Here’s To You, World’s Okayest Moms

There’s a pretty good chance I’m never going to win Mother of the Year. First of all, I’m not even sure when they give those awards out, or where you go to accept them. It might be broadcast on a channel that isn’t on my streaming service. Second of all, I doubt they give those awards to moms who paraphrase Futurama’s Bender when putting their kids to bed, as in, “Go to bed, kids, Mommy’s sick of looking at you.”

No, Mother of the Year candidates are more likely the type to sacrifice all to their children–their time, their patience, perhaps their sanity.

Thing is, you’re not likely to win Mother of the Year, either. It’s nothing personal—it’s just math. Statistically speaking, we can’t all win.

I am not Mother of the Year; I'm the World's Okayest Mom, okay?

And it’s OK. You’re OK.

Some days you really hit this mom thing on all cylinders. Your kids connect with you in a deep and profound way, and you learn new things about one another. You remember all the things you committed to do. You make a dinner that everyone actually eats. The books you read to your kids stimulate their imaginations. You hug your children until they are fully satisfied that their hugging needs are met. You go to bed, content and happy, secure in the knowledge that you are a Great Mom.

I am not Mother of the Year; I'm the World's Okayest Mom, okay?

And then there are the other days. The days that you make an offhanded remark to your child, and she resents you for it forever. Like the time my daughter came to me concerned about a bump on her head, and I told her it was just the screw that held her together. (Turned out, it was a tick. ) Or the days that you forget that you were supposed to bring the snack to the thing. Or you try a new recipe and your children take one bite and then imitate an overactive gag reflex. Maybe you spend way too much time on your phone. You hug your child briefly, but then decide that if one more person touches you for one more minute, you’re going to lose your marbles.

You go to bed, disappointed in yourself, worried that you have Ruined Everything Forever.

I am not Mother of the Year; I'm the World's Okayest Mom, okay?

It’s OK. You’re OK. You’re a human being. You get to have off days. You are a mom 24/7, 365. (366 in Leap Years.) Sometimes you’re going to slip a gear. Sometimes you’re not your best self. Is anyone her best self all the time?

Let’s go over some facts. Did you beat your kids today? No? Good. Don’t beat your kids. Did they eat something today? I don’t care if it’s lentil soup and kale salad or a Twinkie washed down with a Yoo-Hoo. They ate? Good. Did you snap at them today for no reason? Or maybe you snapped at them for a very GOOD reason? Well, did you calm down? Do you feel better now? OK, talk to the kids about why you snapped. Apologize if you feel it’s the right thing to do.

It’s OK. You’re OK. We’re all doing our best here. Tomorrow is another chance to start over.

Don’t let yesterday’s mood determine today’s. Give it another shot at Mother of the Year. Or maybe just getting a C in the mothering department. If Cs can get degrees, then surely Cs in mothering can produce adequate children. Someday maybe you can aspire to a “check plus” grade from your child. Some days are a check plus. Some are a check minus. Other days are just an equal sign.

It’s OK. You’re OK.

The mom thing, it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint. You don’t have to be the perfect mama every minute. Sometimes you can just be Melanie, if that is in fact your name. You are a person, too. You were a person before you had kids, and you’ll be a person after they move out.  Don’t lose sight of yourself.

It’s OK. You’re OK. Let’s be OK together.

Here’s to us, World’s Okayest Moms.

I am not Mother of the Year; I'm the World's Okayest Mom, okay?


Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.