Being the Okayest
I don’t know if I have ever received a better compliment than being told I am a good mom. Sure, having people comment on my beauty, my brains, my talents is all wonderful but there is something that happens in my heart when people tell me I am a great parent. The problem is, this is often through social media, on the perfectly planted pictures that capture a moment of joy and laughter with my children.
The problem is, it is a moment. There are twice as many moments throughout the days that aren’t as perfect, aren’t as pretty, and aren’t a display of the parent I want to be. I don’t post about those moments (most of the time) but they are there, staring me in the face and making me question my abilities.
Parenting – the ultimate test of who you are and what you want to be.
When I only had Maddy, I wanted her to have the perfect life. I wanted to give her the world while also keeping her grounded. Then Oliver came along and I had less of myself to give to her. Sometimes I had to ignore her to tend to her brother and sometimes I would let Oliver cry while I finished a game with Maddy. It took some getting used to, for all of us, and a little piece of my heart broke for my children.
Here I was, in the awkward postpartum stage, wondering how I could be the parent to two kids that I had tried to be for one. It was impossible. It IS impossible. That is when I realized, I’m glad it’s impossible.
Just about six months ago, I joined a Facebook group for mothers. It is a small community of women who support each other throughout our parenting struggles and victories, and the longer time goes by, we celebrate and weep with each other over our lives. It started as a joke, but our philosophy has been from the beginning to be the okayest. We were never really interested in the “perfect marriage”, “perfect kids”, “perfect life” posts. We wanted what was real. I had those who joined in to commiserate when I ranted about my non-sleeping baby and those who celebrated with me when he slept through the night in his own bed three nights in a row. Our goal has been to be there for one another in a way that is so rare these days – no judgement, just love and support. It has made a world of difference in how I parent and how I view myself. It has helped me realize that I have the okayest kids and that I don’t have to expect perfection from them. It allows freedom in our relationship.
Because the truth is, being the okayest is really being who we are. We are admitting that we are doing the best we can and that the best doesn’t always look like the best. Sometimes we need to start drinking wine at 4:00 in the afternoon. Sometimes we have to let our screaming toddler lay on the floor as we hide in the closet eating a candy bar. Sometimes we just need to be able to say that we feel like we can’t keep doing this parenting thing. I am eternally grateful to have a safe space to share in, no matter what that sharing looks like.
We can’t be alone in this parenting thing. We may not use the village to raise our children anymore, but we need a parenting village to help keep our heads above the water. Don’t be afraid to find that group for you.
Are you not a part of one? Feel free to start here. This is a group of I Bambini Clothing fans who are amazing, supportive mothers. And you know what? We know what it’s like to be the okayest. We don’t expect perfection and we see the beauty in what you may see as weakness.
Come join us. Be the okayest parent you can be.
As the years have gone by and my parenting has been shaped and molded, I see now that the best compliment someone can give me is to tell me I am the okayest. That really just means that I am trying the best that I can with what I have and it is real – and that is more than okay.
And you know what? Your children are going to be more than okay too.