Jenn Rogers, instructor of teacher education, created the Facebook group World’s Okayest Mom in 2015.
Rogers said she felt moved to create the group after her experience going into labor with her son, Hunter, in 2013.
While she was pregnant and visiting some family in Arlington, she said she had a severe hemorrhage, which forced her to immediately go to the hospital.
As the doctors prepped her for c-section so they could safely deliver Hunter, they noticed the hemorrhage was slowing down. However, Rogers would remain in the hospital for 83 days.
During this time in the hospital, Rogers said she had an “incredible support system.”
“We had friends that brought us gift cards, so I didn’t have to eat hospital food all the time. Another friend sent a huge tub of playdoh and coloring books for my kids to play with when they would come see me,” Rogers said. “We just continued to feel love and support, things being sent from people we knew or even care packages from strangers who had heard my story.”
It was through Facebook and social media that Rogers said she still felt connected to the world as she was forced to stay in the hospital until the doctors cleared her.
After her stay, she said she evaluated all that the people around her had done for her, but she did not know how to return the favor.
World’s Okayest Mom was originally created as a Facebook group by Rogers and her peers as a “joke group.”
“We just said, ‘Let’s create a space where we share real life, where we share the imperfect pictures and not the 180th take where everyone is actually smiling,’” Rogers said.
She said the message she wanted to get out with creating the group was that women don’t need to be perfect to be a good mom.
However, Rogers said she did not realize that current members were allowed to invite other friends that weren’t connected to the original 10 members.
“It grew really, really quickly, so within a couple of weeks of the groups creation we had over 1,000 members,” Rogers said. “Now, four years later, we have 45,000 moms in the group from all over the world.”
While Rogers wants the group to be open and accepting, she said that there are parameters the members have to meet. While civic debate is accepted, she and her team of admins try to eliminate any and all cases of “colorful language.”
In 2016, a few months after the group’s creation, a friend of hers suggested selling t-shirts with the words “World’s Okayest Mom.” Although initially against the idea, Rogers said she changed her mind when her friend suggested taking all the profits and put them towards charitable causes.
“When she said that I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to pay forward what people did for me while I was in the hospital,” Rogers said. “I wanted to sell the t-shirts as long as every penny went towards helping moms who had similar situations to mine or were suffering loss.”
As sales grew for the t-shirts, she and her husband, Mark, who serves as vice president, officially turned WOM into a full non-profit organization.
Sales of the t-shirts as well as Rogers’ experience in 2013 influenced WOM to created care packages for moms in similar situations that include books, lotions, and lip balms among other things.
“Our records show that we have sent out 1,015 care packages since July of 2016,” Talan Cobb, associate vice president of WOM, said. “In addition to care packages, we have provided financial assistance to numerous families that have been in desperate need due to severe medical conditions, loss of a child or spouse, and homelessness.”
However, Rogers said she knows that WOM cannot cater to every request. She said that they have worked with other non-profits and directed people to the one most specific to their need.
Non-profits they have worked with include Hope Mommies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope Haven, Global Samaritan, Noah Project, Cancer Services Network, International Rescue Committee, Texas CASA, Regional Crime Victim Crises Center, Children’s Miracle Network, Wonders and Worries, Preemptive Love Coalition, American Red Cross and Texas Diaper Bank.
WOM has also been included in Facebook’s More Together campaign. This is a campaign that works to push and back-up groups who are making a positive impact within their cultural network.
Around Spring of last year, Rogers said she had received a message from Facebook saying that they had noticed the activity that had been doing and that they wanted WOM to be a part of this campaign.
Initially, Rogers said she was skeptical, but she said she knew it was legit when they flew them out to Los Angeles, California, to meet other selected and learn their stories and their impact in their own respective communities.
Since then, WOM has continued to impact more moms seeking assistance or help. Although there is no plan to expand into something else, Cobb said that they want to continue to expand to ever more moms in search of help.
“Our greatest vision and goal when it comes to expansion is to help more people and to make even more of an impact in the lives of the individuals and families we are helping. Our dream is to be able to go to moms that have had to bury their children and cover the cost of the invoices for a funeral or to help a family that is drowning in hospital bills. We have big dreams for the future of WOM and with that comes an abundance of nitty-gritty details, hard work, and patience, but ultimately we know our purpose and focus is to provide love, support, and care, and be of service to moms that are facing the darkest and hardest of times.”
Those seeking assistance can request care at https://www.worldsokayestmom.org/request.