Hot Mess Mommy- True Tales From the Dark Side

A couple of days back, my friend Anne posted a Buzzfeed video on Facebook.  This particular vignette looked at the different types of mommies in today’s culture.

This video is so funny–but so incredibly spot on about different kinds of mommies!

Things haven’t changed much since my own mommy days.  I saw myself as a cross between the PTA mom, (after all I was a “PTO” Queen during the years when Roman and Oona attended middle school) and the Hot Mess Mom.  Mostly, I was a Hot Mess Mommy!

Never perfect. Never proper.  A bit of a misfit.  But I got the things done.  I was that mom.  A bit weird but the one who didn’t mind having a houseful of kids to entertain.  I was the one who would bake the goods at the eleventh hour to bail out the mom “who didn’t have time” or who simply forgot.

Dog Party

I also had parties for the neighborhood dogs.  Trust me only a hot mess mommy would dare to venture into that territory.  Things can get rather messy!

When nobody else volunteered to create and sew 50 “flags of the countries”, I’m the one who stayed up breaking night, drinking coffee and cursing myself for taking this nearly impossible task on.  And yet I managed to have those flags completed in record time. They may have looked a bit messy close up, but from afar—they didn’t look half bad.


Twenty years later and I’m STILL amazed that I was able to complete this feat!

….and that little video also brought back to mind an incident that happened back in 1996. A TRUE incident! For your reading pleasure…..

As the school bus stopped in front of the house and beeped for the kids, I literally shoved them out the door gently kissed them bye-bye, smiled and sent them on their way.  I had more important issues to take care of.

My roots needed to be retouched. Not wanting to spend the time at the local hairdresser because I found it rather difficult to deal with any of the “perfect” local moms, I took it upon myself to take matters into my own hands.  I did my roots.

This was also pre-menopause—when I had an incredibly full head of hair and “the change” hadn’t thinned out the hair on my head and replaced it upon my chin or up my nose.

Nineties Mommy In Her Happy Place

Me back in 1996. In my happy place–the kitchen. Like my Mom Bob? Look closely though–behind that hot mess of a shirt lies a strand of pearls. I exude class and style–even as a hot mess!

My routine was simple. Color the roots, condition my hair, set my hair in big-ass rollers for about an hour or two, gingerly unwind each roller, blow dry the unrolled section of hair, roll my hair back up for a couple of hours, relax by playing a few rounds of Dr. Mario or Tetris, then take my glorious locks out of the rollers and get dressed.

Dr. Mario

Hey, who says stay-at-home moms sit on their asses doing nothing all day?  I worked my fingers off to the bone playing Dr. Mario and Tetris. It was better than drinking!

This process usually ended just as the kids began to arrive home from school. Just in time for me to begin my real day of preparing dinner, helping with homework and driving to sports or other activities.

At about 9:30 AM, just as I completed the annoying task delightful job of rolling that last section of newly-dyed  hair into my oversized roller, the phone rang.  It was the Vice Principal of Bear Tavern School.  (Yes. That was the elementary school that the kids attended. Best school name ever!)



A delightful school logo–a bear claw!  The school is not named after a watering hole–the name comes from the road where the school sits. Bear Tavern Road.

He asked me to do him a favor.  It appeared that a young student in the development that we lived in never showed up for school.  As was the usual practice, if a child’s absence was not called in by a parent or guardian, the school would call the home or work number of the child’s parent to find out why the student did not show up.

In this case, the young boy’s mother commuted to NYC.  When called, she freaked out because he should have been at school.  Mind you—these were the days before every child aged sixteen months and older did not have an iPhone attached to their hands.

Panic ensued.  Hot Mess Mommy here received a call from the Vice Principal because he knew that I was home and obviously realized I had nothing better to do.

He explained the situation and asked if I would drive over to the student’s home to see if he was there.  I told him I would, but that my hair was in rollers because I just colored my roots and I wasn’t quite an acceptable presence.  He didn’t seem to care.  Actually, he probably didn’t believe me and thought I was trying to get out of any involvement with this debacle

I believe the Hopewell Valley Regional School District gave new meaning to “No Child Left Behind”.


Boy were these words literal!

I got in the car.  It wasn’t really the fact that my hair was in rollers, but it was my complete ensemble.  A tattered shirt, splattered with black hair dye, Old Navy pajama bottoms and no makeup made me appear like a hillbilly Walmart beauty contestant.  At least the Bass Weejuns on my feet gave me that little “je ne sais quoi” of style and class.

Picture this 20 years ago. The rollers are older!

This is a reenactment.  Thankfully I STILL have these big-ass rollers. But I did drive to the school with my hair like this…

more of the outfit

…and basically, my outfit looked similar to this.  I believe in classic, timeless clothing that never goes out of fashion!

Weejuns. My only shred of dignity

The only shred of dignity that emanated from my person was my Bass Weejuns. I told you I was a classic dresser!

As I approached the house, I saw a young boy sitting on the steps.  I asked him his name and told him that the school was looking for him.   He explained that he missed the bus and locked himself out of the house by mistake so he couldn’t call his mother.  Quite honestly, I felt really badly for this little boy because I would never want something like that to happen to any of my own children.

I asked him if he had his lunch money and he didn’t. So I told him to get into the car and I would take him to my house and call the school.

Now. I don’t know about you or how you raised your kids, but I don’t think any of my children would have been too eager to jump into the car of a complete stranger of a woman who was cross-eyed, makeup free, wearing giant rollers in her hair and pajamas. Just sayin’.  I  wouldn’t have gotten into a car with me!

I took him back to my house and proceeded to make lunch for him. I’ll never forget—these were the days before gluten-free and food allergies so I didn’t have to ask if he had a “special” diet. I made a turkey sandwich on Wonder bread with mayo, threw in some Old Debbie snack cakes, and for the sake of being healthy, an orange. I also gave him money for a drink.

When I called the school to let them know that I had this child at my home, I naturally assumed that the Vice Principal would drive to my house to pick said child up.  Ahhh. Nope!  There were a few meetings scheduled for the administration that tied up his schedule. It was very kindly asked of me if I wouldn’t mind driving him to school.

With no time to finish my hair, put makeup or get dressed into normal clothing, the two of us, brave little boy and crazy-ass looking Hot Mess Mommy drove to school.

Hold on. It gets better.

Do you honestly think I would just drop this kid in the front of the building? No! I walked him in, hoping and praying that none of my kids would happen to be in the hall.  When I walked into the office and dropped the child off, the entire staff stopped in awe at me because I was such a Good Samaritan, grotesque amazement at the sight of me.

Bear Tavern School

Am I surprised that I didn’t receive the friendly welcome that I thought I would receive?

Their “thank you’s” were more the kind said when you are deathly afraid of someone who just may pull a gun on you.

To make matters worse, my daughter, Oona, showed up in the office just as I was about to make my exit.  She was running an errand for her teacher and had her classroom “buddy” with her.

Oona at bear

Poor Oona–she should have been traumatized for life after seeing me at school in my get up! Oh. She’s wearing a tee shirt from the Ryan School of Irish Dance feis!

I stopped dead in my tracks because, to me, it could have been the most embarrassing moment of my daughter’s life.  Especially when her friend turned and said “Why is your mom dressed like that?” 

 Unfazed, Oona ran to me, kissed me and gave me a big hug and a smile. As she walked away I could hear her turn to her buddy and say “That’s my mom. Its hair dye day and she always looks like that on hair dye day. It’s what makes her look pretty!”

When I got back into my car, I cried.  I didn’t cry because I was mess. I didn’t cry because of the embarrassment I could have caused my child.  I didn’t cry because I wasn’t thanked in the proper and fawning way. I cried because no matter how I looked or what I did, my daughter still loved me for who I am.

They seemed happy

No matter how imperfect I was or continue to be–I still have my babies!

Hot mess moms may not be perfect. Hot mess moms may be intimidated or sometimes envious of the perfect moms—because we will never achieve that level of perfection.  Hot mess moms are the ones who let their kids eat junk every now and then. They are the ones who will put their appearance aside to help someone in need—they can be the ones that can always be counted on in an emergency.

Hot mess moms have it harder today than I ever did. Hot mess moms of today have to read about perfect blogger mommies—posting pictures of their perfect homes, perfect children and perfect lives. They have to deal with looking at all those Pinterest Pins of the perfect dishes and decorating skills.  Hot mess moms have to work a bit harder but they just keep moving on and on!

So here’s to you, hot mess moms—because under that hot mess, lies a beautiful soul!

Here’s to you funky mommy!  James Brown–“Hot Pants”!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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26 Responses to Hot Mess Mommy- True Tales From the Dark Side

  1. That video is a hoot and yes you’ve got class and style even on a hot messy day 😉

    • Catherine says:

      Jacqueline. I literally almost choked from laughing when I saw that video! Especially with the nursing mom! OMG. It’s a riot! Glad you enjoyed! XOXOXO!

  2. Paula Fowler aka Gail Simon says:

    Cathe! That was wonderful! Brava hot mess mama xoxo You and your kids are beautiful!

  3. Catherine says:

    Thanks Paula! LOL–we need more hot mess moms! Thanks so much! XOXOXO!

  4. spearfruit says:

    This is a wonderful post – funny as usually but also heart warming. You are a wonderful mom and a wonderful person. Thanks Catherine for sharing this, it makes me laugh and smile. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Terry. I’m glad that you liked it. Thank you so much for thinking that I’m wonderful–even though I’m a mess. LOL. Glad I made you laugh and smile! XOXOXO!

  5. JulietC says:

    Thank the good lord for us hot mess mums, I like to think we’d have been great pals (although you might have given me a wide berth the day I turned up to collect kids and I realised I had a sock still up one trouser leg and was wearing odd shoes). I won’t bore you with my many mother-crimes (colouring in bleach stains on black uniform trousers with a permanent marker – yup, leaving a child to mend his own darn crotch after splitting it doing high jumps 5 minutes before leaving for school – yup, he stapled it by the way, I was kind of proud of his initiative…), our kids have turned out OK because of us, in fact BETTER than OK.

    How do I know this (a day spent down in Durham yesterday with Nr.3 child – the “monster child” which has to have been one of the best days ever) and the fact I sit next to one of those “perfect” mums – neither child (20 and 17) can so much as belch without her permission or instruction that MUST BE FOLLOWED TO THE ABSOLUTE LETTER. The daughter is the same age as our Floo – however Nicoloa is turning out “well” according to her mother (not sure she approves of my child rearing practices…). The daughter doesn’t have time for a boyfriend (hell even her mother must have had a boyfriend – she managed to breed after all) and Nicola goes country dancing with her mother and plays accordian in an accordian band with her mother, they also go shopping together for sensible shoes for wide feet… together.

    Our kids have turned out great – I think it is OK to now and then just stand back and admire how fabulous they are. Long live the hot mess mums and if you are ever in my neighbourhood we can have a great night out with all the other former hot mess mums

    • Catherine says:

      Absolutely Juliet! A massive “Well done you” to the hot mess moms of the world. LOL. I’ve actually left one of my children at a baseball field only to realize that he wasn’t in the car when I arrived home. Oh good god, I swear I should have been arrested. Imperfection is the best mother of invention! Don’t you think??? XOXOXO!

  6. Susan says:

    I was sooo hot mess mom…to the mom’s. my son’s friends said I was the cool mom, because they could hang out at our house anytime..

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My house was the hang out house as well! Only a hotmessmom would be able to host so many kids in such an untidy time! XOXOXO!

  7. Tejaswi says:

    Oona is a wonderful daughter…. lovely story…

  8. Oh, Catherine, what a great video! It’s so long ago since I was at the school gate, I can barely remember it. And I don’t remember much competition between mums (btw, in the UK that’s we call moms). But like 30 years later some are still my friends – there’ll always be that bond of waiting outside the school gate together for your kids.

    Ah yes, another thing you see there’s no school bus in the UK like there is in the States (apart from in a few rural areas) so the mums (and dads) have to collect them. And now every Thursday I collect my grandson who’s aged 10 – been doing that for years now. It’s such a great thing to do 🙂

    Btw I love your mom hair with fringe and it was a great story xxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny! Isn’t that video the greatest? I am still friends with my mommies from the kids school days as well. In fact, I’m having lunch with my bestie MaryBeth next week. We’ve been friends since 1994! When we lived in NYC, I drove the kids to school because there was no bus transport to the school they attended and I was petrified when they started taking the bus–oy! But I do remember the camaderie between the moms at St. Ignatius–all in the same boat of picking the kids up in front of the school. It was very nice!

      It’s nice that you can partake in collecting your grandson! Bonaparte drops his granddaughter off at school a couple of times a week–but he’s not very social!!! XOXOXO!!!

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  10. BunKaryudo says:

    That was such a sweet thing of Oona to say, and I must admit made me look at my own kids and furrow my brow. If ever I have to go to their school, the rush to the restroom at the furthest end of the building from me and lock themselves in a stall.

  11. calensariel says:

    An absolutely perfect blog! Hot mess moms every where salute you!!!

  12. Adryana says:

    I loved the story! 😄 You are such a good person. It made my heart warm when I read how you took care of the boy. I think he understood you were there to save him. My mom also used to have that haircut! How did you call it again, hot mess mum bob? I’m sorry, if I said it wrong. Anyway, I loved the haircut and I was so sad when my mom stopped wearing it. I think the year was 1996 or 1998. I don’t remember exactly. It was a long time ago.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Adryana. I’m so glad that you enjoyed my story from the dark side! LOL. I call that hairdo the “hot mess mom bob”. I think EVERY mom and mum sported that do at one point or another during their mom years! XOXOXOXO!!!

  13. LosiLosLoco says:

    What a wonderful story. You never fail to make me chuckle! Goodness, I had a feeling you were a Hot Mess Mommy. Something about you just screamed it but I like that about you! 🙂 And the story is still wonderfully full of moral. I love it. Thanks for sharing! 😀

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