When I was pregnant with my first child, I had images of whipping up organic baby food in my food processor and saw myself dressed in Ralph Lauren pastels placing my child in a car seat in my Volvo station wagon. Sure, I didn’t have a Volvo or any expectations of getting one but I did have the clothes having bought them at the outlet mall in Michigan City.
After sleeplessness nights and baby spit-ups on my pink Polo shirts, I quickly realized that motherhood wasn’t all cooing cute babies and easy living.
I certainly am not the only mother who learned that parenting is indeed a hard job. Now, what seems like a small army of parents have turned to blogging to share the darker side of motherhood.
Jill Smokler, the New York Times bestselling author of "Confessions of a Scary Mommy" and the recently released "Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)" (Gallery 2013; $15).
Smokler, like other modern day mommy bloggers, doesn’t portray her role as a sainted calling overseeing sweet cherubs and like others as well often uses explicit language in describing what it’s like.
So does Nicole Knepper whose initial emails to friends to help cope with her two special needs children became so popular that she started blogging. Now Knepper, who lives in Chicago, has written "Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind" (Penguin 2013; $15).
“There is always a way to find the fun in the dysfunction of life,” says Knepper, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. “So I find it and then write about it. This blog is about everything. And nothing. On my blog you will find humor blended with health psychology and extreme profanity. It's not just for parents either. Anyone who needs to feel encouraged and supported amidst the chaos belongs here.”
It isn’t only moms getting in of the act. The cover of Adrian Kulp’s "Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-At-Home Dad" (NAL 2013; $15) shows a prone dad with a toddler aged boy standing victoriously over him. Kulp worked as a comedy booking agent for CBS late-night television, as an executive for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, and as a vice president of development for Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing Productions, gave up the fast track to do diaper duty. And he started blogging as well.
Every once in awhile, these dark side parent bloggers gets an irate email from a reader who thinks they’re derelicts offering bad advice.
“My site is just my opinion and my experiences,” says Smokler. “I wrote a post called ‘How to Ensure That Your Children Become the Worst Possible Sleepers, Ever, In the History of The World.’ I thought I had sleep all figured out. I was doing whatever felt natural to me. It completely failed. They still suck at sleeping. I’m completely not a parenting expert. I certainly get negativity in other ways. But it’s your site, and you’re not forcing anyone to read it.”
When asked for parenting advice by a friend whose wife was expecting, Kulp told him he wasn’t an expert.
“I only do what works for me,” he says. “But I didn't want to leave him hanging, so I gave him a few of my ‘bread 'n butters.’ I told him to get a real nice coffee maker and a case of stain sticks. And to do himself a favor and take all his valuable and treasured shit and put it in storage for a few years. He shouldn't get comfortable having anything nice.”
Overall, their humor is hitting a chord in parentland. Scary Mommy, Smokler’s website averages over 3 million page views a month and her Twitter feed and Facebook page amuse over 380,000 people combined.
Knepper’s Facebook page recently hit the 200,000 threshold. Kulp’s book is in development as a TV sitcom for Sony Pictures & Happy Madison Prods.
For Mother’s Day, Smokler offers the following things that you will never hear your children say:
1. Mommy is on the phone right now, so let's entertain ourselves quietly.
2. I know where my soccer cleats are!
3. I'm going to play with my toys now. I really do have so many of them.
4. You're making what for dinner? YUM!