Is there anything wrong with being “World’s Okayest Mom?”

The other day I saw the funniest t-shirt on someone: The World’s Okayest Mom. I giggled to myself, thinking how ironic it is that we’ve gone from t-shirts that proclaim, “The World’s Best Mom” to “The World’s Okayest Mom.” Initially I thought nothing of it. I mean, it’s just a funny t-shirt. They’re not supposed to be profound statements on life and I completely relate to being the World’s Okayest Mom! However, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was indicative of something more, especially considering the times we are currently living in.

Trophies, trophies, and more trophies

With 9 children who enjoy sports, you can imagine how many trophies and medals they rack up. But now, more so than previous generations. Granted, I was not a sporty kid growing up and therefore I have no real sports medals to show off. But these days, they give out trophies for just showing up. Literally.

Granted, it’s important to show up. And it’s encouraging to be rewarded for those efforts. However, if the best on a team are rewarded in exactly the same way as those who just show up and don’t put in fruitful work and effort (i.e. they’re just Okay), what kind of motivation is there to be excellent? How are we encouraging our kids to stretch and achieve, even when it’s an effort and uncomfortable, when at the end of the day, everyone is given the same trophy or medal?

Drawbacks to “The Best”

The pressure to always be the best has some clear drawbacks, such as the fact that technically only one person wins. Obviously, that’s inherent to being the best. Therefore that makes a whole lot of “losers.” That is probably one of the reasons why the last couple of decades there has been such an enthusiastic push for medals and trophies for all children, not just the best ones. Since hey, they all showed up and tried. Why not?

But here’s the rub. What happens, for example, when we continue to give accolades to children who technically don’t deserve it since they did not win or were not the best (again, they were just Okay), is that they may acquire a huge sense of entitlement. They end up getting very used to “winning” and having their own way, and when they don’t (because we all know we can’t always get what we want), then all hell can break loose. Very well intentioned, but short-sighted parents do this all the time because they want to make their children happy. Don’t we all? But long term, this is an incredibly unwise way to raise children. These same kids grow up to be adults that have a good chance of being ticked off at the world because life has happened and they are all victims of an unjust world since they didn’t get what they wanted or they didn’t get what they thought they deserved. Entitled, lost, and dangerous children in adult bodies is who many end up becoming.

Should we be Okay with Okay or “meh” efforts?

When we, as mothers, set our sites at being “Okay” and accepting mediocre efforts as something to applaud, we can also get a sense of entitlement. I know that personally I can, anyway! I’m not advocating being “World’s Best Mom” by necessarily having a tidy and picked-up house always or looking beautifully put-together all the time (although those are not bad goals!). But I AM advocating for increased patience, being slower to speak, and loving our family even when they’re unlovable. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with these things, but the point is we all have those areas that are harder to give it our best than others. Often we can rationalize our poor choices (I’m tired, the kids are psycho today, it’s been a super long day, etc), but if we’re honest with ourselves, the label “World’s Okayest Mom” would be a stretch. The LORD calls us to more than that.

No coddle zone

Praise the LORD, Jesus doesn’t coddle His children. He loves us too much to be satisfied with just half-sy efforts. Remember the story of the talents? The owner of the property needed to go away on a trip, so he gave one servant five talents, another two talents, and the last man, one talent; each according to their ability (Matt 25:14-30).

Now, the point of the parable wasn’t the fact that the first and second man doubled what was given to them. They each got the exact same praise from their master since they both did the best they could with what they had been given, considering each of their abilities. The biggest take-away is the fact that the man with the one talent did nothing with what was given to him. Technically, he did Okay. He didn’t lose it or grow it. But the master became angry with that guy. Why? Because he was lazy and did not do his best. So then he had to give that one talent over to the guy with ten! Youch!

Blessed to be a mom

Being a mom is hard, no matter who you are. It can be so difficult some days to even give a small amount of effort, let alone our very best. Thankfully, having a label like, “World’s Best Mom” is not the goal. However, being content with “World’s Okayest Mom” is also not the goal. As Believers we are always to strive for excellence as we follow Him. And why do we do that? Because He’s the best. And because of our love for Him, we strive to be like Him and honor Him in whatever we do (1 Cor. 10:31; Col 3:17). And if we end up being the best in the process as Eric Liddell did, praise Jesus! And if we end up being just “The World’s Okayest fill-in-the-blank” by the world’s standards, that’s OK too! As long as we are striving for excellence in obedience and doing our best, praise God! It’s not nearly as much about the results as it is the effort and submissive attitude we have. In whatever we do, let it all be for His glory and our good.


©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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