Motherhood: It Doesn’t Get Easier

In the world of blogging about motherhood, there are few writers who make us laugh at our mom selves with more genuine skill than Jill Smokler, aka “Scary Mommy.” A mother of three (5, 7, 9) and mega-successful blogger, Jill’s first book was on the New York Times bestseller list.  Her second book, Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies,) is equally entertaining and genuinely hilarious in detailing all the ways motherhood doesn’t get easier!

Mary Dell was lucky enough to meet Jill this week at Alice’s Tea Shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Afterwards, Grown and Flown created a list of “Vicious Lies” for the teen years and a few reality checks on motherhood.

Motherhood Comes Naturally

1. Kids need to be grown and independent by the time they leave for college, able to balance their checkbook and do their own laundry.

Reality Check: Some kids are independent at six, others find their independence for the first time at 2 am in the laundry room of their dorm when they do not have a single item of clean clothing left to wear.

2. Going back to work will be a snap once your kids are in school all day.

Reality Check: Years out of the workforce will mean you have to relaunch. Few jobs end at 2:30 pm right around the corner from the carpool line.  Sick days, snow days, vacations and summer…don’t worry you just need a back-up plan for about 200 days a year.

3. It gets easier.

No, not for a minute. Sure, your little kids may not have slept, may have barfed in your hair and thrown tantrums in the grocery store, but teens still throw up, only now it is a much bigger worry and good luck picking them up and putting them in their rooms when you want to change their behavior.

Motherhood Comes Naturally, Jill Smokler

4. Boys are easier.

The risk-seeking nature of sons is a real neuro-physical phenomenon, and a source of fear and anxiety for every parent. If you need a second opinion, ask the company that insures your car.

5. Girls are easier.

No, see above. Girls and the hormonal thrills and chills create drama that rivals anything that a toddler can dish out.  If you have any doubts, a weekend of prom dress shopping should put those to rest.

6. Older kids don’t want to talk to their parents.

All teenagers have a job and that is to push back from their parents in their quest to gain their independence.  Whining, that dread nails-on-a-chalkboard sound from childhood, is replaced by sarcasm which can best be described as different nails on a different chalkboard. Since they can control how much they say to us, withholding conversation is one major part of the work of growing up.  You will find the quiet that you have prayed for 13 years, but silence in a teen is often just another name for sulking.

7. The longer you are a parent the more confident you will become.

When you have a 15-year old, you will know exactly what to do with…a 9-year old. You will feel as ill prepared for the day they leave home as you did for the day they arrived.  The only difference is that after you finish crying when they leave, you will sleep better.

8. High school is hard but they need to do things on their own; if they cannot manage their lives by seventeen, they will never learn.

High school can be overwhelming academically, socially and in terms of the sheer time commitment.  It is so much harder than anything we ever faced. Parents who adopt a sink or swim attitude may wonder why their children seem to be gasping for air. We prefer to settle into a lifetime of swimming lessons throwing out a life-preserver, as needed.

9. The teenage years are so bad that at the end of it, you will be glad to drop them off at their freshmen dorms.

No.  We have done this with three children in our two families and still have a golf ball size lump in our throat every time we drive away.  Motherhood does not get any easier and we don’t love it any less.



  1. Ellen says

    So can relate to all of those. It is the hardest job you will ever love.

    • says

      Love the way you phrase that, “hardest job you will ever love,” to describe motherhood. We agree!

  2. says

    This could not have come at a better time. Yesterday I was so overwhelmed with motherhood, me hood and all the other hoods that are expected of me that I brought on a full blown panic attack.
    No one tells you any of these things at the baby shower…it’s not all ooo’s and ahhh’s.
    Thanks once again for your perfect timing!

  3. says

    These are so true. Bigger kids = bigger problems. Parenting is never effortless.

  4. Emily says

    True, true and true! I am envious you met Jill Smokler as I’ve only talked to her online. I’ve followed her blog since I became a blogger and am very happy for her success…

    • says

      Jill is an example of what we aspire to be as mommy bloggers and I bet you feel the same, Emily. Not only is so funny and smart, but she is generous in opening her space to guest bloggers (so nice for you to have done that,) the confessionals, message boards and the charities she supports. It was a treat to be able to meet her in person.

  5. says

    Amen, amen and amen – 9 times! And how awesome that you got to meet and greet with this author. That’s always so much fun.

  6. says

    Your list is so true. It doesn’t get easier, it just gets different. In their teens, I would rarely get a word out of my kids. But I learned that, once they started talking, drop everything and listen.

  7. says

    A super list of “lies”! All so very true.
    One lie I’d like to add: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” It’s not an outright lie — it just doesn’t tell the whole story. The truth is that when they’re older, yeah, they may not turn from it, but what they do is improve upon it. Our children as adults continually impress with their ability to do one better with all they’ve learned from us, raising the bar with each and every generation. It’s a joy to watch it happen.

    • says

      Lisa, so very true and you must see how your daughters have blossomed as adults, and, with one, as a mom herself. Raising the bar is a great way to put it – thanks!

  8. says

    You are so right. Ask any parent who’s received that 1 AM phone call or text from their college student with a 103-degree fever, broken heart, lost debit card…you get the idea.

    • says

      The pit in my stomach when I hear a text message late at night (or early AM) is impossible to describe. It is never good news….

  9. says

    Oh, gosh, now you’re destroying all the things that I use to help me get through the day with a toddler! I’ve figured out by now that the “it gets easier” thing is crap. (It doesn’t. Just different.) But all the rest are myths that I sort of hoped were true!

  10. says

    I LOVE Jill! I keep meaning to buy her book. I will do it tonight. She is brilliant. What a fun interview.

    • says

      She is amazing in person, warm and funny and very generous with her time and energy. Yes, buy the book right now!

  11. Deb Clem-Buckert says

    Parenting never gets easier. It just gets different. Thanks for the smile.

  12. Carpool Goddess says

    Great list! Yep, had a good laugh over the laundry one. I know of such a college student! My FIL used to say, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, bigger problems.” It doesn’t get any easier but we love them nonetheless.

    • says

      If we didn’t love them so much, we would all be bald from pulling our hair out. The phrase from your FIL was one of my dad’s favorites, too. Very true!

  13. says

    It was so lovely meeting you!! And this post? Perfect. And kind of frightening, even for me. :)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    • says

      JIll, meeting you was wonderful and I truly enjoyed MCN. Yes, the teen years are terrifying but amazing and we have lived through them (youngest for both Lisa and me are 17, oldest in college.) Trust us, you will have lots of fantastic material for years to come!

  14. says

    Wow! The coming attractions! I’m gonna hold on! Bumpy ride ahead. Thanks for these insights! Loved them.

    • says

      Yes, “coming attractions” is one way to think about the teen years ahead for you. It’s a bit scary but amazing. Thanks!

  15. Kerrie @ Family Food and Travel says

    Great points!
    I have twin 3year olds and I certainly wouldn’t ever say motherhood is easy. But I also work with teenagers and I see the struggles their parents go through. I love the quote that says being a mother means you are allowing your heart to live outside your body. So true!

  16. says

    I don’t have teenagers yet, but mine are all out of babyhood (just need to conquer potty-training one last time with the 2-year-old). Still, I’m already recognizing motherhood/parenthood is not going to be easier in the years ahead. In fact, I think it will be harder. With technology, a crazy culture, driving, college prep … God help me. Thankful I have a great partner to endure the ride, and hopeful will survive the many “ups and downs.” Stopping by from SITS!

    • says

      Thanks so much for your thoughts and good luck with the potting training…always a bit bittersweet the last time we do something as a parent!

  17. says

    I don’t have teens, but I will and boys at that! SO much fun ahead! :) Visiting from Sharefest!

  18. says

    Oh my. Mothering never ends. It just changes form. And then, eventually, they become the mother to you. You might hate it but if you live long enough it will happen.

  19. says

    Amen. This is brilliant. I have a boy and a girl and I have no delusions that either one will be easy! They’re both really still babies so I can’t make any calls yet. I do know that my sister is 30 something and still does her laundry at my parent’s house.

  20. says

    Thanks, I needed this tonight because I’ve been vacillating between wanting to shove both girls either back in the womb or out the door. Neither sounds really appealing. Instead, I’ll just breathe deep and remember I’m normal, and so are my girls. 😉

    • says

      We should remember all that deep breathing they teach us for labor because we need it again in the teen years. We are right there with you!

  21. Kristen Daukas says

    ERMAGAWD!! Kindred spirits!! Granted, I’m just beginning my teen career but with 3 girls 14, 11 & 9, I’ll be up to speed in no time flat. Yeah, right. I love hearing you say #7.. I’ve often said “I know how to raise an 11 year old and a 9 year old but I don’t know Jack about raising a 14 year old”. Stopping by from SITS but I WILL be back!

  22. Crystal says

    So very true – every bit! As the mom of a 22, 20, 13 and 16-month-old, mothering never gets easier. When they are older, the problems become more challenging and complex. :)

    • says

      Oh my goodness! You are someone who will really be able to use your hard won knowledge. I keep thinking that this would be a good moment for me to have a 10 year old, because I think I finally have the pre-teen thing sorted, but it took me three trips through. So so happy that you jumped in here.

  23. says

    Right on, great list. Re: #9, just yesterday I said that I don’t accept that my daughter and I will be mortal enemies when she hits the teen years. Sure there will be growing pains, but I’m not going into it expecting that my house has to turn into a war zone. I guess time will tell. As for #1, I agree kids don’t have to be totally independent when they leave for college, but they better not bring this mama any laundry.

  24. says

    Naaanaaaanaaa – I can’t hear you! Actually as the mother of a 3 and 5 year old I realize deep down where I refuse to admit it out loud that right now is the easiest time. They’re sleeping like champions thankyouverymuch and are relatively easy going. But they still adore us, think my jokes are actually funny, and aren’t ashamed to spend the entire weekend having family time. With my mystical powers I can see a not too distant future where one or all of those things will no longer be true and I’ll look back on these halcyon days of yore.

    • says

      You made us laugh. I wouldn’t want to hear us either, enjoy these wonderful years. I think parenting is like a horse shoe. Babies are hard, teens are hard, the stuff in the middle is easier. Enjoy the middle!

  25. says

    I love this post. One of my aha moments was after reading #7. I’ve only been a parent a little over 7 years now, and while I’m encouraged at how much better I’m able to manage this little person, I don’t always feel confident. And some of the tips I used when she was 4/5 is not working at 7…so, I’m finding new ways to parent during those meltdowns…LOL! Great post!

    Follow: @DanielleASB

    • says

      Thanks Danielle, it is a bit of a journey in the dark, with other parents lending us their flashlights!

  26. says

    I am so new to this blog world and I’ve been hunting for some blogs that get me and my life. This is it. I can really relate!


  27. Clearly Kristal says

    Great post! I have to admit, though, I am now frightened as the mother of four and eight-year-old girls. Perhaps a follow up “you’ve got this” post would be appropriate? I now CLEARLY understand WHY my mother (of five children) had a bottle of valium in our kitchen cabinet and a curious “odor” would inhabit our home on occasion. And, why she so gracefully offered up my grandfather’s open apartment to my best friend and I to live in during our freshman year of college. Makes perfect sense now!

  28. says

    Brilliant! I love this post…probably because I am so at this stage! (No college students but two teens and a tween) I particularly like #7 – give me a toddler and I can handle it but I have no clue on the stage they’re at now. And girls confuse the heck out of me…one minute perfectly fine, the next “losing it” – it’s like warm to scalding hot with no warning at all!

  29. Angela says

    As the mom of a 9 year old boy and a 14 year old girl I can wholeheartedly AGREE with everything in this list! It most certainly does not get easier, and neither a boy or a girl is “easier” than the other. It’s always hard. Every second of every day. :)


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