By: Jill Smokler
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: April 3, 2012
Like many new stay-at-home mothers, Jill Smokler felt the need to re-connect to the outside world, so she decided to start a blog. She reasoned that it would be the perfect place to share photos and news with her family and close friends. But then something happened…she received a comment from somebody she didn’t know. Other people were reading her blog? From those humble beginnings grew a site that today gets 1.5 million hits a month! Smokler has obviously found a topic that many can relate to and enjoy. Along with the popularity of the site comes a new book filled with the same irreverent comments about life and motherhood.
Each chapter in Confessions of a Scary Mommy begins with a few pages of “Mommy Confessions.” These are anonymous comments about motherhood that Smokler took from a special page on her blog where people can post their inner-most thoughts about parenting without leaving their names. Many of these comments are funny, a few serious, and quite a few are things that you wouldn’t tell your closest friend.
The author takes us through all the early stages of motherhood, from pregnancy to worrying about her daughter’s pre-teen years and entry into “womanhood.” Smokler begins her book by talking about her pre-motherhood life, with a loving husband and rather self-absorbed lifestyle. Then she admits to the discomforts of pregnancy, the morning sickness, bloating, and general miserable state of being pregnant. She asks, “Who are these women who blissfully glide through pregnancy…and what about those freaks of nature who somehow get through all nine months never actually knowing that they’re expecting? I mean, who are they?!” (pg. 17)
From childbirth to toddlers, to preschoolers to her kids’ first years in school, no topic is sacrosanct. From how some women eat their placenta - “But people do. It’s like, a thing.” (pg. 54) – and her nurse even asked her if she wanted to(!) to dealing with kids’ ear wax and other bodily functions, Smokler isn’t afraid to tell it like it is – to her. There are also many funny subjects, such as the life of a student. The author admits to being less than impressive herself, “When I graduated, I swear, I heard the angels singing from the heavens. (Or perhaps it was my teachers. Either way.) Hallefreakiniglujah. I was done!” (pg. 135) When she returned to school as a parent, all those feelings of dread came rushing back, as well as the realization that “I have yet to master even the most basic of skills.” (pg. 135)
Smokler talks about her own personal experiences and opinions with amazing candor and humor. However, she does write as if she’s posting to her blog, with short, conversational sentences and snippets of sentences throughout. She shows the world that it’s okay to not be a perfect mother, and that it’s okay to go to the grocery store in yoga pants and looking a bit unkempt. While some of the candor, and language, may be a bit much for those mothers who fall somewhere between Smokler and say, Martha Stewart, for many who feel they are alone in their refusal to fall into the mold of June Cleaver, it will be refreshing and humorous.
Quill says: While funny and definitely irreverent, you may want to check out the Scary Mommy blog first to see if this book will appeal to you.
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