You’re a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either)

by Jen Singer

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PHOTO CREDIT: Kristen Totaro/ SnapTwoIt Photography


“It’s like a postnatal vitamin for any mom who is coming close to losing her identity in a vacuum of play dates, school functions and community sports.”
The Olympian.

“The best baby shower gift since valium.”
— Author Joni Rodgers on Boxing the Octopus



Read an excerpt from “You’re a Good Mom” at


Read “Less is More” from “You’re a Good Mom” at





For 21st century mothers, there seem to be just two choices: live up to the Super Mom or give up to be the Slacker Mom. One’s bad for you; one’s bad for your kids.
So what’s a momma to do?

In You’re a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either): The 14 Secrets to Finding Happiness Between Super Mom and Slacker Mom”, the Internet’s favorite momma,
Jen Singer, tells all. Turns out you can raise perfectly good kids in that sweet spot between flash cards at breakfast and “donuts for dinner, kids!”
You’ll find great tips like these:

  • Don’t answer the phone when the class mom calls.
  • Your kid’s birthday party isn’t your coming-out celebration.
  • Don’t treat fine restaurants like a McDonald’s PlayPlace.
  • You think you’re a “cool mom,” but they think you’re a pushover.

Filled with “that happened to me, too!” stories, YOU’RE A GOOD MOM offers giggles and a pat on the back for today’s moms, whether they’re deep in diapers or petrified by puberty.


“Jen Singer’s hilarious, there’s no doubt about it. Yet it’s also refreshing to be reminded how great regular moms are. You’ll nod and laugh all the way through.”
— Sarah Smith, senior editor, Parenting

“As good as chocolate in book form! If this sanity-promising title caught your eye, you won’t be disappointed: you’ll find the exact same good-humored, feel-better wisdom on every page.”
-Paula Spencer, author of Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting and Woman’s Day “Momfidence” columnist

“Wow, what an easy, fun, enjoyable read! Jen’s book provides welcome and sound advice to moms who just can’t seem to stop the madness of trying to be perfect parents.”
- Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime is the New Happy Hour

“Once again, Jen Singer gives moms a reality check — and an all-knowing giggle. Her writing is truly laugh-out-loud funny! But it’s also practical, with advice you can immediately act on. A welcome relief from other parenting books, especially since she admits that parenting isn’t one-size-fits-all.”
- Nicole Stagg, Director,

“If you’re a mom, you need this laugh out loud look at motherhood. Jen Singer makes the ultimate sense and helps you find that elusive, happy medium in which children and moms thrive.”
- Susan Newman, Ph.D., author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day

Jen Singer is the creator of, a Forbes Best of the Web community for moms. She writes the Good Grief! blog about parenting tweens for She lives in New Jersey with her sons, her husband, and what appears to be a bucket of worms.


I had four chapters of this book left to write when I found out I had cancer. One day I was finishing up my manuscript while juggling the final weeks of the school year, and the next, I was enduring a painful bone marrow biopsy to determine if cancer had spread throughout my body. Soon, I’d learn the lessons of my own book the hard way: I had to completely let go without going too far. My health – and my kids – were counting on it.

After my doctor diagnosed my non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, my publisher gave me a six-week deadline extension, and my brother gave me his laptop. Some days, I cranked out pages at a time in my hospital bed while chemotherapy drugs infused through tubes attached to my body. Other days, I could barely write a sentence before falling asleep for hours.

Yet somehow, I managed to maintain my sense of humor. In fact, even I can’t tell which chapters I wrote B.C. – before cancer – and which I wrote afterwards. Writing kept my spirits up, and, perhaps, my white blood cell counts.

But it wasn’t easy. I spent the last few weeks of my kids’ school year in the hospital. Every night, my boys played the piano for me over the phone while I fought back tears. I missed their Cub Scouts moving up ceremony, the second grade class party and the last day of school. Most of all, I missed my kids.

By the time I turned in my manuscript in August, I’d finished half of my chemotherapy treatments. The tumor in my lung, which had been the size of a softball, had shrunk to the size of a walnut. I was tired, weak and bald, but my kids didn’t care as long as I was home, which, by the way, was under construction. In fact, I edited parts of this book while sawdust fell on my head from upstairs and strange men hammered and sawed on the other side of the wall.

When a friend dropped by after our kitchen was gutted and our siding removed, she said, “If this house isn’t a metaphor for what’s going on with you, I don’t know what is.” And here I thought I looked better than that. I mean, I was bald, but the house was naked.

We were very fortunate to have so much help. Every week, my friend, Susan, organized neighbors who cooked for us. Every Sunday, my friend, Kim, sent me a calendar which listed the neighbors who’d drive my kids to swim team practice, pick them up at science camp or take them home for a playdate. Both sets of grandparents, my sister-in-law and mMy husband (a.k.a. King of the Laundry) picked up the slack. Meanwhile, I snoozed on the couch. (You know, between all that hammering and sawing.)

I could have shut my bedroom door and hidden all summer, but I didn’t because I was frightened of what might happen. I had a vision of my kids, all grown-up, remembering when their mother had cancer as “the summer I took up smoking” or “the year I took to blowing up ant holes with M-80’s,” or worse. Though I couldn’t be there for my boys the way I normally was, I knew I still had to be there, even if that simply meant playing charades and giggling for half-an-hour.

Wacky Wig ContestOther people might find solace in the likes of Maya Angelou or Hallmark. I turned to Stephen Colbert, who said, “You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time.” So, I set up a Wacky Wig Contest, designed to let friends make me look as ridiculous as possible in my time of need.

Every week, all kinds of crazy wigs appeared in our mail. The kids ran around the house in the Marge Simpson, the Achy Breaky Heart and the Heatmeiser. I modeled them and posted the photos on for voting. Together, we laughed in the face of cancer. And you know what? The kids turned out okay.

I’ve finished my chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and my hair has grown back enough that I look like I’m either a marine home from Iraq or a back-up singer for Annie Lenox. Shortly after New Year’s Day, my oncologist called me with spectacular news: I am in remission. What’s more, our construction is done, and the house looks beautiful. It seems I’ve made it through the hardest part. At least, I sure hope so.

I learned a lot of things because of cancer. I learned a lot while writing this book. Most of all, I learned that I am a good mom – and that my kids aren’t so bad, either.

Jen Singer
April 2008

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