Review by SHEILA JAYA POOMY
CONFESSIONS OF A SCARY MOMMY
An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood - The Good, the Bad and the Scary
By Jill Smokler
Publisher: Gallery Books
There are good parenting books, and there are bad ones. This one tops my chart of a seriously funny good one and a definite keeper!
Blogger-turned-author Jill Smokler (www.scarymommy.com) has picked some of her best pieces, doused them with even more dry wit and over-the-top-hilariously honest confessions to make this book a tickle-treasure.
More than just being ridiculously funny, this book is real. Let’s face it, our kids are annoying. They make us embarrassed. We are often at a loss as to what to do with them. So there. As Smokler says, “We like to paint motherhood as picture perfect. A newborn peacefully resting on his mother’s chest. A toddler taking tentative steps to 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.” And so, she captures the very tried (and tired) realities of parenting laced with a lot of in-your-face humour, attested with honest contributions from mothers across the world.
Reading the book is like going through a tray of decadent macaroons. It is deliciously wicked, with each chapter offering a truffle of honest views into the early stages of a child’s life, and more candidly, a mum’s life.
Smokler’s candour about underbelly parenting kicks off with a scary mummy manifesto – 12 cardinal rules for the reader to recite before progressing to the outrageously funny pages that await. These include nuggets like:
- I shall never claim to know everything about children other than my own (who still remain a mystery to me).
- 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.
The first section of each chapter is a collection of the confession closets – quotes and quips from mums cum fans of her blog. It is a sampling of their deepest desires, crazy fears, obsessive concerns, uncultured habits and unrestrained thoughts – all expressed without fear or favour.
- I tell my husband we’re out of milk so I can run to the store for 10 minutes of quiet time. I don’t tell him I drank the last of the milk.
- Laundry from our vacation has been giving me dirty looks all weekend. I think I’ll move them to the garage.
- I regret being too scared to tell anyone about my postpartum depression.
- Just caught my three-year-old trying really hard to put his own weenie in his mouth. Oh. My. Many men have tried and failed to live the dream, son. Many men.
- I hide things in my empty tampon boxes. I know my teenage son and husband wouldn’t go near those.
- I’m wearing maternity jeans but I haven’t been pregnant in six years.
- I cried the first time my son cried inconsolably because I felt like a failure and wondered why God would ever let me be a mum.
- Childbirth was the highlight of my motherhood career. My kids are eight, 10, and 12.
- My newborn looks like an alien. Am I supposed to find her cute?
- That three-second orgasm was SO not worth this nine-month hell.
Smokler takes the reader through “real” journeys - from pregnancy, to naming a child, birthday wars, death traps of the pool, having a favourite child, the fear of losing friendships, the bliss of making new ones at mummy clubs, plus tricks to getting away from unwanted company.
For example, faking diarrhoea to get a few quiet moments in the loo (and catch up on some gossip mags while you’re in precious solitude). It also has amusing suggestions to stave off unwanted advice of “concerned” family, friends and strangers about your choice of breastfeeding, circumcision or schools.
This hard-covered compact-sized book can be easily tucked into your handbag. You can thumb through a chapter or two, especially when you’re dying to get out of boring company or wanting some rib-tickling escape from having changed too many diapers for the day.
Each chapter is only a few pages long, so this treasure trove of confessionals gives you time to sneak in a 10-minute read between chores, or waiting for your child’s time-out buzzer to ring, or even in a traffic jam.
This book would make a superb gift for the uninitiated parent-to-be about the real, stark and honest realities of raising children.
Swearing, cussing and some private body parts referencing aside, I would give it five stars!
And note: Dads, too (often deemed the biggest baby of all), would get a kick out of this – as it offers some insight into the head and heart of mums. You’ll be up for more than a few sniggers with this one as it offers huge dollops of wicked humour.