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'Sh*tty Mom' authors: Embrace the less-perfect side of parenting

Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner are authors of new book "Sh*tty Mom," which tells parents to embrace the fact that they are always perfect.

If you’ve having a bad Mom day, yelling at your kids because you’re in a foul mood or ducking out during homework time because you’d rather play on your smartphone than tackle sixth grade math all over again, take heart: There are four women out there who know you’re not perfect, and they’re here to give you a break.

Two of the four mothers who wrote the new book, “Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us,” sat down with TODAY’s fourth-hour hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday to discuss their latest parenting project.

Their humorous book features chapters like "How to sleep until 9 a.m. every weekend,” “You’re not paranoid, everyone does hate your baby” and how to keep your carpool going despite a messy ride, and offers advice to help us stay sane in today’s competitive child-rearing times.

“We’re trying to release some pressure and some strain and all the guilt that’s related to Mom, and the fact that we all have to be perfect about it,” said co-author and TODAY producer Alicia Ybarbo.


The book is the second from Ybaro and fellow TODAY producer Mary Ann Zoellner. Their first, “Today’s Moms,” is a resource to help mothers survive their baby’s first year. “Sh*tty Mom” came after the authors learned that their readers still had questions.

“We just started hearing from so many moms and everybody was confused about, ‘Should I do attachment parenting? Should I be a tiger mom? Should I do this? Should I do that?’” Zoellner said on TODAY.

“We’re just like relax, chill out and embrace those less than perfect parenting moments,” she said. “Or as we like to call those, sh*tty moments.”

The book has a chapter that may be especially helpful over the next few months as cold and flu season arrives: “How to drop off your sick kid at daycare before the teacher figured it out.”


“Everyone admits to that,” Ybarbo said. “Everyone absolutely does.”

In fact, 57 percent surveyed on Today Moms said yes, they would drop their sick child off at school or day care, while 43 percent said they wouldn’t.

“It’s hard being a mom,” Zoellner says. “You gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it.”

But Kathie Lee noted that it’s hard too, for day care workers to deal with sick kids amid their midst. Fear not: Zoellner says the book has advice on when you REALLY need to panic and how many phone calls you need to get before it’s time to go pick up your child.

Among the praise for the book is a blog post from Audrey McClelland, who ended her review on momgenerations with a hat tip to the authors, “because you know, there is a sh*tty mom in all of us, they just make you feel normal about it!”

“That’s all we’re trying to do,” Ybarbo said.

Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles writer in New York who has two children who KNOW she's not perfect.

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