“Hi, my name is Kristin.”
“So I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while. It’s taken me years to admit this but … I am a hot mess. I still have my days where I’m still in denial but I can proudly say I have been embracing my hot mess for a few months now … so … progress.”
A slow hand clap begins and I hear a faint “wohoo” in the distance. I shyly give a half grin to the crowd as I let our a huge sigh and find my chair. I’m in Hot Mess Anonymous … at least in my head.
Okay, first off, let me say that my HMA joke doesn’t take away any of the notoriety of such programs for serious disease and disorders.
But I am a hot mess. I guess I have known for a while but ya know, some weeks I just wish I had it all together.
Last week was one of them. Our son J was recovering from a nasty cold … or so we thought. We had scheduled his first ABA therapy visit for Wednesday, which also happen to be my husband’s birthday. And that Tuesday night as were putting our oldest son to bed, he began to grab his left ear and cry uncontrollably.
H doesn’t have ear problems so this was alarming. Tylenol, a warm washcloth, earache drops, cuddles and a hour later he was calm and asleep. Our youngest, our sweet P, had started showing signs of congestion and the same cold that was making its way to everyone in the house. So let’s just say between H’s ear and having to keep P elevated all night, this mom didn’t get much sleep.
Wednesday morning came and all three kids were coughing and hacking and those slightly runny noses that I thought were from allergies were now leaky faucets. I called in to work, used a sick day. My husband was home but wasn’t feeling great either. We decided to push back ABA therapy another week because of the crud. So we all went to the doctor and everyone was put on meds and then we were off to a birthday celebration dinner. But pink eye decided to show up Thursday morning for my oldest and me, nothing terrible but enough to concern us both. So I worked from home and kept H home another day. Friday came and finally everyone seemed to be on the mend.
I mailed off a few bills, called Verizon about my phone glitching, and rescheduled J’s ABA therapy and meeting the BCBA, aka supervisor, for the following week. Insurance approved up to 12 hours of ABA therapy (yah!) so now we were trying our best to squeeze in time for it on top of J’s other therapies at his special education preschool.
So as you can see, on Friday I felt like I was fire and in a goo way. This mama was not a cool and organized mess. This mom had her stuff together. After a cruddy week, things were turning around for a fun weekend of paper macheing a valentine box for H’s party. And I was feeling extra ambitious and decided to introduce big boy underwear to J. He’s been showing great signs at school that it was time for potty training.
I had snacks, treats for potty training, craft supplies and I was ready to enjoy a warmer weekend. Go mama! And then I parked my car in the driveway, stepped out onto the yard and was greeted with “Mom, MOM guess what!? My party was today!”
“Yeah! It was great. I have SO much candy!”
My heart sank. No – it dropped off a two-story building. I tried so hard to take care of everyone in the family and everything else we have going on while the sickness plaqued our home and I still felt like I didn’t quite measure up. I felt like someone had slapped me in the face. At least, in my head. I admit it, I had a mommy meltdown. Like I said, some days I wish I had it together. I wish I had more energy to organize like I want. And there it was, the comparison beast staring at me. Anxious thoughts bubbled to the surface and a wave crashed over me. My insecurities were upfront and center. I called my mother in tears. She assured me over and over again that I was a good mom. And while I know this to be true, at that moment however, I felt like a giant hot mess. Mom of the freakin’ year right here.
My son didn’t care that he didn’t have valentines to pass out, and he didn’t care that he had a white sack with a drawing on it for his “box.” He only cared about the fun games and candy. But when he saw my tears, his empathy kicked in and he would not leave my side. He followed me around the house hugging me and telling me it was okay and that we could make the box for fun — which by the way, we did and he took it to school on Monday.
That’s when I knew that even though the enemy tries so hard to use my insecurities against me, to get me to compare myself to others that have their ducks in a row or at least they give the impression they have it all together, the enemy wasn’t winning this battle. God and I were winning this anxiety battle and it was in my son’s eyes I saw God’s response to my cries. I was enough. I am enough. I don’t have to try to win God’s love, he gives it freely because I gave my heart and everything in it to Him.
My son didn’t care about the box, I cared because I didn’t want to be judged. I was letting this world judge me, I was giving it power over me instead of God’s heavenly truth. A power it doesn’t deserve.
Here I was worrying about what everyone else would think and the embarrassment I imagined in my head of other moms giving pity to H. Sometimes, we really are our own worst enemies.
But no one is perfect, we all judge, we all fall, we are all hot messes at some point. We all have meltdowns. But here’s the thing, God made us hot messes to show us that we are not alone, to show us that we are not meant to do life alone. He is with us and he sends people into our lives to help us, whether they are around for decades or only a day.
If we were “perfect” by this world’s expectations and could everything on our own, we would all look like something out of The Twilight Zone. And we wouldn’t experience God’s blessings and love, mercy and grace — how boring we would be?!
He is with us and he adores us. He is two steps ahead of us always, guiding us.
I don’t have to have it all together and neither do you. We aren’t suppose to have it together or be “on” all the time. You know who is “on” all the time? Fictional characters and robots, and I prefer to be real. Why be anything else? We are all just trying to do our best at this thing call life, and that’s enough.
Where does it say in the Bible that we have to have everything perfect – our home, relationships, our behavior? It doesn’t say that. Sure, we need to take care of ourselves and others but we don’t have to be “on” to earn His love. Remember God chose some shady people to be his disciples. That tells me that God doesn’t look at our emotions or actions. He looks at our hearts, because that’s all He wants. He saw something in those legendary people in the Bible and now their stories stand the test of time. If God can transform them, he can transform me in his perfect timing.
So in case you are wondering, what are the perks of being a hot mess? You definitely have to have a sense of humor and I can be the bomb dot com now and then with a good joke or witty retort. You learn to go with the flow and being a hot mess teaches you to let go. Now that doesn’t mean you don’t have control issues, sometimes I think hot messes actually have more control issues because they are hot messes. And like I said, sometimes you just want to have it all together.
If you are a hot mess, you know it. Hell, you own it because some days you just don’t give a damn what people think and that’s a freedom we are all striving for in every aspect of our lives. Some have mastered it or have learned to cover it up … and some of us (slow hand raise) are working on it. But that’s okay! In fact, that’s more than okay!
When people share a embarrassing story chances are you have one similar if not worse. Crazy things happen to you and make great stories you have to share because chances are you will find someone who won’t believe you.
They say laughter is the best medicine and when you are a hot mess, you can either cry or laugh. I chose the latter most of the time. That doesn’t mean I don’t crack and need to shed a few tears. We are all human. And if you are a empath like me and a hot mess, I’m giving you a hug right now.
So for all you hot messes out there, I want to remind that you are enough and don’t give up on yourself. Work to get your shit together but know that not all your shit has to be all lined up. When you see someone with all their shit together, just know that they may just be having a good day and if so, that’s wonderful. Or maybe their office is immaculate but their home looks like a F2 tornado dropped from the sky, they are just that good at covering up. No judgement, just remember that things rarely appear to be what they are – especially for rear view mirrors and people.
My ducks may be in the same pond and they are definitely not in a row but they are my ducks and I am damn proud to be their hot mess mama. I may forget things, I may let my anxiety get the best of me every so often but my three kids are the best things in my life and they love me – hot mess and all- and God’s loves me, and that’s more than enough for me.
So if you’re a hot mess, own it! God made you this way and He did for a reason. You are not a screw up, you are not a mistake. You are enough, promise. So when you receive your Hot Mess Anonymous invite, please pass it along to me … but only if there will be pizza.