Please solemnly recite the following before proceeding:
- I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood, for without it, I recognize that I may end up institutionalized. Or, at the very least, completely miserable.
- I shall not judge the mother in the grocery store who, upon entering, hits the candy aisle and doles out M&Ms to her screaming toddler. It is simply a survival mechanism.
- I shall not compete with the mother who effortlessly bakes from scratch, purees her own baby food, or fashions breathtaking costumes from tissue paper. Motherhood is not a competition. The only ones who lose are the ones who race the fastest.
- I shall shoot the parents of the screaming newborn on the airplane looks of compassion rather than resentment. I am fortunate to be able to ditch the kid upon landing. They, however, are not.
- I shall never ask any woman whether she is, in fact, expecting. Ever.
- I shall not question the mother who is wearing the same yoga pants, flip-flops and t-shirt she wore to school pickup the day before. She has good reason.
- I shall never claim to know everything about any child but my own. (Who still remains a mystery to me.)
- I shall hold the new babies belonging to friends and family, so they may shower and nap, which is all any new mother really wants.
- I shall attempt to not pass down my own messed up body issues to my daughter. She deserves a mother who loves and respects herself; stretch marks, cellulite and all.
- I shall not preach the benefits of breastfeeding or circumcision or home schooling or organic food or co-sleeping or crying it out to a fellow mother who has not asked my opinion. It's none of my damn business.
- I shall try my hardest to never say never, for I just may end up with a loud-mouthed, bikini clad, water gun shooting toddler of my very own.
- I shall remember that no mother is perfect and my children will thrive because, and sometimes even in spite, of me.
Excerpted from "Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, and the Scary" by Jill Smokler. Published by Gallery Books.