Kids + Media

Q&A with 'Confessions of a Scary Mommy' Author, Jill Smokler


Editor's note: We have one copy of Confessions of a Scary Mommy up for grabs for one lucky reader! Leave a comment on the post for a chance to win. Good luck!

Four years ago, Jill Smokler began blogging under the nom de blog Scary Mommy, chronicling her journey as a mother of three children. Along the way, she didn't make excuses for her occasionally, let's just say, ambivalent feelings about being a mother. Motherhood, she unambiguously conveyed in her irreverent posts, isn’t defined by a pursuit of perfection, but rather by those moments when you don’t know if pulling your hair out or laughing hysterically is the best response.

Scary Mommy quickly evolved into a virtual web confessional, where Smokler's legion of reader-moms congregated to anonymously share what raising children entailed for them — the bright and tarnished sides of the mommy coin.

A literary sibling to Smokler’s blog, Confessions of a Scary Mommy presents 25 new original essays that showcase some of the unvarnished truths about motherhood shared by the author's blog followers over the years. The candor of the book rewards readers generously with that species of comic relief that derives from recognizing a refraction of shared experience. We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt that. And Smokler brings therapeutic hilarity to it all.

With wit and honesty, Smokler articulates the highs and lows of motherhood, from those initial apprehensive moments of becoming a new, first-time parent (“Are They Really Letting ME Take This Thing Home?”) to negotiating the evolution of your marriage once you have a child (“The Biggest Baby of All”) to acknowledging the social and cultural pressures of being a good-enough mother (“The Mommy Races”).

Recently I was able to chat with Smokler about Confessions of a Scary Mommy. Here’s what she had to say.

You started the blog as a virtual baby book. When did you realize you were on to something with the theme of mother-reader confessions?

Smokler: Once I added the Confessional, the site really took on a life of its own. I love that the site is less about me, personally, and more about the Scary Mommy philosophy these days. It's become much bigger than I ever imagined!

When and how did the idea of turning the confessions into a book happen?

The confessions are only a tiny fraction of the book; it's primarily original essays by me. But the confessions offer another perspective at the beginning of each chapter — I'm only one person with specific experiences. I think the other confessions allow everyone to relate to something within the pages.

headshot2Was writing the book an organic process?

OMG, writing the book was a nightmare! There was nothing natural about it. I would go days and days without being able to muster up a sentence and I'd get distracted by everything. It was a rough few months.

Has your husband always been supportive of your brutal honesty?

Yes. My husband is such an attention whore, that even when I write critical posts and poke fun at him mercilessly, he loves it. I'm talking about him! Other people are talking about him! He loves it.

Your daughter Lily (age 8) knows about the book. Have you shared with her what you've written about her?

Yes, she knows about the book and is so proud and excited about it. But, no, she has not read it (as far as I know!). While it is my hope that she will someday appreciate the candor and honesty with which I write, I don't think an 8-year-old can possibly understand that yet.

What's the best piece of advice you have for new moms, or even the best advice you got as a new mom?

Relax. And don't listen to advice.

What was your favorite chapter to write?

"I Hate Other People's Kids" came pouring out of me and was written at a time when all three of my kids were sick — thanks to those other kids.

Why should all moms read your book?

This is the book I wish I'd had a few years ago when I felt like I was the only less-than-perfect parent out there. Motherhood is hard, and it's time we admit that. I hope this book helps moms understand they aren't alone.

You've just "birthed" this book, but are you planning on doing a follow-up?

The pregnancy amnesia has already begun to set in. Yup, I can imagine — it's addictive!

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