Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies)

Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies)

4.7 13
by Jill Smokler
     
 

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy and the wildly popular blog ScaryMommy.com, a hilarious new essay collection that exposes the “vicious lies” that every parent is told.

Newly pregnant and scared out of her mind, Jill Smokler lay on her gynecologist’s examination table and was toldSee more details below

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy and the wildly popular blog ScaryMommy.com, a hilarious new essay collection that exposes the “vicious lies” that every parent is told.

Newly pregnant and scared out of her mind, Jill Smokler lay on her gynecologist’s examination table and was told the biggest lie she’d ever heard in her life: “Motherhood is the most natural thing in the world.”

Instead of quelling her nerves like that well intentioned nurse hoped to, Jill was instead set up for future of questioning exactly what DNA strand she was missing that made the whole motherhood experience feel less than natural to her. Wonderful? Yes. Miraculous? Of course. Worthwhile? Without a doubt. But natural? Not so much.

Jill’s first memoir, the New York Times bestseller Confessions of a Scary Mommy, rocketed to national fame with its down and dirty details about life with her three precious bundles of joy. Now Jill returns with all-new essays debunking more than twenty pervasive myths about motherhood. She’s here to give you what few others will dare: The truth.

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Editorial Reviews

Lauren Weisberger
“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!”
Cynthia Copeland
“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.”
ABCnews.com on Confessions of a Scary Mommy
“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.”
New York Times bestselling author Michael Ian Black on Confessions of a Scary Mommy
“Hilarious, brutal honesty about parenting.”
Parenting on Jill Smoker's Scary Mommy blog
“Funny . . . speaks the truths about motherhood when other mothers aren’t willing to admit it.”
Julie Klam
“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.”
Baltimore Magazine on Confessions of a Scary Mommy
“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.”
From the Publisher
“Thousands upon thousands of mothers grasp onto her every word.”
The Baltimore Sun on Jill Smokler’s groundbreaking blog
New York Family Magazine on Confessions of a Scary Mommy
“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)."
The Huffington Post
"If you need an irreverent, hysterical and oftentimes too-close-for-comfort look at motherhood, you need Scary Mommy."
Library Journal
In April of last year, Smokler earned an LJ star for Confessions of a Scary Mommy—a compilation of sarcastic parenting posts from her popular blog, ScaryMommy.com. In her second release, she exposes the lies associated with becoming a mother, such as "Being Home with Your Kids Is the Most Fulfilling Job" and "It Gets Easier." Smokler is funny indeed ("Sex these days is like a drive-in movie: open for your viewing pleasure, but you're on your own"), but this second offering seems premature. The entries are hit or miss this time around, which is the unfortunate result of thematic pigeonholing and speeding on the publication superhighway. VERDICT This is likely to be passed around by mothers at play dates, but it is an optional purchase for libraries. Let's hope Smokler lets the entrée marinate a bit longer next time. With more latitude for preparation, she can be a Thanksgiving dinner destination. No more tofurkey please, Jill.
Kirkus Reviews
A humorous treatment of the joys (and miseries) of motherhood. Every parent has heard many of the countless axioms of child-rearing: Motherhood comes naturally; pets make children more responsible; it's just a phase; etc. Smokler (Confessions of a Scary Mommy, 2012) turns these ideas upside down, offering readers a more honest, sarcastic take on what parenting is really all about. Whether covered in vomit, dealing with persistent urination issues, or being kicked and bruised, the author finds the humor in parenting. Her own children, other children and her husband all come under scrutiny as she pokes fun at such things as the phases kids should never outgrow (being easy-to-please, having sweet breath and believing mommy is always right) and the ones they should get rid of as quickly as possible: the know-it-all, the nonstop question of why. Smokler covers a variety of topics, from trips to the mall and vacations to sleeping, peeing in private and being a stay-at-home mom. She will help you decide when to throw away that cute macaroni necklace that "your precious child painstakingly threaded…with his bare hands! Look at that color composition--look at that sense of style! It's a masterpiece, and you are the luckiest mommy in the world." She also eulogizes her pre-mom body: "we remember those perky breasts previously so full of life and promise, now sucked dry of all hope and ambition. They know their days of usefulness are numbered, and we know it, too." Funny sidebars emphasize key points in each chapter. A tongue-in-cheek look at being a mom.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476728384
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
248,521
File size:
3 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) Lie #1 MOTHERHOOD COMES NATURALLY


I am the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I speak three languages. I have negotiated multimillion-dollar deals without breaking a sweat. However, just thinking about bedtime for my three kids makes me want to vomit.

—Scary Mommy Confession #208830

Once upon a time, I found myself unexpectedly expecting and scared out of my mind. If I clearly wasn’t responsible enough to practice safe sex, it was pretty safe to say that I wasn’t responsible enough to bring a child into the world. A few days after I peed on every kind of stick the drugstore had to offer, I found myself at the gynecologist for further confirmation. As I hyperventilated on the table, flashing back to that night of one too many margaritas, I was consoled by a kind nurse. She was a sweet older woman in faded Dora the Explorer scrubs, with years of experience and wisdom under her belt. “Honey,” she confidently told me in her soothing James Earl Jonesey voice, “motherhood is the most natural thing in the world. You’ll love it.”

That was the first time I ever listened to a grown woman in cartoon-themed hospital scrubs, and the last. She wasn’t all wrong; the latter part of her wisdom has certainly proven to be true. Almost ten years have passed since that day, and I love being a mother like I have never loved anything before in my life. I have three beautiful and hilarious and amazing children whom I would lay down my life for without thinking twice. It is, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. But, natural? No, I’m afraid not. Motherhood doesn’t always come all that naturally.

Things that come naturally to me: Food. Sleep. Comfort. Privacy. Basically, all of the things that pregnancy and children have cruelly robbed from me.

Let’s start with pregnancy—not exactly what I would call natural. I spent almost all of my nine months puking my guts out. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t eat what I wanted to eat, since I was being held hostage by this mystery creature who dictated my diet. I craved tuna sandwiches on white bread layered with potato chips, and my normal staple breakfast of Cheerios suddenly made me queasy. The baby I didn’t know prevented me from finding a comfortable position to sleep in and ensured that I ran to the bathroom every three seconds to pee. I had a hard enough time getting used to sharing a bathroom with my husband when we first moved in together. My body—the only thing that was ever mine and all mine—now belonged to someone else. What’s natural about that?

Labor was another extraordinarily unnatural event for me. Sitting in a chair, legs practically over my head, I felt like some sort of freak show contortionist on display for the doctors and nurses. I half expected someone to start making popcorn. I spent much of my time in labor envying those women who sit on a toilet and shit out a baby. Bizarre, sure, but at least they’re alone, in a room where they’re used to expelling things, having gravity work for them rather than against them. That sounds a hell of a lot more natural to me.

Once the baby comes, you’re suddenly supposed to know exactly what is best for the child, as if mother’s intuition arrives along with the onset of breast milk. Guess what? It doesn’t. That first car ride home together felt as natural as me driving a spaceship straight to Mars.

The first few days and weeks home with a baby, I felt more like I was hired to play the role of Mother than actually be a mother. Wasn’t I supposed to have changed overnight, suddenly in possession of all the answers? That’s what I expected, at least, but I remained the same exact person I was before, except now I was responsible for a human being other than myself. I remember a friend telling me that cries were just the baby’s way of communicating and I could decode them if I tried hard enough. Was she hungry? Hot? Cold? Wet? Clearly, I didn’t speak baby because every scream sounded exactly the same to me: like a baby crying.

And it didn’t become more natural with baby number two even if I fooled myself into thinking that I had the hang of things. I didn’t. When Ben was a few months old, he got sick. Not really sick—just a lingering cough, thanks to a minor cold. I’d been through this sort of winter before with Lily, so I knew the drill. Hell, I was an expert by now! He was stuffy but smiley, and I knew in my heart that he was just fine. There was no sinking feeling in my gut and surely, there would be one if it were something serious. A week or two later, I found myself at the doctor’s office for a routine visit. The doctor knew within seconds that something was wrong and that the “minor cold” was now in my baby’s lungs. He was hooked up to oxygen while I sobbed, still not being able to recognize the wheezing sound that everyone else seemed to identify simply by looking at him.

Then, there was the time Lily fell off of a bunk bed, and I was 100 percent sure her wails were nothing more than a performance. Her arm didn’t look broken in the least, and she’s always been one to seek attention. Mother knows best, kid. Stop your crying! I gave her some Tylenol and put her to bed. When she woke up, her arm had swelled to twice its normal size and she couldn’t move it without tears springing to her eyes. I’m quite sure that the only reason they started making obnoxiously fluorescent casts was to remind mothers like me just how poor our intuition can be. In my case, it was an eight-week reminder of how very much I sucked.

After nine years of motherhood, I still don’t have that sixth sense concerning my children. I keep them home from school when it’s clear an hour later that they simply didn’t feel like going, and I send them with the sniffles only to have the school nurse instruct me to retrieve them shortly after drop off. It still doesn’t dawn on me to feed them breakfast unless they ask for it and I never remember to tell them to hit the potty before we depart on road trips.

The good news is that, unlike when they were babies and the cries were indistinguishable, these days my kids tell me exactly what they need, when they need it. Lord knows, I need all the help I can get. The bad news? Now they never shut up.

Momfinitions

MOMMY’S LAW: The inevitable fact that only clean sheets will be wet, that fully snow-suited children will need to pee, and that the moment you sit down with a cup of coffee, all hell will break lose.

MOMLUSIONAL: Convincing oneself that the possibility of a restful sleep actually exists.

MSP (MATERNAL SENSORY PERCEPTION): Knowing from the very first ring of the phone that it’s school calling to report a sick child.

MOMFLEX: The act of instinctively squeezing one’s legs together while sneezing/coughing/laughing in an attempt to prevent inevitable bladder leakage.

MOM SLEEVES: Sleeves that have been rolled up to the elbow, to serve as tissues to snotty children.

MOMSONIC HEARING: Knowing exactly which child is coming down the stairs, based on their pace and stomp intensity.

MOMPREHENSION: The ability to perfectly comprehend multiple loud, obnoxious children competing to speak at the same exact time.

MOMMY-TASKING: The ability to do a hundred times more at once than a nonmother.

MOMNESIA: The act of forgetting where you put your keys, your sunglasses, your purse, your shoes, while simultaneously knowing the details of each child’s schedule down to the minute.

MOMPIPHANY: The realization that you have no idea whatsoever what the hell you are doing.

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What People are saying about this

Julie Klam
“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.”
Cynthia Copeland
“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.”

From the Publisher
“Thousands upon thousands of mothers grasp onto her every word.”

The Baltimore Sun on Jill Smokler’s groundbreaking blog

Lauren Weisberger
“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!”

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