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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a reenactment. Thankfully I STILL have these big-ass rollers. But I did drive to the school with my hair like this…
…and basically, my outfit looked similar to this. I believe in classic, timeless clothing that never goes out of fashion!
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.
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.
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.
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”!