I’m not an Instagram mom. There are no airbrushed, #blurfilter images of me and my children in our perfect homeschool room. We’re not baking sourdough from scratch while we listen to Mozart. And I’m not up at 5 am working on school plans for the day.
But the opposite mom stereotype can be just as harmful.
A lot of us instead fall into the “hot mess mom” culture trap. If we can’t be perfect let’s embrace the mess and chaos, Right?! Just throw the towel in, forget about schedules, expectations, or putting pants on in the morning.
The Harm of Hot Mess Mom
There’s a big difference between realizing our faults and shortcomings as moms and wallowing in chaos. I’ve seen moms actively strive for the “hot mess mom” title in order to feel more relatable and get some laughs out of a frustrating situation. Mamas, we’ve got to STOP self-sabotaging ourselves.
It may be a relief and make us feel better at first to embrace the chaos, but in the long term, it will only bring about grief. And I’m not talking about just our grief. It affects our children too when they see moms that are frustrated, overwhelmed, and snap easily.
Supporting Each Other
Yes, life is busy and messy and tough sometimes. Somedays I struggle to find balance between working and homeschooling. It feels better to laugh over a tough day than cry. Finding joy through trials is a good thing, but let’s hold a hand out to each other and help a mama out of her mess.
We’re not promised all sunshine and roses and we’re told to expect trials. The difference is we’re not alone in the tough times and we’re promised the tools we need to get through them, both mentally and physically.
Christians are promised a life of abundance. We’ve been gifted the peace that surpasses all understanding. We have the joy of the Lord. We have power, we have love, and we have a sound mind. Not a crazy mind, not a fearful mind, but a SOUND one.
So let’s live like it.
Raising up the Next Generation
Many children thrive on consistency. They find peace and security in knowing what to expect next. When there’s a lack of discipline in the home they feel like they’re floundering. Acting out, temper tantrums, and anxiety are just some of the ways they deal with chaos in the home.
When I say discipline I’m not referring to punishment. I’m talking about guiding them through their childhood into their adult years with grace and wisdom.
It becomes this vicious cycle of children acting up, mom gets frustrated, then children get crazier. Rinse and repeat.
Mamas, we don’t have to live in that cycle! We can strive for beauty and order in the home, without pushing for artificial perfection. We need time for rest, reflection, and intellectual inspiration. There has to be a middle ground between worn out mess and airbrushed Instagram.
Jesus is the prince of peace, not the bringer of chaos, so there’s no reason for us to live in it. Maybe we’re there now, but He can bring us out. If we ask for wisdom He’s promised to give it. There are so many spiritual resources that are just a prayer away, if only we know to ask for them and live in them.
Ok, stepping off my soapbox now.
Choosing Peace over Hot Mess Mom
How do we translate that into our everyday lives as homeschool moms? What do we do when the kids are crazy, the house is a mess, and nothing seems to go right? My first step is to seek Jesus through prayer, but here are other helpful next steps to tame the chaos at home before it turns into chaos.
Where are You Going?
Brainstorm some goals and how you’re going to get there. Routines and habit training are a big part of that. I have my own personal goals, we have goals as a family, and then our children have their goals.
Imagine setting out on a long road trip but you have no destination in mind. It might be fun at times, but you may not like where you end up. Maybe you run out of gas and don’t know where the next fuel station is. Your kids are hungry but you didn’t pack food for the trip and there’s no drive-through in sight.
When we know where we’re going (and why) in life, it makes things much easier and less confusing. This can translate into our day-to-day life with tangible things like chore charts, family schedules, and daily devotionals.
Leave Space for Mistakes
Life can easily become overwhelming when it’s packed so full of things to do and places to be. One toddler potty break could throw off the whole schedule and make the family late for an event. Been there done that.
There are so many opportunities now for homeschool families that I really have to be intentional with what I say yes to. I’m learning to say no more than I say yes. This goes back to the point about having goals. If an activity, purchase, or time spent on something is NOT getting me further along the path I want to be on, it needs to be an automatic no.
Leave enough breathing room in the schedule and give yourself enough time to get ready for the activities you choose to do.
Habit Training > Hot Mess Mom
Miss Mason talks about habit training our little ones and how it makes for “smooth and easy days” for everyone. I spent the first 5 years of motherhood with frustration because I had a little one that often did not listen. Two years into homeschool co-op and plenty of teacher complaints later I was embarrassed and disheartened.
It should have been common sense, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me to teach good behavior just like you would math or reading. I thought simply telling him to listen and getting upset and angry when he didn’t was training enough.
Until one seasoned mom shared that she practices habits like sitting still and listening while at home so they come easy when out in public. Lightbulb moment.
The more stuff we have in our lives (physical and emotional), the more time it takes to deal with it. Researchers have found a direct link between the amount of clutter in our home and women’s anxiety and cortisol levels. According to scientists at Stanford University:
“When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.”
In case you were wondering, cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause weight gain, fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches, among other issues. By uncluttering our homes we can improve our physical and mental health as well!
Now Organize it
After we’ve gotten rid of the clutter from our homes and our schedules, we can organize what’s left. I’ve seen homes with mad organizing skills… and stuff piled in stacks to the ceiling. The key here is to organize after we’ve decluttered.
I’ve found routines really helpful to keep things running smoothly through the day and organize my time. I also try (not always so successfully), to keep things cleaned up and put in their place. This way when I go to find something, like a ruler for math, I don’t waste time searching for it. But I also don’t need 20 different rulers stashed around the house cluttering up things.
I may not always put pants on in the morning, but at least I’m trying to tame the chaos.
What are your thoughts on the “hot mess mom” culture? Do you feel like it serves us as moms? Drop a comment and let me know!