My dear friend Christy gave me this mug.
Isn’t it perfect? She knew giving me this mug would not offend me, because I have often bestowed this title upon myself.
When I posted the above picture on Facebook, I got many comments from other moms who also resemble this remark. Reading their stories, I realized: we are all in this together. We are all the World’s Okayest Moms, and that is just the way it is going to be. You see, sometimes we can get caught in the trap of trying to present a certain persona to the public.
You know what I mean. Before you posted that last selfie, how many selfies did you take, critique, edit, and discard before you found the one selfie you were willing to share?
Uh huh. Me too.
I actually enjoy sharing REAL stories and REAL pictures that give people a glimpse of how my life REALLY is. I have even shared pictures of my dirty stove top and the mold growing inside my toilet here.
But you better believe I stop just short of sharing the REAL pictures that are unflattering or where my hair looks like I haven’t combed it in three days or if there is even the slightest chance I look (gasp) fat!
And how many Facebook statuses or tweets or texts did you send or not send based upon how it might make others perceive you?
The thing is, in this world of selfies and sound bites, we have the opportunity to mold our public image into pretty much anything we want it to be. I do it too. I tend to be an over-sharer by nature and I really don’t mind letting the world in on my dirty laundry, but there are some things I am going to keep to myself because I don’t want others to think less of me.
The truth is I AM less! Oh, not in a bad way. But in a real way. I just can’t do it all or be it all or say it all in just the right way. And that’s okay!
My dear fellow okayest moms, let’s be honest with each other.
We are all okay. Some days are great. Some days are not. Some days we have enough patience and love to last from sunrise to sunset and we even have a “little something” left over for our husband.
Some days our kids eat Pop Tarts in their pajamas at noon amidst the piles of dirty laundry and when our husbands look at us with googly eyes we are like, “If ONE MORE person wants to touch me today, I will HURT them.” Of course, we usually want to share about those first kinds of days but keep quiet about the second. Mamas, we ALL have these kinds of days!
So, in a spirit of camaraderie and solidarity, I now share with you my very own Top 3 World’s Okayest Mom Moments.
#3. I lied. In front of my kids. And they caught me.
You know that perfect mom? The one who looks good and smells good and dresses good and IS so good inside that her good heart just shines out of her do-gooder and perfectly made-up eyes that have almost no wrinkles surrounding them. (She is probably a World’s Okayest Mom, too, just like the rest of us.)
But, anyway, this mom planned a party. And she made up these absolutely adorable, color-coordinated invitations. The invitations even came with a pre-party activity for my child to complete and bring with them to the festivity. This mom sent home the invitation with my child from school. She asked for an RSVP.
I forgot to RSVP.
Then one day, as all of my children were loading into the minivan in the pick-up line at school, and backpacks and elbows were flying everywhere with a very real chance of connecting with someone’s cheek bone, and I was slightly distracted by the dog I thought would be fun to bring along for the car ride who had just peed on the upholstery (true story), and I had not showered that day (also true story), I hear a tap on my window.
Startled, I turn to see this mom standing there with a kind and beautiful smile on her face.
I slowly rolled down the window.
She asked me if I had gotten the invitation and if my child would be attending the party.
Why didn’t I say I had forgotten? I don’t know what came over me but I opened up my mouth and out came the words, “What invitation? I don’t think I saw any invitation.”
From the back seat my child says, “Yes you did, Mom. I gave it to you last week.”
Why did I lie? I seriously have no idea. I would like to blame it on the dog urine fumes. I think they addled my brain.
I have since repented and asked for forgiveness. From my children, not from this other mom. I hope she is not reading this blog right now.
#2. I forgot one of my children.
I buckled up my other five children and drove away and left one child at home.
We were trying to get to church on time, you know. I was hurrying everyone along.
“Come on, children! We don’t want to be late! Get your shoes on and put that lizard back outside and stop pinching your brother’s arm and yes honey your hair looks delightful and GET IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW because WE NEED TO BE ON TIME TO WORSHIP THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!”
Whew! I did it. We were all (or so I thought) in the car and headed to church. Then my oldest son says from the back seat all casual-like, “Hey, Mom. Where’s Leah?”
Yep. I forgot a child. She had been in her room with the door closed and had somehow missed the
harried pleadings gentle prodding I had administered to get everyone out the door.
The good news is she was still in her room with the door closed when we went back for her, blissfully unaware that anything out of the ordinary had taken place.
#1. I forgot my friend’s children.
This is worse than #2 because this time, I forgot FOUR children, not just one. And this time around, the children were aware of the mishap.
My dear friend Jessica asked a favor of me. An easy thing, really. Our children attend the same school. Jessica and I were meeting at the gym after school. Would I mind picking up her children and meeting her at the gym?
Sure. Absolutely no problem. Anything for a friend.
I went to the school and I drove through the pick up line and I loaded up my children and I waved at her children and I drove to the gym.
As I was about to get my sweat on my phone rings.
It was my friend Jessica. Whatever could she want?
The school had called Jessica to ask where she was. It seems no one had shown up to gather her children that day. Her little darlings were in after school care until someone could come and pick them up.
You guys, I cried. I felt so bad that I cried! But Jessica is a true friend and she assured me it was not a big deal. She forgave me.
On a completely unrelated note, Jessica has never asked me to pick up her children again. If you would like to be uninvited from the carpool rotation, you could borrow this idea.
Here’s the thing. We ALL have moments like this. Some of them worse than others, yes, but not one of us is perfect. We are not meant to be.
My fellow mamas, we are not perfect, but... we are the perfect mamas for our children.
We are enough.
We are the World’s Okayest Moms.
Natalie Gwyn lives in Northern California with her husband and six children. She excels at laundry and laughter. She struggles mightily with patience and all things crafty. Natalie writes on The Huffington Post, The Today Show, For Every Mom and many other syndications. She shares stories from her crazy beautiful life on nataliegwyn.com.