Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, and the Scary

Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, and the Scary

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by Jill Smokler

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Sometimes I just let my children fall asleep in front of the TV.

In a culture that idealizes motherhood, it’s scary to confess that, in your house, being a mother is beautiful and dirty and joyful and frustrating all at once. Admitting that it’s not easy doesn’t make you a bad mom; at least, it shouldn’t.

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Sometimes I just let my children fall asleep in front of the TV.

In a culture that idealizes motherhood, it’s scary to confess that, in your house, being a mother is beautiful and dirty and joyful and frustrating all at once. Admitting that it’s not easy doesn’t make you a bad mom; at least, it shouldn’t.

If I can’t survive my daughter as a toddler, how the hell am I going to get through the teenage years?

When Jill Smokler was first home with her small children, she thought her blog would be something to keep friends and family updated. To her surprise, she hit a chord in the hearts of mothers everywhere.

I end up doing my son’s homework. It’s wrong, but so much easier.

Total strangers were contributing their views on that strange reality called motherhood. As other women shared their stories, Jill realized she wasn’t alone in her feelings of exhaustion and imperfection.

My eighteen month old still can’t say “Mommy” but used the word “shit” in perfect context.

But she sensed her readers were still holding back, so decided to start an anonymous confessional, a place where real moms could leave their most honest thoughts without fearing condemnation.

I pretend to be happy but I cry every night in the shower.

 The reactions were amazing: some sad, some pee-in-your-pants funny, some brutally honest. But they were real, not a commercial glamorization.

I clock out of motherhood at 8 P.M. and hide in the basement with my laptop and a beer.

If you’re already a fan, lock the bathroom door on your whining kids, run a bubble bath, and settle in. If you’ve not encountered Scary Mommy before, break out a glass of champagne as well, because you’ll be toasting your initiation into a select club.

I know why some animals eat their young.

In chapters that cover husbands (The Biggest Baby of Them All) to homework (Didn’t I Already Graduate?), Confessions of a Scary Mommy combines all-new essays from Jill with the best of the anonymous confessions.

Sometimes I wish my son was still little—then I hear kids screaming at the store.

As Jill says, “We like to paint motherhood as picture perfect. A newborn peacefully resting on his mother’s chest. A toddler taking tentative first steps into his mother’s loving arms. A mother fluffing her daughter’s prom dress. These moments are indeed miraculous and joyful; they can also be few and far between.” Of course you adore your kids. Of course you would lay down your life for them. But be honest now: Have you ever wondered what possessed you to sign up for the job of motherhood?


I shall remember that no mother is perfect and my children will thrive because, and sometimes even in spite, of me.

I shall not preach to a fellow mother who has not asked my opinion. It’s none of my damn business.

I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Get ready to ditch those Prada shoes (and anything else nice you own) and face reality--you haven't had a brutal boss until you've had a baby. Confessions of a Scary Mommy is hilariously, outrageously truthful about the hardest job I know. Put this book at the top of your diaper bag!”
—Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada

“Jill offers up the perfect antidote to overly earnest parenting guides. It's like comfort food for anxious moms, served with a side of snark.”
—Cynthia Copeland, author of The Diaper Diaries and Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me

“Jill has blown the lid off of what should and should not be said when discussing the experience of motherhood, using her sense of humor and the occasional “F-bomb” — and in doing so, Scary Mommy, has actually made motherhood a little bit less frightening… [Confessions of a Scary Mommy] dares to say the things most mothers have thought, but few have had the courage to admit.”

"Smokler’s “scary mommy” version of motherhood makes no apologies, which is precisely why it succeeds ... If motherhood is starting to feel like a story without a plot, my advice is to pretend you’re sick and lock yourself in the bathroom with this book. Highly recommended."
—Library Journal

“Hilarious, brutal honesty about parenting.”
New York Times bestselling author Michael Ian Black

“Funny . . . speaks the truths about motherhood when other mothers aren’t willing to admit it.”

“Any mother who doesn't stifle a million knowing laughs while reading Confessions of a Scary Mommy needs to make sure her funny bone wasn't accidentally sucked into the diaper genie.”
—Julie Klam, New York Times bestselling author of You Had Me at Woof

“It’s the same kind of honest, heartfelt wisdom that has lured thousands of readers to Smokler’s Scary Mommy blog and given untold numbers of parents the comforting knowledge that they’re not alone.”
Baltimore Magazine

“Confessions of a Scary Mommy is THE book you should be giving all moms-to-be and new mothers so they can get that notion of being “perfect” out of their mommy brains as soon as possible. Jill’s book is a collection of the best confessions from her site, as well as some personal stories about becoming a mom and some of her own challenges and thoughts to put it all in perspective. Reading those confessions is pretty addicting and they make you feel pretty darn good.”
— Cafe Mom

“Funny, charming, engaging and highly prone to making me laugh my head off.”

“Thousands upon thousands of mothers grasp onto her every word.”
The Baltimore Sun on Jill Smokler’s groundbreaking blog

"If you need an irreverent, hysterical and oftentimes too-close-for-comfort look at motherhood, you need Scary Mommy."
The Huffington Post

“If you haven’t been reading Jill Smokler’s Scary Mommy blog, you’re missing out on all sorts of confessional hilarity…[CONFESSIONS OF A SCARY MOMMY] is a quick and relatable read that will have you in stitches by the end (or right at the beginning)."
New York Family Magazine

"For anyone who has ever felt like they’re a failure at being a “perfect parent,” or are scared they wouldn’t be good enough parents to have children, after reading this book you’ll know you aren’t alone."
Ruckus Mag

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Read an Excerpt


I am not a writer.

Sure, I wrote this book, but I am not an actual writer. At least, I don’t think of myself that way.

I’m a graphic designer by trade, and I took some time off from work when my kids were babies. I knew I’d eventually have to go back to a salary to help pay the bills, but I was going to milk living in yoga pants and not showering until dinnertime for as long as I possibly could. There was nothing about wearing heels and lipstick to an office that I missed, but the slothfulness did come with a cost. While I certainly didn’t miss the work, I missed having something—anything—to myself. Endless games of peekaboo and board books were not as fulfilling as I thought they would be; I felt like I was drowning in boredom and lame nursery rhymes. So, on a whim, I started a blog.

It seemed like as good a solution as any: I’d be able to keep a baby book of sorts for the kids—kind of a modern-day love letter—and it would give me something to focus on between laundry, diaper changes, and grocery shopping. Plus, it meant I wouldn’t have to send those annoying picture-filled e-mails to friends and family. What did I have to lose? Nothing, it turned out, but I had no idea just how very much I would gain.

I wrote about my struggles to get the “perfect” photo of my children and my frustrations with the terrible twos. I shared cute little pictures and art projects and stories, but I never dreamed that anyone not closely connected to me would ever read them. But a few weeks in, something amazing happened: I got a comment from someone other than my mother or my best friend. Someone, from thousands of miles away, who had somehow found and related to me. I clicked on her name and found that she had a blog of her own, where she, too, shared her views on motherhood and parenting. They were different from mine but fascinating to read about. From there, I clicked around and found that there were hundreds, thousands of moms writing about their lives and views. It was a whole wide world I’d accidentally fallen into. And I was hooked.

As my site grew, so did the sense of community. Where I once felt alone in my feelings of exhaustion and imperfection, I suddenly had other moms from all around the world understanding and relating to me. Likewise, the honest thoughts about motherhood that had existed only in my head started creeping up on the blog. I began to consider my posts as facilitators for the larger discussion that took place in the comments. People added their own experiences and stories, and I laughed and cried and learned from them. We all have stories to tell, and I loved that people were using my space to open up with their own.

A few years after starting my site, I added an anonymous confessional, sensing that there was so much more my readers might say if they could do so without leaving a username or picture. The reaction was amazing. Some confessions were sad, some were pee-in-your-pants funny, and some were brutally honest, but they were real. You’ll see confessions at the start of each chapter and that’s where they’re from. Real moms leaving real thoughts, without fearing judgment or negative reactions. I’m sure you’ll be able to find reflections of yourself in at least a few of them. We’re really not all that different from one another.

It’s my hope that this book will act in much the same way my blog does. While you may not be able to comment on posts the way you would online, the book may inspire you to connect with people—to talk about some of the funny stuff and the hard stuff—in ways you might not have before. Open up with your friends about how hard it is to raise a girl. Admit to your neighbor how much you despise the pool. Use this book as a lifeline when you find yourself drowning in mommyhood.

To my Scary Mommy community members: Thank you. Thank you for showing me a side of me I never knew existed and for making a dream I never knew I had come true.

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Meet the Author

Jill Smokler is a New York Times bestselling author and domestic satirist whose candor about marriage and parenting has made her an unlikely hero among a new generation of women. She holds a degree in graphic design and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and has three children. Married to her college sweetheart, she and her family live in downtown Baltimore.

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