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

by Jill Smokler


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Based on the hugely popular website,, Confessions of a Scary Mommy digs deep into the underbelly of parenting and tackles the issues many mothers are too afraid to expose.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451673777
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 04/03/2012
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 258,610
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Mommy Confessions

• I confess that most days, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Everyone thinks I have it all together—good wife, good mom, successful career—but I really don’t. I’m ready to stop pretending to be perfect now.

• I tried for seven years to get pregnant and now that I’m a mother, I wonder whether it was all worth it.

• If I have to watch Barney one more time, I may have to stick a fork in my eye. Actually, then I’d get some attention. Maybe not such a bad idea.

• I sometimes try to get sick, just so I have an excuse to go to sleep at 6:00 p.m.

• I joined a gym just for the free day care. I drop the kids off and read magazines and blogs in the locker room.

• I pretend to be happy being a stay-at-home mom but sometimes I feel like I’m slowly dying. I cry every night in the shower. This isn’t what I thought it would be.

• I kiss my young teenager good-bye in the morning as she leaves for school, rising above the hormone-fueled snarling and histrionics. Then I close the front door and flip her off, with both hands.

• I miss the career I gave up more than I miss my son when I go to the grocery store. But I always get to go back to him.

• Hidden in the pantry in a box labeled “flour” is top-of-the-line chocolate and a few joints. I rarely resort to it, but it’s a comfort knowing it’s there.

There are a million ironies in motherhood: The day you decide to change the sheets will inevitably be the night your child wets the bed. With a million toys in the house, your baby will without a doubt prefer to play with pots and pans from the kitchen cabinet than with any expensive learning game, and your kids will always fall asleep early for the sitter who gets paid by the hour to entertain them. It’s unfair, uncool, and unjust, but, unfortunately, it’s the way it is. Perhaps, though, the biggest irony out there is that despite never actually being alone (can you remember the last time you peed in peace?), as a mother you can feel totally isolated.

A few years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom to three kids, ranging in age from a newborn to a four-year-old. I was living in a new house, in a new town, among unfamiliar neighbors. It was lonely and overwhelming and I was bordering on miserable. A fellow mom from down the street stopped by our house to introduce herself and ask how my days were going. Half joking, I responded, “The baby is a bit of an asshole, but he’ll grow out of it. We’ll survive.” The look on her face was enough to let me know not only that I had offended her, but that we would not be spending our afternoons commiserating together. She had three young kids, as well—was she not going slowly insane, too? Did she not long for an afternoon without kids wiping snot on her jeans and a baby spitting up constantly? Did she not lock herself in the bathroom, ignoring the whining on the other side of the door? Apparently not. Or she faked it a hell of a lot better than I was able to.

We like to paint motherhood as a picture-perfect experience, filled with idyllic children and beaming mothers. A perfect newborn peacefully resting on his mother’s chest. A toddler taking tentative first steps into the loving arms of his mother, who is smiling proudly and wiping tears of joy from her cheeks. A mother’s long, blond hair trailing in the wind as she holds hands with and runs alongside her beautiful, impeccably dressed children. A mother and daughter sipping tea and painting each other’s nails, telling each other their deepest secrets and dreams. A mother leading Girl Scout troops and chairing PTA events and fluffing her daughter’s prom dress before her nervous date knocks on the front door.

Those moments of motherhood are indeed miraculous and joyful; they can also be few and far between.

What if that baby never latches properly and breast-feeding becomes a nightmare that results in both baby and mother sobbing for hours on end? What if instead of happily reading together with her child for hours, the mother of a tough toddler wonders, just for an instant, whether there is something more to life than puzzles and ABCs? What if a mother, once her teenage child leaves the door, breathes a sigh of relief that the drama is temporarily on hold and drinks a glass of wine alone in the bathtub?

Do these things make motherhood any less perfect?

Of course not: they make motherhood real.

Motherhood isn’t a chain of wondrous little moments strung together in one perfectly orchestrated slide show. It’s dirty and scary and beautiful and hard and miraculous and exhausting and thankless and joyful and frustrating all at once. It’s everything. Anyone who claims that motherhood is only the good stuff is simply in denial (or she’s on some serious drugs). Admitting that this job isn’t always easy doesn’t make somebody a bad mother. At least, it shouldn’t.

We’re all on this ride together. We are not the first ones to ever accidentally tell our children to shut up, or wonder—just for a moment—what it would be like if we’d never had children. We aren’t the first mothers to feel overwhelmed and challenged and not entirely fulfilled by motherhood. And we certainly won’t be the last.

Nothing can be lost by admitting our weaknesses and imperfections to one another. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We will be better mothers, better wives, and better women if we are able to finally drop the act and get real. Who are we pretending for, anyway? It is my hope that no other mother feels as alone as I felt those first few months of motherhood. There are millions of us mothers, all feeling the same way, all across the globe. All we need to do is find one another.

Scary Mommies of the world, unite!

The Scary Mommy


Please solemnly recite the following before proceeding:

I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood, for without it, I recognize that I may end up institutionalized. Or, at the very least, completely miserable.

I shall not judge the mother in the grocery store who, upon entering, hits the candy aisle and doles out M&M’s to her screaming toddler. It is simply a survival mechanism.

I shall not compete with the mother who effortlessly bakes from scratch, purees her own baby food, or fashions breathtaking costumes from tissue paper. Motherhood is not a competition. The only ones who lose are the ones who race the fastest.

I shall shoot the parents of the screaming newborn on the airplane looks of compassion rather than resentment. I am fortunate to be able to ditch the kid upon landing. They, however, are not.

I shall never ask any woman whether she is, in fact, expecting. Ever.

I shall not question the mother who is wearing the same yoga pants, flip-flops, and T-shirt she wore to school pickup the day before. She has good reason.

I shall never claim to know everything about children other than my own (who still remain a mystery to me).

I shall hold the new babies belonging to friends and family, so they may shower and nap, which is all any new mother really wants.

I shall strive to pass down a healthy body image to my daughter. She deserves a mother who loves and respects herself; stretch marks, dimples, cellulite, and all.

I shall not preach the benefits of breast-feeding or circumcision or homeschooling or organic food or co-sleeping or crying it out to a fellow mother who has not asked my opinion. It’s none of my damn business.

I shall try my hardest to never say never, for I just may end up with a loud mouthed, bikini-clad, water gun–shooting toddler of my very own.

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

Customer Reviews

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Confessions of a Scary Mommy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 97 reviews.
FrancescaB More than 1 year ago
I'm a busy mom like most and rarely make time to sit down and actually read a book anymore. However, something about Confessions of a Scary Mommy grabbed ahold of me and I couldn't put it down. In the course of a day, I read the entire book from cover to really is that good. Jill Smokler's approach to motherhood is honest, refreshing, and will have you racing to the next page. What I really love about this book is it's ability to say "yes, parenting is hard, but it is so very worth it."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is such an amazing read for all mothers everywhere! I plan on including a copy in all my future baby shower gifts so that when the crappy times hit, the new mother can read this and know that she is NOT alone! I really could have used it these last few years since becoming a SAHM but alas it was not there. Now it is, and everytime i feel like a horrible mom i will re-read it to remind myself that i am doing just fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diet coke coming out your nose, laugh out loud funny, this book is the ultimate Mommy bible! This should be the book they include in that diaper bag full of stuff you get from the OB-GYN or hospital when you are pregnant!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, this book is funny. Really, really funny. But, above everything else, I found it to be hugely reassuring and comforting. There are other moms like me?? Reading this was like sitting down to coffee with my best friend. (If my best friend made me laugh my ass off and feel better about myself.) Confessions of a Scary Mommy just plain made me happy. What more can you ask for from a book?
braemeg More than 1 year ago
Not just for mothers! As a working husband and father of 2 young boys -this was a great read and a good insight into what moms are thinking and going thru daily! also extremely funny!
TiffanyRom More than 1 year ago
This book is my new must-give gift for all new moms. It will be tied to the top of every shower gift I give! Funny, honest, real.. and did I say funny? This book is hilarious and quite refreshing. It's about time someone told it like it is!
SundayStilwell More than 1 year ago
In her book, Confessions of a Scary Mommy, Jill Smokler says all of the things mothers are already feeling but don't have the guts to admit publicly. Also, don't read this while sipping on your favorite drink because when you laugh at the many revelations you'll end up snorting it across the room. Consider yourself warned!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is AMAZING! It made me laugh, it made me cry, but most of all, it made me feel like I wasn't alone. This is a MUST read for any mom. This book is extremely honest and heartfelt; it tells it like it is and doesn't glamourize motherhood like everyone does. This book gives you the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a mom and should be revered as a mom "bible". We are all doing the best we can and this book points this fact out; we moms are awesome!
LJB40 More than 1 year ago
I made my husband stop reading his Nook and listen to parts of this because I was laughing so loud in bed I just had to share! THIS IS A MUST for all moms! It shows that we all have hard times in all aspects of this journey. Husbands, body image, loving your child, making friends. It is a GREAT Mother's Day present - mom's of all ages because you remember those days regardless of how old your kids are - you now have grandkids! I am taking a group of my friends to her book signing as a girly day! IT IS A MUST for all moms if she is in your area!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It's a wickedly funny and insightful reminder to all of us mommies to lighten up and ditch the idealized image of motherhood we can never meet. With tongue and cheek humor and refreshing candor, Jill Smokler encourages us to trust our instincts and stop being so hard on ourselves. It's welcome and refreshing advice for new and veteran moms alike!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE this book. Reading it helps get me through life's scary moments as a mom. It encourages us to step back, take a breath, and make it through motherhood. Best of all, it reminds me that it's OK to not be Supermom. I'm not alone. And that thought is enough to make me want to cry the happy mommy tears. I want to buy a copy for every mom in my baby group. The Scary Mommy Manifesto alone makes this a MUST read for motherhood.
NicoleLH More than 1 year ago
Confessions of a Scary Mommy says what we all wish we had the guts to say out loud. It’s a book that makes you laugh, nod your head in agreement and more importantly – it makes you feel less alone when you have those days that are less than stellar as a parent. This book is a refreshingly honest and funny take on this life we’re all living - the highs as well as the lows. It removes the need to be perfect and allows for you to find comfort in being the best version of yourself knowing that your kids will love you and know that they are loved - even if you don't plan the perfect birthday party or make them the perfect meal each and every evening. As she says, they will thrive because of and sometimes even in spite of you - and that's ok.
jenb7588 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book that is funny and real. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed every minute of it. Wish I had read it when I was a first time mom.
js74 More than 1 year ago
An honest portrayal of motherhood. Quick and easy to read and you won't put it down and you will always want to go back! I couldn't stop laughing. Just went out to barnes and noble and bought books to share with my friends and family. Even if you are single you will appreciate this book. A must read! Kudos to the author!!
wendynycWB More than 1 year ago
This is a real and really funny reminder that we moms are not alone on this journey. Jill's stories are hysterical and easy to relate to--there's no judgment here. Just many laughs and some poignant moments as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laugh out loud funny from the first page to the last!
JenniferGerlock More than 1 year ago
I wish this book had been around when I first had children! It is honest. It is funny! But above all it is REAL. I laughed so hard at some of the chapters that my husband even wanted to read it. It is a great reminder that the ideal mother we all create in our heads does not exist. There is nothing wrong with doing the best you can and laughing about the rest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is simply funny. It's the kind of book that makes you laugh out loud. She just puts into print the stories and thoughts that other moms have shared with their closest friends but wouldn't necessarily admit to in a room full of judging strangers. This is ABSOLUTELY a great book to include in any baby shower gift. Kudos for her honest look at motherhood!!!! I would love to sit down and share a glass of wine with Jill Smokler!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here are two must buys for any baby shower: The book "Confessions of a Scary Mommy" and a big box of diapers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hilarious take on motherhood! Love her writing style and humor. My kind of mother!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the mommy confessions!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love, love, love this book. Laughed the whole way through. Mostly because about 90% of it applied to me. Although, I am quite embarassed to admit that! Definitely worth the read for any "real" mommy out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finally finished the book after hiding in my room so i could read in peace amd quiet. Such a phenomenal book! I finally feel like a normal mom, with everyday wants and needs. I have recommended this book several times....even while i was one page 3 for the longest time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read, very human
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I greatly enjoyed the confessions that this author and the anonymous contributors used in this book. While I could relate to a few of them, most of them made me feel like I wasn't doing that bad of a job at parenting. After reading this book I shared it with my mother; she said that the confession about flipping her teenage daughter off once the front door had closed was particularly understandable for her. All in all, a good read and worth the money if you can step back and laugh at your own imperfections, just don't expect any life-changing parenting advice.