For centuries mothers have kept secrets in order to protect their children. The secrets sit like anvils on their shoulders. Other secrets are locked away to protect the mothers themselves. And some secrets are simply ways of putting a perk in a momma's day.
"I eat all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms."
"I used to dread getting gas. But now I enjoy it because I just stand there getting a couple minutes of 'me time.' Sounds pathetic, I know. I must need a vacation."
"I cry in my car. A lot."
These are the secrets of mothers shared in a new book, True Mom Confessions: Real Moms Get Real by Romi Lassally. The book is a compilation of secrets that have been posted on a Web site Lassally started a few years ago, truemomconfessions.com.
The secret that started it all was one Lassally shared with a friend the day after her 6-year-old son had awakened in the night and projectile vomited all over her, himself and the carpet. She cleaned her son and herself and went back to bed leaving the vomit on the carpet for the dog to eat.
Her friend suggested she start a Web site where moms could anonymously unburden themselves and realize that thousands of other moms aren't leading a completely blissful life, either.
"I wanted there to be a place where women could confess their fears, frailties and fantasies (or their own barf stories) without any risk of judgment or consequence," Lassally said. "Our mission is to be your anonymous best friend on those days when you're going to crack, when you need a laugh, when you're bursting at the seams with a juicy secret, or when the thing you need to say is unspeakable to even your nearest and dearest."
True Mom Confessions is both funny and touching. It's a quick read because it's largely a compilation of one-liners from the Web site, which has expanded to more categories of secrets such as single, bride, wife, military wife, office and body.
Here are some secrets I recently culled from Tampa Bay moms via clandestine chats.
• "One time my daughter threw up just as we were walking out the door to go to school and work. I had to be at a meeting and couldn't stay home with her. I didn't have time to find a sitter. I didn't even have time to wash her hair. I wiped the chunks out with a wet paper towel and asked her not to tell anyone at school about throwing up. When I got home that night parts of her hair were crunchy with dried giblets."
• "I read my daughter's diary."
• "When your kids are older they don't take naps, of course. So there are fewer opportunities for alone time as husband and wife. We send them out to pick up take-out and have just enough time for a quickie."
• "My 9-year-old daughter got mad at me, grabbed the Mother's Day poem she had done at school and ripped it into shreds right in front of me."
• "In the summer, we count swimming in a pool as a bath."
• "I sing to Hannah Montana as loud as I can when my girls aren't even in the car."
• "We took our kids to a therapist because they were fighting so much."
• "I take anti-depression medicine to get through the day."
• "My daughter's best friend has terrible (body odor)."
• "Sometimes I turn the shower on and lock the bathroom door and tell everyone I'm taking a shower and getting ready for the next 20 minutes. Then I sit in there with the shower running, then the hair dryer, and read a book."
The beauty in sharing a secret, whether online, on the phone or in person, is you find you're not the only one who has something to hide. You're not the only one who faces daily struggles with motherhood. You're not the only one with a freezer full of overly processed food. You're not the only one who cries.
Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance writer in St. Petersburg and the editor of Go Momma magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.