WOM Blog

How to Have Good Dental Health When You Experience Morning Sickness

Author: Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)

Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. When a woman is pregnant she experiences many symptoms and side effects. One of the most common symptoms is morning sickness. While the nausea and vomiting are often times unbearable, many women are unaware of how this pregnancy side effect can affect their dental health. I have been working with expecting mothers for nearly 20 years to help them work through their morning sickness and help their teeth stay healthy. Since dental care during pregnancy is so important, I have compiled some helpful tips to help women during this special time in their life.


1. Don’t Skip Brushing

The intense nausea and vomiting that you may experience while you are pregnant may cause you to skip a few meals. However, it’s important to not let it cause you to skip your dental care routine. It’s important to keep your teeth as healthy as possible while you’re pregnant to avoid gum disease and other serious health issues. If the thought of brushing your teeth makes you feel even sicker, consider switching to a plain-tasting toothpaste instead. You can also change the time of day you brush or use a smaller amount of toothpaste.  

2. Use Baking Soda and Water

If you’re experiencing morning sickness while pregnant and you find yourself vomiting throughout the day, you probably are rushing to brush your teeth after a wave of nausea. However, it’s important to protect your enamel from the gastric acid so before you brush you should swish your mouth with baking soda and water. The baking soda will help neutralize the acid in your stomach which helps protect the enamel. Swish the mixture in your mouth for a few seconds, rinse, and then brush your teeth as normal. 

3. Avoid Sugary Foods

Once you get your appetite back after a bout of morning sickness, you may be running to the pantry for sugary foods and drinks, especially if you are feeling low on energy. However, it’s best to turn to healthier foods that are better for your dental health and provide you with longer lasting energy. Try eating things such as cheese, veggies, nuts, and lean proteins. Keep in mind not to restrict your diet too much and it’s completely okay to indulge in sugary cravings, as long as it doesn’t become a habit as it can greatly affect the health of your teeth. If you do snack on sugary treats be sure to clean your teeth regularly to avoid tooth decay. 

Among the many side effects of pregnancy, morning sickness is one of the most common. Aside from the intense nauseating feelings and trips to the toilet, morning sickness can also have effects on your dental health. There are many ways you can help combat these side effects to help you feel better and to avoid any serious issues in your mouth. Try to continue your oral care routine the best you can to help avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Pregnancy is such a special time in a woman’s life and it’s important to maintain your dental care routine during this time to keep your mouth healthy as you prepare for this new journey of motherhood.

About the Author:

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis.jpg

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and has gone on to complete over 200 hours of study at the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle. She belongs to numerous dentistry networks include the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. With being a female dentist on the Dentably team, Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.

5 Things You and Your Family Need To Consider Before Adopting A Dog or Puppy

Author: Brittany Cotton 

Getting your first family pet is an unforgettable experience that will create a lifetime of memories and also teach your kids about responsibility. While many families want to adopt a puppy, bringing a dog of any age into your home requires careful planning rather than making an impulsive decision. 

Have you been browsing pet finders or have your kids been begging for a puppy? Here are some things to consider before you bring a furry four-legged friend into your home.


Choosing the Right Dog

Whether you’re planning on adopting a puppy or older dog, it’s important to make sure you are selecting the right dog for your family. Just like us, dogs have different personalities, behaviors, and preferences. Some dogs are better suited for families and to live with children while other dogs don’t like children or prefer to live in a quiet household with a single owner.

You are more likely to encounter older dogs who may not be the best match for families with kids, but you could face the same challenges with a puppy or younger dog. Before you adopt, it’s important to get as much information about the dog and spend some quality time with the pup before you decide whether or not to adopt.

Whether you’re adopting from an animal shelter or purchasing directly from a breeder, it’s a good idea to create a list of questions about the dog. The questions you have may differ from other families, but it’s important to ask about personality traits, likes and dislikes, activity level, amount of training, and other essential information. 

Getting to Know Your Pup

 Before you finalize the adoption, make sure that all your immediate family members get the chance to meet and interact with the dog. Keep in mind that some puppies or older dogs may take a little time to warm up to new people. If you don’t have the time, patience, or desire to help a dog through a transition, the pup’s not for you. 

Prepping Your Home For Puppy

 One of the benefits of adopting an older dog, which is past the puppy stage, is that they are already house trained. While you might have to prepare your home for any age of the dog, puppies require the most “proofing.”

When puppy-proofing your home, look at the task as you might with baby or toddler proofing. Keep valuables out of reach and if you have expensive or special items that might be enticing to puppy teeth, such as leather or wood furniture, keep an eye on your puppy or put the items out of reach. Persian rugs and other hard to clean items should be kept “off-limits” until your puppy is completely house trained.

Getting the Right Supplies For Your Puppy

There’s always the chance that you’ll need to buy more supplies after you adopt your pup, but it’s best to have the essentials before you adopt. Indestructible toys, dog beds, and crates are “must needs” for most families with a puppy. Find high-quality items that will withstand the chewing of a puppy and have enough toys to keep your energetic pup entertained.

Are Your Kids Ready For a Dog? 

You kids may be making lists of reasons why you should get a dog and are making promises that they will pick up every mess a puppy makes but is your family really ready for a dog? Before you bring a furry canine into your home, talk as a family, and make realistic expectations about caring for a pup.  

Even if you have younger children, they can still help with feeding, training, and other daily tasks. Talk about the importance of raising a dog as a family. Your children also need to know how to handle dogs appropriately and how to be respectful to all dogs. If you have young children, never leave them unattended with a dog of any age as injuries, and other issues can arise.

A dog is a welcome addition to almost every family, but it’s essential to think about all the pros and cons before you bring a four-legged friend home.

About the Author:

Brittany Cotton is a freelance writer with a passion for health and happiness. If there are preventable methods for health issues that are common today, you will find her writing about them. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, painting or baking yummy treats.


Author: April Brannan

I know that this time of year, Facebook gets inundated with "first day of school" pics - complete with blinged out chalkboards, matching outfits, and about a hundred "outtake" shots where one kid was picking their nose, or the other just burped, or they're both shoving each other because they are SO over this. And I would guess that any non-mommies probably are also SO over this when their Facebook feeds are completely full of kids on their first day of school.

Ahem...in case you missed them, here's my lineup -

Here's the thing - these snapshots aren't really for sharing with the world - they're for memories for the photographer...but if any mommies are like me, they've forgone the baby book for the more convenient Facebook or #instababybook - a click or two away, no printing necessary, easy editing, and instant time/date stamp. I couldn't tell you the date I was proposed to, my first date, or when Allie got her first tooth...because I wasn't on Facebook yet. But now, if anyone asks me about Caden's development milestones, how long we've had our dog, or when I got my last haircut, forget the calendar app - I go straight to Facebook.

I view these posts through my own unique-but-not-actually-that-unique perspective: my mommy goggles, if you will. "Moggles," if you're fond of sticking words together like my sister is (or if you're a J.K. Rowling fan and it makes you giggle.) Because of my mommy goggles, I don't see the back to school poses as redundant. I don't care that nobody else cares that Caden only has five stickers on his potty chart, or that Allie loves to sleep with a creepy, ratty old one-eyed koala. I will click every filter option on my Instagram pic until I find the perfect setting that both highlights my daughter's youth and hides my gray hair and blemished face. Not because I don't want the world to judge me...but because this will help me remember how things were at this stage...and I don't want ME to judge me. I want to either portray the perfect mom, or at least the easy-breezy nonchalant mom that can laugh off her mistakes with a sarcastic #momoftheyear...but nothing in between. I will both shamelessly crop out the dirty laundry and shamelessly highlight it because I am making a STATEMENT about how post-modern my housekeeping skills are...but I would never accidentally leave the dirty laundry in the picture. It's only trendy and not gross if I leave it in the picture ON PURPOSE. But I don't really go to all that effort for the public arena in which I'm displaying these photos...and really not even for far away family members (although I will constantly admit to "over-posting" ONLY because my dad lives in Montana.) This effort is for future-me.

Because, while my "moggles" recognize the importance of each moment that I whip out the phone camera for...my frazzled mommy brain won't really remember much of it in the next few hours, not to mention years. For instance, flipping back through pictures of my early Facebook days, I found this gem:


and I couldn't believe I hadn't remembered to pic stitch together a duo of that sweet wanna-be kindergartener with the actual kindergartener last year! Like, this one, perhaps:


(And it just so happens that mommy was a kindergarten teacher for both of those pictures, just two different districts and four years apart!)

See, my mommy goggles notice cool full-circle moments like that. Frazzled mommy brain can't tell you what we ate for dinner, but I slipped on the moggles and noticed something about this sweet moment I snapped tonight:


That chair. That six year old cheap Ikea chair that I squeak-rocked Allie to sleep in tonight - that is a part of my mommy story. I had almost forgotten that I bought that chair when I was pregnant with Allie, and that I rolled around my kindergarten classroom in it that whole year. I kept a glass of water close by that chair at all times, because I was SURE that my water would break at school and I wouldn't know what to tell the kids, so I figured I would pretend to spill the water and then nonchalantly head to the hospital. I sat in that chair when my sweet kindergarteners (and their sweet mommies) threw me a baby shower. After Allie was born and I was getting ready to come back to work, I brought her to school with me on the weekends and nursed her to sleep in that chair. A few years later, when I FINALLY had my own classroom again (after a year as an aide that felt like a decade) I sat, pregnant again, at my desk in that chair, typing an announcement to my parents that I was expecting. I sat in that same spot, just a couple weeks later, letting them know I had suffered a miscarriage...and then several weeks later, that I was pregnant again. That was quite a roller coaster ride we went on, my teacher chair and me, that year. I sat in that chair, feeling Caden kick, terrified that I would stop feeling him at any moment. I would waddle over to Allie's daycare across the street every day after school, and try to keep up with her on the way back to school, and then she would sit in my soon elusive lap while I tried to catch up on work and rock her at the same time. The year after Caden was born, I sat in that chair and pumped milk for him twice a day, trying to work on my computer and keep from spilling...and I was devastated as each thirty minute pumping session only yielded a few ounces. It was in that chair that I made the heartbreaking decision to start supplementing with formula, sure that it would signal the end of his breast feeding too soon. I sat in that chair about a year and a half after that, nursing my 20-ish month old to sleep on a Saturday afternoon at work, knowing that this time it really WAS going to be the end of our nursing but feeling peace and gratitude that we lasted so long. That chair helped me move into three new classrooms in the next four years, as I rolled my supplies around in it and my stroller. This year, we took it home for the summer and home it has stayed, because I got a hand-me-down desk chair from a fellow teacher that was MUCH comfier and squeaked a little less.

And then tonight, I rocked her to sleep in that squeaky old chair...something I haven't done (in that chair anyway) for several years. I took the picture because I thought it was sweet that she fell asleep so quickly, but as I was picking the right Instagram filter, my mommy goggles spotted the corner of the chair and those memories came a-flooding. It blew my mind that this baby, who was inside my belly just MINUTES ago, is now taking spelling tests, having sleepovers, selling Girl Scout cookies, and begging to get her ears pierced because "EVERYONE in my class has their ears pierced, Mom!"

I share all this to say - be patient with over-posting mommies. These snapshots into our kids' lives might seem boring or excessive to you, but with mommy goggles firmly in place, they become EVERYTHING. It isn't about the "mommy wars" as we try to outdo one another. It isn't about using our kids as an excuse to show off our new manicure. It isn't about making excuses for our inevitable absences from work (although a picture of a pitiful sicky kiddo sure couldn't hurt if your coworkers are sick of covering for you.)

It's about keeping a record of these soon forgotten moments, and making connections from past to present. It's about keeping the mommy goggles polished so we can efficiently spot and document these little people as they grow up right before our eyes. Yes, it's about sharing with friends and family the amazing miracles we've been charged with raising. But it's mainly because these moments are so fleeting...and if we capture them in an Instagram album, maybe they won't be forgotten.

If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

Author: Lauren Rogers

When I was a child, my Grandparents had a hand-painted sign hanging near their dining table, that said, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy...” I ran across this phrase on a tea towel recently in a thrift store and got stuck on the sentiment.  One, because it was nostalgic and took me back: to that table, that chair, eating corn flakes, reading those words. Two, because even as a person raised by a single-mother who would never minimize the importance of a father’s role or happiness in his family, there is a raw truth in that phrase. I believe we should heed those words, as mothers, as partners, as children, as friends, even as a society. My husband said, partially in jest, “that phrase is basically a manifesto.”


Being a mom is a confusing journey.  We hear dichotomous “truisms,” like, “Your children should come first,” and later in the same day, “Self care is imperative... remember, YOUR oxygen mask first!”  Or, “It goes so fast, soak up as much time with your kids as you can,” also, “Keep your date nights monthly, stay active in your professional and volunteer work, keep a robust peer group, and visit your other family, too. You know, the ones who put you here in the first place!”  Or, my favorite, “This is the most important job you’ll EVER have,” but, too, “Don’t take parenting SO seriously.” Exsqueeze me? Come again? I cannot follow two sets of direction for the same task, I am but one person. Still, far too often today, moms grapple with the impossible task of trying to honor such duplicities. Or, if they pick one philosophy/style of parenting, they spend much of their leftover time (which is generally meager) in self-doubt, constantly comparing themselves to those who’ve chosen another way; and ailing over how those choices could be impacting the most important people they personally have ever known, their offspring.  All of this is to say, “wanna take a stab at what self-doubt and fear-based-comparison do NOT make for?” Duh: a “happy Mama.”

But, hollerlujah, things can change!  Science tells us that happiness is a choice, and with enough choosing, just like computers, brains can be reprogrammed. Mamas can be happy, let go of self-doubt, and realize that confusing or not, their navigation of motherhood is enough. Hint: there isn’t just one way. Furthermore, their children will be fine... even great!  Additionally, support systems can stand in solidarity with these mamas. Were,“if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” a manifesto how can WE help?


-Tell a stranger-mom she’s knocking it out of the ballpark at random.

-Tell a mom with a newly graduated child how proud you are of them (and HER)!  

-Tell a mom of grown children the role she modeled is clearly shining through in her adult childrens’ successes, resiliency, or kind acts.

-Ask a new mom if you can do anything for her.  Anything!

-Don’t engage in Mommy wars!  

-Don’t other moms who are different than you, your mother, your partner, etc.  

-Solidarity! We are all doing our best.

In reality, we want the manifesto to be a sort of reversal. We want happy (fulfilled or thriving) to be contagious because Mama IS happy (fulfilled or thriving). Think of a happy mom, a happy grandma, a child of a happy mom, a partner to a happy mom. Didn’t that mom impact their realities?  If the happiness of mamas could be multiplied exponentially, the positive impact on those around them would, too. Let’s harness that potential and watch how Mamas change the world!

About the Author:

Lauren Rogers is an administrator at a small, private preschool in Austin, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2012. Lauren is a wife and okay mom to three children, ages 11 to 16 months, and three pets. She has been on the World’s Okayest Mom board since 2015 and is a bibliophile, list maker, and Frasier addict.  She also enjoys writing and putting her hands to work for others.

Dear Mom, I can make you punch your kid. Love, Spider

Author: Megan Garcia

Photographer: Leah Nulisch w/ Redbird Photography


Storytime, buckle up. It’s long--it’s a doozie--and it’s worth the read if you need a laugh!

My friend Leah Nulisch has started dipping her toes in the pool of photography. As any loyal friend would, I want to support her in her dreams. I asked her to do bluebonnet pics of my kiddos since I’ve never done it before because...(World’s Okayest Mom) WOM.

Welp, we meet on the side of the road where there is an abundance of beautiful flowers and we are all super excited. We get started and everything is going great! Even the baby, who is usually my tiny terrorist, is cooperating! What luck! I’m so happy! So we get to the end of the shoot, Leah sits the baby in the middle of the flowers to try and snap a couple of last minute shots when ALL OF A FREAKING SUDDEN ARAGOG FROM HARRY POTTER MAKES HIS FRICKIN DEBUT ON HER MOTHER LOVIN DRESS! That’s right folks a massive wolf spider has taken my child for its own.

Before I go on let me say:

A) I DO love my children

B ) I have the worlds worst fear of spiders of any size, shape, color or gender

SOOO. It sees me, I see it, and we lock eyes. I’m stunned. All I can do is stand there making a half scream, half hyperventilating cow noise. This is it, fight or flight has kicked in. And I ain’t no chicken. I come in swinging. Literally. Me and this dude ‘bout to fight. I run to my poor precious child that God saw fit to bless me with and PUNCH HER RIGHT IN THE CHEST where that many-legged-demon was now sunbathing. That’s right folks. Mom of the year. I punched my baby. And then, if you please, instead of picking her up like any normal mother that loves her child would do...I drug her. I grabbed this poor child by her arm and drug her through this field of flowers; all the while, still making the dying cow noise. And if that’s not bad enough WHILE I was dragging my poor confused and frightened baby I dropped her TWICE. TWWWIIICEEEEEEE! While all of this is going on I still have not been able to speak anything discernable. My oldest daughter started screaming and crying and running thinking there was a snake and Leah (you know--the photographer) is just straight up dumbstruck.

So there we are; Me, a full-grown woman of 32 years old punching and pulling a baby around this dang field and my 11-year-old, running and screaming. Finally, things calm down and I realize a few things all at once...

1) Everyone is staring at us, probably calling the cops on me, the baby puncher

2) The spider has to be gone now so I should probably pick up my crying child

3) Leah still doesn’t know there is a devil bug among us, and

4) My oldest is now in full blow tears standing on a chair prop for the pictures.

I have, at this point, officially ruined the rest of the photo shoot. My oldest was done. Her face now streaked with tears and red from crying wouldn’t get off the chair she was standing on. My youngest covered in mud and dirt with red marks on her arms from being drug around like a rag doll was never going to let me sit her back down again in her entire life. Both traumatized from the events that just unfolded. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of how I earned my ‘WOM Badge Of Honor.’ That is the story of how I ruined bluebonnet pictures--forever--for all of us.

BUT let's be honest here, they are lucky I didn’t just turn high tail and run to the car locking myself in and leaving them all with satans pet.

**Disclaimer: Yes I punched my child. I did it out of love. She’s ok. It was mostly a subconscious effort to battle my ridiculous fear of spiders and an effort to save my child from being eaten whole.

I have also included a picture of the jerk spider who ruined our pictures.

Courageous as a Mother

Amy Boone is a mom to 3, a Teaching and Learning Specialist at Abilene Christian University, adjunct professor, and an admin for the WOM Facebook group.


“Motherhood is always an act of courage.” Stacy Schiff

How can one of the most natural and common experiences of half of the human population be an act of courage? Isn’t courage having the mind to step out and try something new? Or choosing to face something difficult? Or a spirit that allows someone to endure a challenge without fully knowing the outcome? But, isn’t motherhood all of these?

From the moment we see the second pink line on the test to holding her hand walking into the first day of kindergarten to watching him throw his graduation cap in the air with all of his classmates, motherhood requires and even demands bravery at every turn.

When we experience harshness, criticism, rudeness, or put-downs by others, we can often lose our courage. We question ourselves. We second-guess our choices. In World’s Okayest Moms, we chose to create an online space focused on positivity. We do not allow bashing or harsh judgement. We thrive on encouraging each other. Our first “rule” is “Be kind or be quiet.” Rudeness and cattiness are not allowed. We intentionally created an online space to be brave. Brave enough to be OK and not perfect. Brave enough to ask for help. Brave enough to share a struggle. Brave enough to be vulnerable.

Maya Angelou said, “Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

The online space of WOM works because we are brave. Out of this courage flows the kindness, mercy, generosity, and compassion.

I’ve been moved to tears as I’ve watched mamas post about their rocky relationship, sick child, loss of a family member, disobedient teen, addiction, or loneliness because the comments that WOMs show up with every single time provide empathetic support with words of love, solidarity, generosity, and so much grace.

“Every time we choose courage we make everyone around us a little better and and the world a little braver. And our world could stand to be a little kinder and braver.” Brene Brown



Jenn is a WOM to three rascals.  She is an instructor at Abilene Christian University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership. Jenn LOVES to read and nerd out on Brene' Brown quotes. Jenn and her husband Mark are the founders of Worlds Okayest Mom, Inc.



Tashunna is a WOM to three awesome kiddos! She just finished nursing school all the while WOM'in and wife'in like a BOSS. She has a killer laugh and makes her family's world go round. Tashunna loves to walk and DANCE IT OUT!



Hey! I’m Stephanie, and I live in Abilene, TX with my husband and three precious boys. Life with my little family is the sweetest! We love spending time with family and friends (all who are WOMS!), and stay busy with our brand new babe (baby Sam).

I spent the first twelve years of my professional life in education, a federal nonprofit program and higher ed. At 35 I didn’t think life was crazy enough, so I made a move to a corporate gig.

I don’t Pinterest. I don’t exercise. I don’t like dressing my kids up for the 137 special days throughout the school year. My dream is to nap and eat Oreos (double stuffed-duh) in yoga pants on the beach. BUT I’m fiercely loyal and love my people BIG, including you all in WOMland!



April is a mom of two- Allie the aspiring Broadway Star and Caden the Minecraft expert- and a wife of one- Chris the junior high band director. She is a kindergarten teacher in Abilene and she spends her free time helping lead worship and collaborating on a yearly VBS musical production for her church, Southern Hills Church of Christ. She is an Enneagram 4 with a 3 wing, which means that she loves to feel her feelings, perform creatively, and win at monopoly. She loves her children but she is not sure she will survive the tween years unscathed. Her very best friends are Brene Brown and Jen Hatmaker…they just don’t know it yet! She loves WOM with all her heart, and she is so proud of this community her friends have built!



"I have three kids, Nate 16, Sadie 13, Claire 10. I am a Surgical First Assistant."



"I'm a bio mom of two (Connor- 9, Elise- 4), bonus mom of two (Taya- 16, Jacey- 10). I’m a behavior therapist for children with autism. I’m currently studying for my Master’s in Developmental Disabilities with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis so I can be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst soon!”



I became a mom at the young age of 16, now have three fabulous children in the higher double digits! I was lucky to have the best examples of motherhood. I was able to watch "okay" become amazing, and learn what kind of mom I wanted to be! I'm a wife, a teacher, a baseball/volleyball mom, a shopper, and just a little bit crazy! I'm also an OG admin--one of the original eight!" 



"I am Becky. I have two crazy kiddos, 11 (boy) & 7 (diva). I am an early childhood behavior coach."



"I have four kids who are my greatest accomplishments and biggest blessings.  I'm a full-time student studying to become a registered nurse."



"My name is Kim Hardin, and I'm married to the most patient giving man ever created by God, he's better at parenting our four children (Caleb 9, Bayleigh 8, Benjamin 4, and Charlie 2) than I could ever hope to be! I spent ten years teaching 3rd and 4th grade, and now I teach future teachers at Abilene Christian University, I'm living my dream!"



"I have three kids: Graeham almost 11, Phoebe 4, and Miles 13 months. I'm an admin at a small preschool, and I am studying to take the GRE this year. I’m also endeavoring into brewing my own beer in 2019. Woot!”



"I'm a WOM of one adorable almost 4-year-old with a BOY bun in the oven. I'm a sociology professor."



Evan is a full-time mama to two precious little boys, Case and Lane.  She can handle the toughest things in life with grace and grit!




" I have three kids (22, 20, 16). I also work in the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at ACU and teach as an adjunct."

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" I have a 23-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son. I work for Abilene Head Start as Master Family Advocate/ ERSEA (aka Enrollment) Coordinator."


Mollie is a low-maintenance, middle-aged, chubby, feminist, Christian, liberal soccer mom raising two fierce little women, Mattie and Lena. Married to a lovable curmudgeon for 20+ years, Mollie works hard to love mercifully, act justly, and walk humbly.



Laura Barnett serves as an admin of WOM and is a member of WOM’s board of directors. She is a Dallas native who now lives in McKinney with her husband and bonus daughter. Laura is the Director of Communications for Axxess, a healthcare software company. She loves WOM’s aim to spread positivity as moms walk through all the seasons of motherhood. She is a former tv news anchor who loves her family, traveling, and making people laugh.



Ashlee is a mama to 5 boys and wife to her favorite stud, Brandon. She gets all the glitter and glam to HERSELF! She is a member of Junior League of Austin and runs her own small non-profit. She is also working on becoming a certified Nutritional Health Practitioner. Holistic and natural are her jam! In the middle of managing her worlds okayest little frat house she enjoys reading, working out, sunshine and traveling. 




"I have three kids. I'm a full-time stay at home mom and a part-time photographer."



Teri Maready is an elementary school teacher and has three children (one daughter and two sons) ages 20, 13, and 9.



Talan is a mama to three cutie patooties. She is a stay at home mama and Associate Vice President of World’s Okayest Mom. Talan has more talents, style, and smarts than any one person should be allowed to have. She is gorgeous inside and out.



"I am a mother of two wonderful children, Molly and Ian.  I am a former cosmetic and formulary chemist turned legal analyst specializing in intellectual property research."



Lyric is a mama to four children under the age of 7!  Her hubby has been deployed several times to serve our country. He is a hero, and Lyric is a rockstar mama. Don't let her size fool you--there is ZERO doubt her teeny tiny self can handle ANYthing life swings at her.



Misty is a beautiful soul with a servant's heart. She is a WOM like the rest of us! She also runs her own children's clothing boutique.



Kristina is a college professor who teaches communication, sociology and coaches debate. She has a the best daughter ever (in her opinion), a 15 year old named Téa.



Hi! My name is Celena Badylak and I am former teacher. Now, a full-time momma to three crazy boys who keep me busier than I ever thought was possible. Love being a part of WOM!



My name is Sarah Belcher I am currently a stay at home mom. I have a son who is 10 and a daughter who is 7. I’m on the board of our local Head Start where I’ve been a volunteer for 6+ years. I’m also going on my 3rd yr as a volunteer for PTA and currently serving as PTA President. I enjoy spending time with my family and crafting when I get the chance. I’m usually running kids from one thing to another, looking like a mess and drinking Starbucks!



Hi! My name is Bridget. I’m the wife to my fave guy and mom to two sweet girls, Lola Jane & Finley, plus a few four-legged friends. I’m a nurse, a trunk keeper for Matilda Jane Clothing, and am now spending lots of time helping my sister-in-law run a fun little flower shop in the heart of Texas. I absolutely LOVE WOM and the community of strong and supportive women that it has brought together. 



I’m 27 years old and mom of 2. My son Braedyn is 7 and bonus daughter Kianna is 12. I’m in a relationship with an amazing guy and am currently going to school to get my degree in teaching. My dream is to be an elementary teacher one day and I’m so excited about it! I currently work at Cardiology Consultants as the Lead Scheduling Representative. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family and change peoples lives.



I am a stay at home mom to two amazing boys, a wife to the best husband, and a professional volunteer! I have the hardest time saying no, so I’m a board member, PTO hospitality chair, soccer coach, admin, and I run my own local moms group of 6,000. I stay busy all the time. I’m a liberal snowflake, foodie, and wine lover. I’m a work in progress and that’s ok. I’m OK



Taryn is a mom of 3: Layla-9, Cason-6, Dak-1.5. She is mostly a stay at home mama but also works with her mom at a small backyard hair salon. 



Hey Ya'll! I'm Kellie Blanchard. I have grown up in Abilene, TX. I work in Real Estate Administration as well as owning my own technology marketing business. I have been married for 8  years to a retired Air Force Veteran who happens to be the cheese to my mac! We are the proud parents of one outgoing, computer programming 8 year old boy named Oliver Jude. We are also proud parents to one sweet angel baby in Heaven. I TRULY believe in WOM. It fuels my soul to be uplifting and giving to other women. I love to cook, watch crime dramas, play with make up and spend time with my huge family! ( have 4 sisters and 3 step siblings!) #supportyourlocalgirlgang

Kellie Pic.JPG

All of us are committed to the purpose of World's Okayest Mom. We want to raise awareness and funds for our non-profit to care for mamas in need. We want our Facebook page to be positive, supportive, and free of judgment. If someone asks for advice, we will monitor that process within the parameters of our page. We all have children, jobs, and plates full of commitments. We, too, have had moments in life that we wouldn't wish upon anyone. None of us fear the fire; we have simply become it. We are fierce. We know this WOM gig is HARD! If you need something, please reach out to one of us. We care about each of you. You are worthy of love and belonging. We hope this page and group of over 34K women makes you feel that way. 

- Brene Brown

- Brene Brown

To the Mom Who Feels Underappreciated

Jordan Harrell is a mom, wife, blogger, and a great friend to WOM. She will be sharing some of her word wizardry and wisdom on our blog in the coming months...enjoy! 

I like compliments.

I really wish I didn’t. I wish I was so confident that I didn’t need others’ praise. I wish I was so filled by the spirit that I was wholly dependent on the approval of the Lord rather than that of others. But, honestly, it feels good when someone tells me I’m doing a good job, that I’m really good at what I do.

Back in the day, I was a good teacher. I had coworkers and principals and supervisors and athletes and students that showed me gratitude and appreciation daily, that encouraged me and high-fived me, that told me I was good. I felt good about being good. It was easy to be proud. It was easy to feel fulfilled and successful.

This. This staying at home gig. This is not quite like that.

Today I started my day with a four-year-old all up in my pillow. I made three kids breakfast (and by made, I mean poured cereal). I comforted three crying children at different, yet multiple times throughout the day. I folded two loads of laundry. I stripped sheets (which have yet to be replaced with clean ones). I cooked dinner. I swept. Twice. I read books. I sang songs. I pretended to be a cat. I broke up 18,000 fights, pried baby fists loose from 2 screaming girls’ hair, and wiped 359 bottoms. I heard my name shouted post-bedtime 18 times. I went in to hear “I can’t remember” exactly 2 times.

And DON’T YOU KNOW? Tomorrow will be the exact. same. thing.

And the next. And the next….

And sadly, most days end with a heaviness. I plop down on the couch with less of a feeling of accomplishment and more of a feeling of irritation. I couldn’t ever put my finger on exactly what it was that had a grip around me, suffocating me. What was it that stripped me from joy day in and day out? Why was I so bitter?

Then it hit me. Entitlement. I am an entitled mom.




I have completely lost sight of my blessings around me because I AM SO FOCUSED ON WHAT I’VE DONE. 

But I cooked.

And I cleaned.

And I wiped bottoms.


Where is my reward? Where is the gratitude? Where is my rest?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord and not for man, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

But I bathed all three kids.

I swept the floor. TWICE!

WHAT DO I GET for all the things I’ve done?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord and not for man, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

I like being rewarded. I like getting pats on the back and feeling my ego stroked.

But in my pouting about DOING EVERYTHING (even though, I do very short of everything) I missed the Lord whispering Look around you. This is your earthly reward. Is this not enough?

You have three precious mouths to feed.

You have three precious bodies to bathe.

You have a husband that works incredibly hard to provide for you.

You have a beautiful home with floors to sweep and dishes to clean.

Is this not enough? 

Why do I need more than them? More from them?

Yes, this job is hard. It is the hardest job I have ever had. It is hard to feel good at it. It is hard to feel accomplished. It is hard to be fulfilled.

But my Heavenly Father knew I needed this. He knew I needed to serve without receiving a “Good job” or a “Thank you so much.” I needed to perform without someone to impress. Without expectation of a compliment. He wanted me to learn to serve just for the sake of serving others and serving him, not self-serving.

Staying at home for your kids is good, but I am not doing this job for my kids. I am not doing this job for my husband. I cannot expect my family to fulfill me. That’s putting WAY too much pressure on a three-year-old. In every dish I wash and diaper I change, I am working for the Lord, not for man. 

And even if I hadn’t already been rewarded (which I have been, a thousand times over), I can rest assured that my reward is coming, and it will be so much better than any compliment anyone on this earth has to offer.

Visit Jordan's page at www.jordanharrell.com

Become a WonderWOM and help us continue helping moms in need by signing up to give $20/month to World's Okayest Mom, Inc by visiting our Give Now page! 

12 Ways to Cut Costs on One Income by Jordan Harrell

Jordan Harrell is a mom, wife, blogger, and a great friend to WOM. She will be sharing some of her word wizardry and wisdom on our blog in the coming months...enjoy! 

When Clark and I first decided that I was going to stay home, he didn’t have a job. He had just graduated from college and I had been our sole provider for two years. But I desperately wanted to stay home with Charlee so we began trying to figure out how we could financially make that possible. Four years later, we are entering into our first year of feeling like we can breathe a little, where finances aren’t quite so tight and we might even be able to splurge some. But before those number-crunching days are too far behind me, I thought I’d offer some encouragement and advice to those currently in the throes of (or just considering) a one-income household.

Disclaimer: I wanted to stay home because it was right for me. In no way do I think that it is the best way or only way to raise children. I occasionally think I might want to go back to work, and then I envision getting myself and all three children dressed and out the door by 7 am … and look down at my pajamas I’m still rocking at 3 pm and decide that it’s altogether impossible. All Hail to working moms. Y’all are amazing. I also realize that my situation is very different than others’. We don’t have thousands of dollars in student debt or medical bills to worry about. Some people literally can’t afford to stay home.  

HOWEVER, if you are wanting to stay home but are nervous about making ends meet OR if you already do but are barely scraping by (solidarity, sister), here’s a few tips and tricks from someone who has lived on one income all 7 years of marriage.

Let’s start by getting a few realities out of the way. I had to come to grips with a few things early on (and pretty much everyday since), some of which are really hard and some very relieving.

  1. I will not have the cutest _______. Fill in the blank. Clothes. House. Kids’ clothes. Decor. Hairstyle. When I feel myself “needing” something that I can’t afford, I have to remind myself, “In this season, I will not have the cutest _____. And that’s okay.” Sometimes it feels really important (because Pinterest) but if staying at home is more important, some of those things just can’t be.
  2. I am going to have to make some sacrifices. Not just me, but everyone. I am going to have to cook a lot, paint my own nails, buy less presents for Christmas, cut out some “major wants” from our budget. Everyone will still survive. And, dare I say, learn a few valuable lessons along the way.
  3. In the grand scheme, I am pretty rich. It’s really, really easy to look around and think, EVERYONE HAS SO MUCH MORE THAN US. And lament over all the things we are sacrificing. But I mean, let’s be honest. This post could probably be renamed “First World Problems” because the things we are giving up, are usually not, say, food.
  4. This is (most likely) the poorest we will ever be. Barring outliers, most people make more money the older and more experienced they get. So you might have to make a few sacrifices right now but it won’t be like this forever.

So now that we’ve gotten those basic principles out of the way, let’s get to it. I have wracked my brain to think of all the ways I’ve cut costs the past few years. I present to you,

  1. Drink water. Don’t buy juice, coke, wine, beer, lemonade, tea. I know, I know. It sounds cray, but this is one of the biggest ways I have saved at the grocery store. Drink water. Not only is it healthy, it’s cheap.
  2. Buy in bulk. I use Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save. . I buy all my non-perishables through them — diapers, wipes, ziplocs, trash bags, toothbrushes, face wash, shampoo, soap, detergent, etc. — and have them shipped to me whenever I need more. You get 15% off your entire order if you order 5+ items (20% off diapers and wipes). Yes, there is a Prime yearly subscription, but if I cut out cable (we’ll get to that in a minute), the Prime shows and movies more than make it worth it. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
  3. Use cash back for holidays. I know Dave Ramsey would not approve, but we buy everything on credit cards that have rewards programs. Two years ago, I didn’t pay for a single Christmas present. We had accrued enough points to cover all of them. Last year, we used them to go on a trip for our anniversary. BUT, that being said…
  4. NEVER pay interest (if at all possible). We pay cash for everything. Pay your credit cards in full every month. When we remodeled our home, we paid cash. When we bought our cars, we paid cash. When we bought a new couch, we paid cash. If you don’t have enough money to buy something, don’t buy it.
  5. Buy necessities for holidays. My mom told me this trick. At Christmas, use stocking stuffers to buy things your kids already need — socks, underwear, pacifiers, sippy cups — things you would have bought them anyway. Wam, bam. Two birds. One stone. Merry Christmas.
  6. Use gifted money for splurges. This is my chance to splurge on myself. Two years ago, I used my Christmas money to restock my closet. Last year, I used it to redecorate my daughters’ room. This way, nobody questions how much money I am spending and whether or not we can afford it. It’s basically free, right?
  7. Do hair care on the cheap. MasterCuts and Family Cuts, y’all. Haters gonna hate, but they do good work. Also, box color. In 5 years, you can spend $150 on a haircut & color. But today is not that day. I promise, you will look stunning with your $15 ‘do.
  8. Cut the (cable) cord. It didn’t take us long to realize CABLE IS FREAKING EXPENSIVE. Here’s our solution:
    – pay for wireless only
    – get a streaming device (we have used AppleTV and FireTV and loved both)
    – subscribe to Amazon Prime and/or Netflix and/or Hulu (we do Prime and Netflix)
    – get an antenna for local channels
  9. Get rid of stuff. I am always amazed at HOW. MUCH. STUFF we have. Every time we move (once a year, duh), I end up with boxes and boxes of giveaway items. I’ve made some pretty good #cashmoney at places like Swap.com, Craigslist, and Facebook, but there are also the VarageSale and LetGo apps where I have bought stuff… and speaking of….
  10. Shop second-hand. Here’s the problem. I want my house to look like a high-end magazine. Here’s the second problem … I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to make my house look high-end on my low-end budget. My budget is an antique/shabby-chic/distressed-look budget. SO that’s my style… because that’s my budget. Second-hand shops (specifically the ones mentioned above) are a great place to find home decor. And did you know, a can of spray paint can work WONDERS.
  11. Make a budget. Budget is not a bad word. It’s actually very freeing to be on a budget. Bought a new shirt? Don’t worry hubs! I have a $25 clothing budget this month so I’m actually UNDER BUDGET. No arguing. No accusing. Everybody wins. AND GUESS WHAT? There’s an app for that. Mint.com is the bomb.com. This website/app will allow you to import all credit cards and bank accounts so that you can see all your expenses in one place. You can then create budgets and categorize each expense so that you know how much you are spending on each category each month. It’s also super convenient during tax season to have everything categorized and searchable. If not for any other reason, make a budget so that you can see what you spend most of your money on.
  12. Don’t stop giving. Budget tithing and giving first. There’s no better way to be reminded of how MUCH we actually have and how faithful God is than by giving SACRIFICIALLY. Buy gifts for needy children before your own for Christmas. Sponsor a Compassion child. It’s amazing how much further your money goes when you steward it well. There is no better way to live by faith, than by trusting that God will take care of you if you take care of his people.

I am by no means an expert. I still spend an exorbitant amount on groceries, and I have JUST GIVEN UP. I don’t understand coupons. They make me feel stupid and angry.

However, I hope these are somewhat helpful. AND PLEASE if you have ways that you save money, I would love to hear them! I am always interested in how other people cut costs!

Happy budgeting!

Visit Jordan's page at www.jordanharrell.com

Become a WonderWOM and help us continue helping moms in need by signing up to give $20/month to World's Okayest Mom, Inc by visiting our Give Now page! 




On August 8, 2013, at 1:15 AM, I watched my son die before my eyes in the guest bathroom of my parent’s home in Arlington, Texas.

82 days later -- Jenn, my newborn son Hunter, my parents, and I walked out of Medical Center - Arlington with a healthy baby, smiles on our faces, and a different perspective on the rest of our lives. 

Back to August 8...

At least that’s what my eyes THOUGHT they were seeing. To me -- there was no scenario that included the amount of blood Jenn lost that morning in that bathroom and Hunter surviving. It just wasn’t possible.

So as I stared at my beautiful wife with my wide, unblinking eyes and slack jaw, I watched her turn pale as the blood ran -- no poured -- no GUSHED -- out of her with three paramedics and three fireman surrounding her. 

She was 25 weeks pregnant, and we had arrived in Arlington three days before. I was doing some work in the area while Jenn and the girls played with Uncle DeeDoo (Jeff) and Aunt Allison who were visiting from New York City. 

Jeff and Allison had announced their first pregnancy seven hours before our adventure began. In the midst of the horror surrounding Jenn in those early moments, one of her top priorities was not letting Allison know what was happening to her. She didn’t want to scare Allison. THAT’S what she was thinking about. And that’s why I’m so happy I talked her into marrying me. 

At 1:15 AM, Jenn was awakened by what she thought was her pregnant body saying, “welp! I’m pregnant and I need to pee -- so here we go!” She thought she was peeing on herself. 

A little annoyed at first, Jenn’s irritation soon turned to terror as she realized that the fluid was crimson red -- and it was everywhere. 

She was asleep on the guest bed with our 2 year old daughter. I was asleep on the floor at the foot of the bed with our 4 year old daughter. 

Not wanting to wake the girls, Jenn softly called out to me -- “Mark. Help. I’m bleeding.” 

I happened to be awake already (having just watched the Conjuring a few hours before I was having a little trouble drifting off to sleepy land), and when I heard those words my thoughts instantly jumped to the minor bleeding event we went through four weeks prior which was no big deal. Jenn was diagnosed with a partial placenta previa at 20 weeks. Placenta Previa is when the placenta is partially or fully covering the birth canal. It’s supposed to be higher up above the baby away from the canal. If it gets near the birth canal, you can have some bleeding issues. A fully covered birth canal 100 years ago (and maybe even more recently than that) meant that mom, baby, or more likely both -- died. 

Women who don’t get medical attention pretty quickly once a major bleed initiates will most likely die with a previa. They will literally bleed to death. 

“Mark. Help. I’m bleeding.” I stood up just as Jenn quickly vanished into the guest bath which connects to the bedroom we were sleeping in. My “this is no big deal -- we’ve done this before” attitude vanished just as quickly when I put my hand on the bed to steady myself in the dark. My hand didn’t touch a regular, dry sheet or even a slightly damp sheet. My hand disappeared in a bloody puddle -- it felt like someone had dumped a full glass of water on the bed. That’s when I knew this wasn’t good.

Unbeknownst to us, Jenn’s partial previa had moved. But it hadn’t moved in the right direction. Now her placenta was fully covering the birth canal, and it would stay there until October 25 when George Kingsley would remove it with his bare hands right after he pulled Hunter out into the world. 

I walked over the bloody trail on the carpet from the bed to the bathroom and my eyes followed the bloody footprints across the bathroom floor to the toilet where Jenn sat -- looking up at me with a helplessness that I have never seen from anyone in my entire life. 

She wasn’t panicked but said, “what do I do?” 

I had no idea. 

I grabbed my phone and called Len Tadvick, MD -- Jenn’s OB in Abilene -- at 1:18 AM. He answered on the first ring. Seriously. He answered the phone like he was sitting there waiting for my call.

“Len, it’s Mark. Jenn’s bleeding pretty bad. What do we do?”

“Meet me at the ER as soon as you can.”

“Len … we’re in Arlington.”

“....................then just get her to an ER and keep me posted.”

Then he prayed with me. I have no idea what he said. But it was a moment I will never forget as long as I live. He prayed with me and for me over the phone -- 160 miles away.

I hung up and dialed 9-1-1 at 1:20 AM.

A firetruck was in front of my parents’ house five minutes later followed by an ambulance two minutes after that. 

10 minutes later we were at the Women’s Center at Medical Center -- Arlington (4.8 miles away -- I know this because I racked up more than 500 miles on my bike commuting back and forth over the next 82 days).

They shot her with steroids and starting pumping magnesium into her IV -- two things they do when a preterm baby is about to be born.

Dr. Kingsley (the chief of the OB hospitalists at MCA) came in the room and began telling us what was going to happen and the dangers of delivering a baby at 25 weeks. 

To me it was sort of good news, since 5 minutes before I thought Hunter had left us for good. But as reality set in I realized what he was saying -- 90% chance of major neurological defect // 60% chance of death. They were prepping Jenn for a cesarean section. At this moment they asked me what Jenn’s birthday was, and I couldn’t have answered the question had there been a gun to my head -- I was so shell-shocked that I had no idea. 

Right before they came to take her into surgery, they checked her bleeding one last time and it had slowed. So they called off the cavalry and decided to wait.

Jenn got two pints of blood in a transfusion and they said she lost much more than that. At least she started to get her color back at that point.

They moved her upstairs around 3 AM on August 8th. On the transport upstairs I ran into my dad and brother who were sitting in the waiting room. Having no idea what was going on or what to do, they came up to the hospital and sat. They were just there. That’s what family does.

82 days later George Kingsley made an incision below Jenn’s belly button, pulled Hunter out healthy and screaming, and confirmed that Jenn’s placenta was, in fact, completely covering the birth canal. It was 9:24 AM. 

No one could believe that Jenn had come to MCA in the state that she had and made it 12 weeks with no other episodes or complications. That just doesn’t happen.

Jenn was able to do it by the grace of God, thousands of hours of prayer said on our behalf, and a calm, quiet spirit. It was remarkable how many of the doctors and nurses would comment on Jenn’s positive outlook and sweet spirit. On more than one occasion I overhead nurses arguing about who was going to get Jenn on the preceding 12-hour shift. They all wanted her. Jenn thinks it was since she was such an easy, low-maintenance patient.

My guess is that they just liked her and wanted to be around her as much as possible -- I can relate with that. 

The one and only time I saw Jenn nearly lose it was at 2:30 AM one morning when a tech came in, turned on all the lights in the room, left to go get something, came back, checked Jenn’s vitals, then left the room for good. I was awakened a few seconds later by Jenn slamming the door. She’d had to get up to turn the lights off because the tech had left them on -- AT 2:30 IN THE MORNING. 

This was news to me since I had on my mindfold sleep mask and had no idea lights had even been turned on (sheepish grin). I did burst out of the room and try to find the aforementioned tech but she had undoubtedly already ducked into another room to wake up some other unsuspecting antepartum patient.

We left our house in Abilene on August 5, a Monday, and planned to be back on Saturday. We had no idea that it wouldn’t be until October 28 that we’d see home again. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from what I’ve called “home” in my whole life -- by a long shot.

While we were gone:

  • our dog, Roger’s, disgusting skin flap came off (thanks Nana)
  • I potty-trained Hope
  • Hope learned to swing all by herself
  • I grew a phat beard
  • I started a podcast
  • I healed myself physically after years of over-exercising and over-stress
  • I got a new crockpot, set of knives, dehydrator, candle lanterns, lights for my bike, and soap to last me an entire year (thanks Amazon Prime)
  • I rode my bike somewhere every day but one -- it was raining that day
  • I became a fan of the Counting Crows
  • I worked out at the YMCA
  • I worked out at Crossfit Boom
  • The girls and I went to the park
  • The girls and I went on barefoot walks
  • I was kidnapped and taken to a Rangers game which ended with a walk off homerun
  • I nursed Haelyn through a 12-hour stomach bug
  • I got to see Uncle Deedoo and Aunt Allison -- TWICE
  • I was close to Uncle Brad, Aunt Jennifer and Annalyse and got to be with them more than I would have otherwise
  • The girls and I went Halloween Princess dress shopping
  • We went swimming and the girls learned how to swim with their heads under water
  • I learned how to do a sweet pony tail
  • I had to say goodbye to my parents’ dog, Owen, who had to be put to sleep the day after Jenn went into the hospital. He was the best doggie ever.
  • I read Atlas Shrugged and about 10 other books
  • Jenn read 12, yes twelve, books
  • I kept a daily journal which I’m going to transcribe for our kids to read someday
  • I spent 78 of 82 nights at the hospital with Jenn
  • I got so excited whenever friends or family would come visit us -- and so many of you did for which I will forever be so grateful
  • I revamped my “Discipline for Two-Year-Olds” strategy -- which included less screaming
  • Abilene opened Carters, McAlister’s, Men’s Warehouse, Enchilada Express, and built a Fuzzy’s and a Golden Chick

Lots more happened while we were gone including my realization that my wife and daughters (and now son) are my heart outside of my body (not literally because then I would die). Actually, it’s pretty close to ‘literally’ because if I ever lost any of them, I would probably die. 

I physically ached for my daughters when they were at their Nana and Papa’s for a couple of 4-5 day stints. They’re among the first things I think about upon waking every day and among the last things I think about every night before I drift off to sleep. The other things I think about at those times are Jenn and how much I wish the Cowboys would just get over themselves and win me another Super Bowl -- it’s been EIGHTEEN YEARS!!!!!

And then, according to the girls’ and my new favorite song, “All I do is dream of you the whole night through -- with the dawn I still go on dreaming of you.” They call it the “Yoo-wee Yoo-wee Song” and I’ll never hear it without thinking of our time in Arlington. 

My parents introduced the girls to some old school hymns and now they sing “Standing On the Promises” and “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms” on a daily basis -- which I’m totally OK with. 

I learned how to deal with the constant worry of what would happen if Jenn started bleeding again -- it never went away -- not for ONE solitary second. It wasn’t until Hunter was born and we were driving home that I realized the worry was gone. 

I realized how much I love my wife and what an amazing human being she is. And just as a human being she would be the most incredible person I’ve ever met -- but then she gets to throw in amazing mom, amazing wife, amazing sister, amazing daughter, amazing niece, amazing mom, and amazing mom. Did I mention amazing mom? 

Totally unfair that she gets to rack up all those points because all I have is -- average dad, average-to-below-average husband, moderately average brother and son, football participant, and last but certainly not least, incredibly magnificent beard-grower. 

I know that most, if not all, moms would do what she did for their unborn son. But that doesn’t make it any less inspiring and incredible. 

THAT’S how she didn’t go crazy in that bed for 82 days. All she had to do was identify her motivation -- to keep baby Hunter cooking for his health and life -- and she was fine. She never complained. She never whined. She never asked “why me?” She stayed positive and just dealt with it. She did it all for Hunter. And in the great scheme of things, I know without asking her that she would do it a hundred more times without hesitation if it meant health and life for any of her three kids. 

Now, I’m not saying she didn’t have her emotional moments. They were few and far between but all of them had to do with mommy duty. She was sad about not being there for bath time. She was sad about always having to hear stories and see pictures from all the park adventures. She was sad that she wasn’t there to potty-train Hope (oh wait, no she wasn’t, she was thrilled about that). She was sad she missed breakfast every morning. She was sad she couldn’t pick them up and hold them. She was sad she couldn’t see them dancing in my parents’ living room. She was sad she couldn’t lay next to them until they fell asleep. She was sad she couldn’t say prayers with them, tell them a story, or put the toothpaste on their toothbrushes. She was sad she couldn’t pick out clothes and help get them dressed. She was sad when they would leave the hospital screaming, “I WANT TO STAY WITH MY MOMMY.” She doesn’t even know this (well I guess she does now) but my mom found Hope on more than one occasion in the middle of the night walking through the house asking where her mommy was.

I got a small glimpse into what it must feel like to by physically torn in half. Early on during our adventure, Hope was having a hard time not having her mom around and then having me leave at night. I would be getting ready to hop on the bike while hearing her screaming at the top of her lungs, “I WANT MY DADDY!” over and over and over. 

All I wanted to do was to go back in there, snuggle her tight, and lay next to her all night. But I also wanted and needed to get back to Jenn. Thinking about her being in the hospital room alone at night was a commensurately nauseating and horrible feeling. That was hard. We eventually worked out a strategy and Hope started dealing with the separation a little better -- but leaving at night was never a piece of cake. 

Probably the thing I learned through this ordeal that I’m most grateful for is my changed perspective on life. I try to think every day about what I’ll be thinking about on my deathbed -- and whatever THAT is, that’s what I try to spend time and energy on. 

When I’m down to my last few minutes of life, I’ll be thinking about my two, sweet little girls and whether they’re happy and safe or not. I’ll be thinking about what a lucky dog I was for having the high privilege of being able to call Jennifer Lauren Barker my wife (I’ll also be wondering which old dog she’s going to end up marrying when I’m gone and try to poison that guy). I’ll be wondering if I did everything I could possibly do to raise Mark “Hunter” Rogers, Jr. in the right way. I’ll be thinking about my dead brothers (because there’s no way either of those jack-wagons are outliving ME) and their families. I’ll be hoping that my kids love and respect me and want to be around me. I’ll be hoping they will talk positively about me when I’m gone and not remember times of anger or impatience. I’ll be hoping that they aspire to live like I lived. And die like I will die. 

I will NOT be thinking about money or cars. I won’t be thinking about how big my house was. I won’t be thinking about all the name brand clothes I or my family wore. I won’t be thinking about how fast I can run the 40-yard dash -- which is probably somewhere in the 4.3 to 4.4 range but I’ve got a hammy so I can’t know for sure.  I won’t be regretting that I never went to a Super Bowl (but hopefully I will have done that, so…). I won’t be wondering what would have happened if I had watched 20 more movies every year. 

I’ve always loved my kids and wife more than they will ever know -- more than I would have ever thought humanly possible before I knew them. Any parent can attest to the fact that you love your kids so much that it literally, physically hurts you. That’s something you don’t understand pre-kids. Something that I can’t wait for my brother to feel. And now I feel equipped to take full advantage of the time I have with my family and to try my best to tell them and show them how much they mean to me. 

And if it took being in a hospital in a city not our home for 82 days  and having to watch my wife sacrifice so much for her baby boy and thinking that my son had died before my eyes to really get a grasp on that? I’ll take it any day of the week.

There’s another song that the girls ask me to sing for them nearly every night -- The River of No Return. It’s a song from an old Marilyn Monroe movie about losing your love on the river. The River is time, and in my version of the song, “my love” is my kids. Every day that goes by is another day you can’t get back. Every night I say goodbye to the 4-year, four month, 8 day old version of my Haelyn. In the morning, she’ll be the 4 year, four month, NINE day old version of my Haelyn. The lesson is -- take full advantage of every moment and every day you have with  your family. And that’s what I think about every time I sing the song. Sometimes it’s hard for me to hold it together and finish it. 

The song ends with this line -- “I lost my love on that river and forever my heart will yearn -- she’s gone forever down that river of no return -- she’ll never return to me”

The list of blessings far outweighs the list of negatives we compiled throughout our ordeal. And I’ll hug my wife and kids just a little tighter than I already do because of everything we went through.

So now if you’ll excuse me -- my son needs a diaper change, Haelyn is crying because a tiny piece of her drawing was torn off, Hope is trying to feed the dogs Play-Doh, and I couldn’t be more happy -- gotta go!

To the Lady in Aisle 3 -- by Blakely Giordano

I had barely squeezed back into my pre-baby jeans (I had to essentially jump off the dresser into them, but they zipped, and that’s a feat) when my husband and I looked at each other, and at our sleeping, angel-faced son and shared a “Should we do this again?” look. We agreed to leave it in God’s hands, not stress about timing, and “see what happened.” We guessed it might take a few months.

A mere 4 weeks later, I spent the morning hurling the contents of my breakfast, and I knew God had acted – and fast. Feeling shocked and blessed, I quickly did the math to determine how close in age my two tots would be. 13 months. My husband, ever the cool, collected, calm in our household, was thrilled. I was too. I was also panicked.

“Was that PLANNED?” 

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ENOUGH -- by Michelle Underwood

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure I wanted a second baby. Whenever people asked, I’d say what I knew they wanted to hear:

Of course! We’re just waiting until the chemo leaves his system.

Oh yes, Z needs a sibling. We don’t want her to be an only child! 

Definitely. But we’ll only have two – three tops.

But secretly, I wasn’t sure I meant it.

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My Vision for World's Okayest Mom, Incorporated

I can't think of anything more fun than surprising people with the unexpected. I love birthdays and send many of my friends and family a card or a gift on their special days. I LOVE Christmas. My wife and I love giving. It's something I've always had fun doing.

And I can't think of any role more important to the health of any society or culture than the mom. There are obviously exceptions to this but for the most part "mom" is holding this all together no matter where you are.

The impetus for World's Okayest Mom (WOM) for me is the combination of these two facts. I want to bring joy to the women who have the responsibility of holding the most important job in the world -- moms.

Let's think about what moms do for us...

During pregnancy they become super gassy and super emotional. Their joints get loose and they start burping up liquid fire. They gain weight and their feet grow. They puke and have to pee more and crave weird foods and their hair falls out. What the heck?

After pregnancy they get zero sleep. Most moms who have husbands don't kill their husbands who wake up refreshed and well-rested every morning (emphasis on the word "most" haha). They have these little weird parasite things latching onto their boobs all hours of the day and night. They're at risk for post-partum depression, which is no joke. Their bodies never look the same.

Working moms have to go back to work eventually which is unbelievably hard at first (and usually never gets any easier). Moms have to deal with the 'breast-feeding in public' issue. Stay-at-home moms are the hardest workers on planet Earth, and I will punch anyone in the face who says otherwise (and my wife isn't even a stay-at-home mom).

They always have stains and food on their clothes. They can never spend as much time as they want to on their hair or makeup. If they get some extra money for their birthday or Christmas, they'll more than likely spend it on their kids (very unlike the dad in this house...[sheepish grin]).

They change diapers and pick up toys and plan meals and worry. They cuddle and rock and shush and pat. They teach and sing and clap and play. They are the ones sought after following a fall or a boo-boo. They are the ones who make it all better. They are the ones who are always there...at 2 AM cleaning up vomit, wiping bottoms, drying tears after bad dreams.

They sit through dance recitals and braid miles of hair. They scream at soccer games and apply Band-aids (most of the time when there is ABSOLUTELY NO BLOOD ANYWHERE). They get talked back to and put up with frequent eye-rolls.

They are super-humanly flexible and can seemingly dislocate their shoulders to hand kids food or whoopins in the backseat. I don't think I have ever seen a mom sitting down outside of a car.

Moms' dinner is always luke warm. They're chefs and chauffeurs and nurses and teachers and mentors. 

When everyone else is on vacation, moms' work INCREASES. They never have a day off and work 135 hours a week.

Moms get paid $0.00 to be a mom.

Moms are the GREATEST, and with your help, we want to do something for them when the storms of life hit.

We want to find moms who have an enormous hospital bill due to a lengthy bed-rest or extended stay in the NICU -- and zero those balances out.

We want to find moms struggling to make ends meet at Christmas time and give them money for gifts and meals and travel.

We want to find moms who've lost a child and pay for the funeral.

We want to find moms who've been diagnosed with a debilitating disease and take away all financial stresses from the equation.

We want to buy wigs for moms who've lost their hair because of cancer.

We want to help moms pay for child care.

We want to send gift packages to moms on bed-rest.

We want to buy diapers for moms who need diapers for their babies.

We want to help keep roofs over their heads.

We want to help keep food on the table.

We want to help them get away from abusive situations.

We want to help moms with the finances surrounding adoption.

We want to assist women who care for foster children and/or orphans.

We want to help moms in ways we don't even know about yet.

And to do all this....my wife (the greatest Mom on earth besides my own of course) and I need your help.

We want to raise a TON OF MONEY.

And we want to give away A TON OF MONEY. We want to find opportunities to change lives. That's the deal. Plain and simple. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure as heck can help relieve some pressure and let some joy shine through the clouds.

I can't think of a better way to spend my time than finding lives to change and ways to bring joy to moms' lives in astounding and unimaginable ways.


Mark Rogers, VP -- World's Okayest Mom, Inc.

The thought of taking despair and hopelessness away from a mom and replacing it with joy and hope is an incredibly exciting prospect for Jenn and me.

Because of the amazing Facebook group Jenn started in May of 2015, we have galvanized WOMs all over the country and received our tax exempt status from the IRS in July of 2016!

Help us help moms by considering becoming a WonderWOM and setting up a $20 monthly donation on our GiveNow Page. WonderWOMs will also get a cool "WonderWOM sticker" designed by my famous and super-awesome brother, Jeff. With the support of thousands of moms, just $240 annually will allow us to bring joy to hundreds of moms around the country and even the world.

GASP ... a BOOB!

From June '14

So for all those who are breastfeeding, have breastfed, or want to breastfeed -- where is the best place to get the job done? In the closet tucked away with a comforter over your head or on a park bench with no shirt on? Ok, obviously those are extreme situations, but I think you know where I'm going with this.

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Play is NOT an option -- it is FUNDAMENTAL!

What? Your Kindergartener can't read? Your two year old doesn't know 100 signs and say his numbers in Spanish? G...A....S...P!!! And you call yourself an educator. SHAME, GASP AGAIN, AND ANOTHER SHAME!!

Any other parents out there feeling the pressure of making sure your sweet little ones are "fully prepared" to enter the world of school long before it's even time? Well, I certainly feel the pressure at times, and I know better.

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