Skip to main content

Less than perfect moms need to unite!

By Jill Smokler, Special to CNN
Blogger Jill Smokler loves her kids but admits there are days when they drive her crazy.
Blogger Jill Smokler loves her kids but admits there are days when they drive her crazy.
  • Scary Mommy blogger says moms and kids are NOT perfect
  • But Facebook posts by moms show only loveliest photos and kiddy victories
  • Blogger says most moms have had days when they wanted to run away
  • Says moms need to support each other instead of pretending perfection
  • Parenting

Editor's note: Jill Smokler is a domestic satirist who blogs at Scary Mommy.

(CNN) -- Glance at any parent's Facebook page, and you'd think that parenthood is a picture-perfect joyride, filled with constant sunshine, never-ending ice cream sundaes and breathtaking double rainbows. With the occasional unicorn trotting by.

• "Brady walked at 8 months! Can you say gifted?! Check out his video!"

• "Martin loves his peas! Here he is choosing them over chocolate pudding!"

• "Sophie placed top in her class!"

Facebook has become the brag book for modern parents to showcase their budding superstars. Only the very best pictures, most precious stories and most flattering videos make the cut. It's the equivalent of not leaving the house without a full face of make up and an expensive designer suit.

But when's the last time you actually saw a mother in a designer suit that wasn't stained with spit or snot? Even if they've gotten the suit meticulously dry-cleaned, the bags and dark circles under their eyes give away the sleepless nights they've spent thanks to bed-wetting and night terrors.

There is no such thing as the perfect parent. Or the perfect child, for that matter.

What do we as parents gain trying to pretend that everything is wonderful and peachy all the time? It's not. Sure, sometimes it is. Sometimes, a perfect photograph or proud moment is totally appropriate to share. I spent more hours than I'm willing to admit slaving over a video montage of our past year in pictures. I wanted it to be perfect. But when everything is all perfect, all the time, it seems like an act.

There are moments where my heart swells so big that I swear it's going to burst right out of my chest. I love my children more than I ever thought possible and would do absolutely anything to ensure their safety and happiness.

But that doesn't mean that I don't feel like slamming the door in their faces just to be able to pee in peace. Sometimes, they run around like crazy wild animals and I feel like I have absolutely no control over them. It makes me cry. Sometimes, I yell out of sheer frustration. Sometimes, I don't feel like reading bedtime stories and they go to bed without them.

None of that makes me a bad mother. It makes me real.

I have a Confessional on my website. Unlike Facebook, people can leave completely anonymous statements about their marriage, parenthood and life. Unlike the boasts about perfect test scores and flawless birthday parties, people leave things like these:

• "Sometimes, I just want to run away."

• "I love my kids, but motherhood is so much harder than I thought it would be."

• "Life would be so much easier if my son weren't autistic. It's just so... hard."

Who hasn't had thoughts like those? The mom who proudly posted about her son gobbling up spinach may very well have been the one who wants to run away. What mother hasn't had the same thought, deep in the pit of her stomach?

Getting a virtual hug on my website can be a great pick-me-up, but it's not enough. As parents, we need support. Real support that can't be offered if our lives seem perfect.

Parenthood is the only club I know of that doesn't feel much like a community.

So I'll admit it: My kids are not perfect. My parenting isn't perfect. And I know I am not alone.

You're not either.

Featured Deal |