Attention, moms!

We know you get tired, stressed and annoyed. And though you might not admit it, you’ve had mommy slip-ups that made you look around in a panic, hoping nobody saw. And the not-so-nice thoughts? We know about those, too.

Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile say: Let it out. The northern California-based authors of “Dirty Little Secrets from Otherwise Perfect Moms” know the crucible themselves, with five kids aged 4 to 8 between them.

The 39-year-old mothers – who offer parenting tips at www.goodnites.com – asked fellow moms about their parenting odysseys. The confessions spanned light to heavy:

– I signed my son up for karate because the instructor is hot.

– I get annoyed at my kids for picking their noses. But I do it, too.

– My biggest fear as a mother is being judged by other moms.

We asked Ashworth and Nobile about coming clean. They responded jointly in an interview conducted via e-mail. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What inspired this book?

A: We interviewed over 100 moms across the country for our first book, “I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids.” We uncovered that we all put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect moms, and we all have certain coping mechanisms for survival.

We hope this book allows women to realize that there is no such thing as a perfect mom and offers some real relief from the overblown expectations we put on ourselves.

Q: Why do moms consider these thoughts, actions and feelings “dirty little secrets”?

A: We feel so guilty for everything we do, or don’t do, as moms. We feel if we confess things that we do or feel it may seem that we aren’t doing a good enough job. As a generation, we grew up thinking we should and could “do it all.”

We all tend to look around at other moms and think they are all doing a better job than we are, and then feel alone in motherhood. And when no one’s talking about how hard motherhood really is, we feel like our “dirty little secrets” are not widely felt.

Q: What are some of your own transgressions as moms, and how do you deal with them?

A: Feeling guilty over things we do or don’t do with our children is a daily struggle – whether it’s having a really short fuse, or not feeling like we’re spending enough quality time with our kids. There always seems to be a reason to feel like a bad mom. And part of our message to moms is that we’ve got to realign our expectations with reality and make peace with our choices, so we can at least shed some of the guilt.

Q: Should moms confess their secrets? If so, why? And to whom?

A: If we could all talk more honestly with each other, it could really change the environment and allow us all to find some relief! There are so many speed bumps in parenthood – from homework chaos to bedwetting.

Q: If mothers are afraid or ashamed to admit certain tendencies, shouldn’t they be trying to eliminate those behaviors? (The book quotes a mother who said her kids sometimes don’t brush their teeth for three straight days. Another mother said she had pinched her daughter’s arms hard enough to leave marks.)

A: These dirty little secrets stem from being overwhelmed in motherhood. If we begin to question our actions, we need to step back and look at where it is stemming from. Are you over-scheduled? Are you over-stressed? Are you not nurturing yourself and allowing some alone time? Usually these answers are yes.

Our answer is to step back and look at what is on your plate, reprioritize these things and cross some of these things off your list. That will allow some space in your life to slow it all down and make more conscious choices even while in the moment of craziness.

We all love our kids, but the motherhood part can be challenging at times.


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