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World's Okayest Mom

Nov 20, 2013 | Updated Jan 25, 2014

We are coming into the dreaded holiday season where people mainlining pumpkin spice and holiday cheer start upping the ante and I can already feel my heart rate rising and the hairs on the back of my neck bristling. My Facebook feed is flooded with mostly humble braggy "thankful" posts from people who normally complain about everything -- even the weather -- on an hourly basis, mixed in with hundreds of (supposedly) unbelievably easy and adorable crafts to make between now and Christmas.

Luckily, I am able to skip right by those posts and tune out the moms at the playdates who are already worrying about how quickly their newest Easy Peasy Life Scheduling Apps ("I just downloaded it this month, and it is a life changer. I can make lists of lists I need to make!") are filling up with holiday parties, photo shoots, shopping lists, visits with the in-laws, gift exchanges, private visits to Santa and more wedged in between the usual soccer practice, art lessons, chess club and Kumon. Since I don't give a crap about most of that stuff, I just smile and say, "I'm so thankful that my kids want cash for Christmas this year, no one has invited me to their cookie exchange in a year now, and I just paid 40 bucks for school pictures, surely no one expects me to take more pictures, right?"

When I see the horrified expressions of the moms illuminated in their glowing cellphone displays, I need to remind myself that I am an OK mom and there is nothing wrong with that.

There is a lot of pressure to be the World's Best Mom. Both from the outside world and from inside my tiny brain. Everywhere I look, I am bombarded with commercials for crap my kids don't need and holiday traditions I must start and food I must bake and then consume in mass quantities. There is an overwhelming feeling to make everything magical and amazing and special and unique and memorable and awe-inspiring or else I'm not a good mom. But you know what I realized a few years ago? I didn't have to listen to those commercials or my tiny brain. I could ignore it all.

That's right. I don't aspire to be the World's Greatest Mom. I don't even try.

I am perfectly happy being the World's Okayest Mom and no one's childhood will be ruined by that.

And it's not just this time of year that I feel this way. It's all year round that I hold that badge of honor proudly. I don't celebrate half birthdays (I celebrate the actual day, you can't get two parties out of me) or spend my weekends constructing the most kick-ass diorama anyone in the third grade has ever seen (I wasn't good at those when I was in third grade, my kid has a better chance at an "A" making it by himself) or baking anything my family would enjoy eating (I live near a bakery for a reason). I don't make festive fall scarecrows to pose on our front porch (hay makes me sneeze) or get up to watch the sun rise with my kids (do you have any idea what time the sun rises??).

Just because I don't do this stuff, doesn't mean I love my kids any less.

I don't live in a fog of mommy guilt where I worry if I'm screwing up my kids. I don't lose sleep at night worrying if my kids like me or if they had a great day. They know I love them and that's what is most important. I have to let them make mistakes and learn from them. I have to take care of more than just their happiness. The way I see it is, it's pretty hard to screw up your kids. As long as you're not abusing or neglecting your kids, you're probably doing OK. As moms, we have to let that guilt go. We have to stop worrying so much about our parenting and second-guessing ourselves and judging ourselves. Our kids are happy if we're happy and I don't see how we can be happy if we're letting the mommy guilt get us down. We can't worry about the kids or the husband or the house at the expense of us. Let's face it, we're the glue that holds this family together and if we start losing it, everyone is going to lose it. We have to give ourselves a break and say, "Today being the Okayest Mom will do."

It doesn't always have to be perfect. Some days you can just pants it. You can throw out the schedule and the menu plan and the vacuuming and just read a book to your kid (better yet, have them read to you, that way you can still play Candy Crush) or draw pictures (never let a 6-year-old draw your portrait unless you're ready for the honest truth about your crow's feet) or build paper airplanes (actually, don't do this -- my house is littered with paper airplanes and mommy guilt might not stress me out, but paper airplanes everywhere certainly do).

During this ridiculously festive and overbearing season, let's put aside our guilt for a day and just embrace our Okayestness (hey, if I'm making up words, I might as well go for broke) and just slow down and breathe and be. I don't know about you, but I'm going to relax and enjoy this time of year and not worry about hitting every item on the holiday to-do list or concentrate on "making memories" with my kids. My guess is, if I just slow down and spend time with the ones I'm truly grateful for, those memories will make themselves. They may not be the best, but OK is fine by me.

This was originally published on People I Want to Punch in the Throat. Follow Jen on Facebook and Twitter.

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