable to be a in a constant state of limbo, your fellow hot mess mom friend is right there with you, holding your hand and telling you it’s all going to be okay…and it will be.
3. She Gets You
The last thing you want in a friend is for someone to actively find your faults and make you feel badly about them. But while a hot mess mom might recognize your traits and quirks, she won’t call you out on them. “She can really help you feel like she gets it, you are not alone, and you can share your worst fears and darkest feelings without judgment or regret,” says Coleman. That level of comfort and intimacy is what makes a hot mess mom unique, since she offers a safe place for you to be yourself.
4. She Doesn’t Put Pressure On You
Being a parent means that there’s pressure coming at you from all angles—and all the time. Whether it’s societal, or something self-induced, it can be almost impossible to attain that level of perfection. The hot mess mom, on the other hand, takes that ideal and throws it out the window. “One of the biggest benefits of having a hot mess mom in your life is that it’s a lot less pressure on you to be perfect,” agrees Beth Sonnenberg, LCSW, a relationship expert. “This is especially if they know they know they are a hot mess.”
5. She Makes Life More Fun
Yes, having a Pinterest Mom in your life makes things pretty, but it can also be, well, pretty boring, too. If you’re looking for some belly laughs, you’ll need to find (and friend) the hot mess mom. “Sometimes having a hot mess mom in your life can be a great source of entertainment and laughter,” says Sonnenberg. “If they can laugh at themselves, then you can laugh together.”
6. She Doesn’t Care About Having It All
So much is placed on parents, and particularly moms, to have it all. We’re urged to lean in—at work, at home, and in our everyday lives—to the point that we’re leaning so far over that we fall down. So there’s a lot to be said for finding a fellow mom who might want it all in theory, but understands that it might not be possible, and is okay with that. “Having a friend who definitely doesn’t have it all alleviates the pressure to be prefect,” says Sonnenberg. “It makes you realize that you don’t have to have it all.” And that, ultimately, it’s okay to not want to have it all.
7. She Keeps It Real
During difficult times, you need things (and people) who are going to lift you up and not bring you down. You need to be accepted for exactly who you are, not who you’re going to be in six months from now, or 20 pounds thinner. Just you. Right now. “Especially during these trying and uncertain times, it’s great to have a reminder that anything goes,” says Sonnenberg. “Just trying your best has the be good enough because changes are happening in the world every day.” A mom who gets you, and is willing to take your hand through the chaos, is a friend for life.
8. She Can Be A Great Role Model
Working, taking care of kids, and trying to care for yourself can turn anyone into a hot mess mom. Still, that struggle to try and do it all (even when it’s totally impossible) is something to be applauded. “Hot mess moms can be great role models because they are great multi-taskers, busy juggling too many things with kids and especially work!” says Dr. Lea Lis, a double board-certified adult and child psychiatrist and author of No Shame: Real Talk With Your Kids About Sex, Self-Confidence, and Healthy Relationships. “They generally do not have enough hours in the day to complete all of their responsibilities and desires. I think it goes without saying that they likely don’t have time to pack their child’s lunches with little heart shaped notes inside.”
9. She Admits When She Makes A Mistake
Sure, social media can be fun for finding delicious recipes you’ll never, ever make. But all too often, social media can lead to feelings of inferiority, particularly when everyone and everything seems to be too perfect. Cue the hot mess mom who fumbles and fails all the time — and admits it. “These moms are unlikely to come down on you if you make a mistake because they make mistakes all the time,” says Dr. Lis. And it’s that ability to point out that perfection is totally overrated (and effing up is far more fun) that makes a hot mess mom someone you need in your life right now.
Although we all want to strive to be the best versions of ourselves, we often fall short. And having a hot mess mom in your life right now can be a great reminder that as you raise tiny humans at home, and work, that it’s okay to be exactly who you are — even if that means you’re still in your pajamas at 3:00 p.m..