The “hot mess mom” trend started a few years ago as a way to reclaim the messiness that is inherently part of being a mom. A way to distinguish oneself from the Pinterest-perfect moms, the carefully curated and heavily filtered Instagram pages. A way to clapback at portrayals of motherhood as some combination of June Cleaver, Claire Huxtable and Joanna Gaines.
For years, moms proudly proclaimed their status as a hot mess mom. With t-shirts and candles. Viral TikToks. Movies and tv shows. And so many social media pages.
Hot mess moms are everywhere. I consider myself one of them. Well, I used to anyway.
A few months ago, I came across an article celebrating hot mess mom-ness and I rolled my eyes. Still?, I thought. We’re still doing this? Is this just motherhood?
Here’s the thing: the hot mess mom trend served a valued purpose. It allowed many of us to reclaim what it means to be a mom—and a good mom, at that. It enabled us to be authentic and real. It told the world that moms didn’t stop being the women we were when we become moms. Moms are still women—complicated, wild, emotional, multi-faceted, loving, evolving women.
The hot mess moms label also shined a light on the struggle that is modern motherhood: the expectations that we mother like we don’t have a job and work like we don’t have kids, the lack of adequate childcare and social supports, the pervasiveness of mom-shaming and judgment, the unyielding responsibility to be “on” all the time, and the harsh reality of living in a country that just doesn’t seem to care about families.
There is a reason the hot mess mom label thrived for so long—hot mess moms represent normal motherhood.
Here’s the truth: Moms have messy homes and feed their kids fast food. We drink martinis and tell raunchy jokes. We pull into the school drop-off line late, still wearing pajama pants. We get through the daily chaos thanks to extra-strong coffee, sarcasm and sheer willpower. This is motherhood.
Moms also have immaculate homes or feed their families home-cooked meals every night. Moms show up five minutes early for the PTA meeting, wearing heels. Moms drink tea and write poetry. Moms are able to make it through the daily chaos with the help of with the help of meditation, exercise and a solid day planner. This is also motherhood.
There is no one “type” of mother that is more valid or accurate than the others; in fact, we’re all probably some combination of hot mess mom and Pinterest mom, and everything in between.
Maybe it’s time to retire the “hot mess mom” label and start calling it what it is: motherhood.
Motherhood knocks us down, and we get back up. Motherhood is harder, and we love our children more, than we ever thought possible.
As moms, our days are chaotic and wild. Motherhood means crying in the bathroom or screaming into your pillows at night. It means crumbs on the kitchen counters and dog fur on the couch. It means “forgetting” to shower and wearing pajama pants all day long. It means picking up your child from soccer practice with a coffee stain on your shirt.
Motherhood means arriving late and out of breath more times than you’d like to admit. It means getting a little wild at a mom’s night out—a night out that took three months to plan said night out because you’re all so busy. It means forgetting to read the school email about picture day. And it means loving being a mom, even when we think that we don’t.
Being a mom is messy sometimes. And that's normal. So let's start calling the "hot mess" what it really is: motherhood.