Before I had kids, I had a friend named Courtney. She was mom to a vivacious 3-year old, and anytime I got into her car, I immediately saw the evidence. Dozens of Cheerios were scattered across her backseat, crumpled juice boxes sat in piles, and you could barely see the floor. I remember judging the chaos and thinking that I would never let my car get that messy when I have kids.
And then I had a kid.
For many of us, the day-to-day craziness of raising little ones usually leads to disorder in some form. And mom blogger Nikki Pennington wants to assure us we aren’t alone in struggling to keep stuff organized.
Yesterday, Love What Matters shared Pennington’s heartfelt note to every “hot mess school mom” out there. The mother of three explained that leading a busy life with kids means that sometimes you find homework assignments while cleaning out the car. Or that you sometimes you tell the teachers that you have an entire school year’s worth of soda cans in there so your kids “can learn about recycling.” And that sometimes there may be a funky odor inside, and you just won’t know why.
“I’d like to give a shout out to all my fellow hot mess school moms,” she wrote in her post. “To the moms still trying to find where that smell in the truck is coming from that started sometime after August 1st. To the moms that live inside their cars four times a day, five days a week and don’t have time to clean up that mess, they just move it over. To the moms that pull up to the drop off line with a minute to spare and hear everything in their vehicle shift as they slam on the breaks because breakfast, snacks, school projects and emergency toys … pile up fast y’all.”
She then makes a loving request to anyone reading. She asks us to acknowledge these parents, love them, and admit that we’ve all been there at some point.
“May we promise to look the other way when we see one and not mom shame, and may we all know we are doing the best we can even when our car looks a hot mess like us,” she said.
It is Pennington’s hope to ease the embarrassment felt by other distressed parents by helping them see she’s just like them.
“I have mom friends with cars that look the same way, so I knew I wasn’t alone in this and didn’t want others to feel alone either,” she tells Babble. “I’m thankful to see that so many can relate to it.”
But while many people have supported Pennington’s words, not everyone has been as welcoming. In fact, some commenters were downright mean in their responses to the sight of a slightly messy car.
“Just nasty. It doesn’t take much effort to pick up your trash as you leave the car. Are you that lazy?” one mom wrote.
Another one scoffed:
“When I used to be a detailer, I despised you people. It’s disgusting, and if you let food sit in your vehicle it’s definitely not good for your kids. Why does no one have any pride anymore in the things they own?”
The internet can be a cruel place sometimes.
To the haters, Pennington shares that everyone has a right to their own opinion. She just wishes others would be kinder with their words.
“Yes, our children might see messy cars, but they also can read unkind comments that were made online to someone else,” she says. “I’ll stick with my messy car and keep being kind online to other moms who share their hearts.”
Well said, mama.
Pennington realizes the risk she takes every day in sharing her motherhood journey online. So she always reminds herself that she isn’t posting for those who judge her.
“You are doing it for the moms in the trenches who need that compassion and need to see they aren’t alone,” she notes.
She also has an awesome view on motherhood — to never aim for the impossible attainment of perfection.
“At the end of the day, as long as the babies are happy and I stay focused on raising good human beings, then I’m completely okay with a messy car,” she says.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.