Why I’m OK with the Title of World’s Okayest Mom

world's okayest mom

I bought a fun shirt last week. My husband hates it.

Here, let me show it to you:


Yes, I’m proclaiming that I’m the “World’s Okayest Mom.” Fun, right? It’s comfortable, it’s funny, and it makes me smile. When my son saw it, he grinned and gave me two thumbs up. (He gets me.) My 9-year-old said “Maaaahhhm”.

My husband, on the other hand, shook his head and said “Nice. That’s not much of a growth mindset, now is it?”

If anything, it is irony, because if you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you’ve picked up on this: I’m a perfectionist, and my own worst critic. It’s a terrible combination, particularly for a mother, because, lets face it: kids do not come with owner manuals. And unless your morning coffee is liberally dosed with Bailey’s Irish Cream, whiskey or Valium, you’ve had a moment or two (or twenty, or a thousand) where you’ve questioned whether you are doing this parenting thing right.

Me? I’m the QUEEN of second guessing. Future therapists of the world: you’re welcome.

But back to the shirt, and the growth mindset (or lack thereof). The schools here are really pushing the concept of the growth mindset. It’s nothing new – it’s what I’ve told my own kids (without the fancy label), so obviously, it’s something I appreciate and support. With a “Growth Mindset”, you don’t say things like “I don’t get this”, but instead “I don’t get this – yet”. You don’t say “I can’t do this”, you say “This is hard, but I’m going figure it out.”  It’s about not giving up, and about reframing your frustrations in a more positive manner.

In other words, he thinks my t-shirt signifies a half-assed effort. Worse yet, quitting.

I disagree.

When I say I’m the World’s Okayest Mom, I’m saying that I’m happy – ok – satisfied –  with who I am as a mom. Am I perfect? No. Am I trying my best? Yes.

(Fine, make that most of the time, laundry not included.)

I can’t be the world’s greatest mom.  That mom doesn’t occasionally swear at her kids, or give them cereal for dinner. That mom always has dinner on the table, laundry washed, dried, folded and put away, is perfectly attired and never drives her kids to school in pajamas and definitely doesn’t put reindeer antlers on her car  ONLY because her 11-year-old said it’s “so embarrassing”. (Fact, kiddo: if it’s SO embarrassing, you are most welcome to walk. Just saying’.) She doesn’t hide the good Girl Scout cookies from the rest of her family. And she never, ever, EVER raises her voice.

She’s Marion Cunningham from “Happy Days”. She’s perfect. She’s also not real.

I’m Italian. The lack of volume control? That IS my inside voice. (And he should know it, because he shushes me enough because I’m talking TOO LOUD after the kids go to bed. Pffft. A little noise is good for them.) And if you touch my Girl Scout Tagalongs while I’m PMSing, you may not live to see morning.

The title of world’s greatest mom is also subjective.  My daughter says I’m the world’s greatest mom when she is lovely and loving and in a good mood. I’ll take it, because soon enough (read: puberty) I’m sure I’ll be the world’s worst mom.

The Okayest is somewhere in between. The world’s okayest mom does the best that she can under any given circumstance. She may question whether what she is doing is the best (read: correct) thing. In fact, she will probably question how she handled a situation long after the situation has been forgotten in the mind of her child.  She’s not afraid of shortcuts, wrinkled t-shirts, and messy bun fails.

Claiming to be the world’s okayest mom is permission to breathe and be human.

I’m good with that.


(Alternately: it’s just a t-shirt, and someone needs to lighten up.)


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