Introducing Scary Mommy Nation

Scary Mommy strives to find humor and humility in all things motherhood, but some things just aren’t funny. Not being able to feed your children, for example. There is nothing lighthearted or funny about that.

You may remember my Thanksgiving food drive. What stemmed from several anonymous confessions about not being able to prepare family dinners, grew into an effort which provided over 400 families with dinners they otherwise would have gone without. 698 donors raised over $20,000 in a week. The results were mind-blowing, and suddenly, I was addicted. I knew that this thing had to become more than just a one time effort…


I’m proud to finally introduce the non-profit wing of Scary Mommy, Scary Mommy Nation. Scary Mommy Nation will strive to assist moms during the two times of the year when feeding their families may be the most stressful: Thanksgiving, a family holiday revolving solely around food, and summer break, the time when most school lunch programs are put on hold and parents are faced with three months of stress and concern.

Please take a minute to read the following post, written by one of the donors at Thanksgiving…

A Life Changer, by Rachel Macy Stafford

I will always remember reading the first email message from the woman who received my gift card through Scary Mommy’s Thanksgiving meal donation blog post.

This woman, who knew nothing about me but my name, referred to me in the message as her “Thanksgiving angel.” And below that ultimate compliment, she shared one detail of herself – the names of her five children.

I studied each beautiful name as warm tears dripped down my face. At that moment I knew this was real. And it was going to be a life changer.

This is our story …

That initial email from Sarah was the start of many correspondences. Like old friends who were catching up on lost time, we quickly began exchanging information about where we reside, our children, and our pastimes.

As a writer, I was immediately struck by Sarah’s beautiful way with words – openness, authenticity, and acceptance were etched throughout her messages. I felt as if I could sit with her over coffee and share my deepest insecurities knowing kind, understanding eyes would lovingly stare back at me.

As days passed, the email messages grew longer and longer, and in each one she shared details of how her life had taken a difficult turn since her husband’s unexpected unemployment.

Upon receiving the sixth email message, it dawned on me that our correspondences were therapeutic for her. Emotions flowed freely in the updates, allowing her to sort through the difficult choices and sacrifices she and her husband were forced to make on a daily basis.

Sarah wrote, “I’m just marveling/basking in this and how very much I appreciate not only the opportunity to provide meals for the kids, but to have ‘met’ you. I’ve been able to experience some emotions and tap into places in my heart that my head tried to seal closed while we attempt to weather the remainder of our journey as an unemployed family.”

I looked forward to Sarah’s messages and the bond forming between us strengthened. Although her notes included heart-breaking details like having to sell their family sedan to not having money to buy the children birthday gifts, there was always humor, hope, and light. There was always this indescribable light — Sarah’s light. In the midst of so much pain and despair, there was always light.

A few weeks after sending Sarah the gift card, I was out to dinner with friends and out of the blue, one of them asked if I knew any families she could help out during the holidays.

I could only nod my head yes, for words failed me. After collecting myself, I told them of five children who would love to know Santa Claus still comes even when their family finds themselves struggling to simply make it through each day.

By the end of the dinner, everyone at the table was prepared to help Sarah’s family by showering them with presents and gift cards for food.

That same pattern of generosity continued for the next several months. Unexpectedly, readers of my “Hands Free Mama” blog contacted me and asked if I knew any families who needed help.

I always used the very same email message Scary Mommy sent me that fateful November day when I was given Sarah’s address. When I hit ‘forward’ and sent her address to those who wanted to help, it felt like hope was growing, as if the momentum of the world was changing,

Providentially, the unexpected gifts from strangers arrived at the precise moment they were needed – when Sarah received her Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, when her husband needed emergency oral surgery, and the day after her daughter’s terrifying skiing accident.

With money sent to her from one of the unexpected angels, Sarah was able to buy a plane ticket home to see her ailing mother and beloved sisters.

This meant Sarah was one state away from me. She was so determined to see me that she posted a message on her Facebook wall asking if anyone wanted to take a road trip. Another angel, a friend from her middle school days, drove Sarah and her baby six hours round trip to see me.

After hugging like sisters who had been separated at birth, we sat down on the floor and watched her youngest child walk from toy to toy as my daughters entertained.

He was more than beautiful and content … he had this aura about him. Oh yes, Sarah’s light … he had his mother’s light. From the looks of his radiant face, you wouldn’t know the tragedy and the suffering his family had recently endured.

I thought back down the line to every person who had protected Sarah’s light, beginning with Jill and ending with an angel in Georgia who is currently helping Sarah’s husband find a job.

By reaching out with love and hope, each person had cupped their hands around Sarah’s light so that it would not be extinguished. Although there were times when it flickered and dimmed, it could not be snuffed out. Time and time again, the light was protected so it could maintain its brilliance and be passed on to the small bearers of light in her life.

Scary Mommy has become so much bigger than just a blog; it’s a community, a support system and a lifeline. It’s moms supporting moms, however we can. While it’s impossible to change the life of every Scary Mommy out there, my hope is to add some light back into the lives of mothers who need it most.

And, together? I think we can do big things.

Stay tuned.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Danielle 3 years ago

How amazing- thank you so much for doing all that you do.

Jessica 4 years ago

Love this. Love, love, love this. I was so honored to be a part of your efforts last time and can’t wait to do it again and again.

Lollie – The Fortuitous Housewife 4 years ago

Another wonderful idea to connect & share! Kudos!

I was honored to be a part of the Thanksgiving giving & I’ll be looking forward to being a part of the Scary Mommy Nation.

P.S. I’d be proud to post a “Proud member of the Scary Mommy Nation” badge on my site. Just a thought.

Heather 4 years ago

Thank you for doing this. This is inspiring.

Deborah 4 years ago

This was an awesome message to read. A few years ago, my partner and I had separated right before the holidays and I didn’t know how I was going to feed our four children. I knew my relatives would come through with Christmas gifts. But reading this recalled the shame I felt as I called my mother, admitted what was going on, and asked if she couldn’t send me a gift card so I could feed the kids over Christmas break and so they could have Christmas dinner. I was so scared, and the relief I felt, the burden that was lifted, when I could sit down with the kids and ask them what they wanted for Dinner was so overwhelming, I just sat there hugging them with tears dripping down my face. I never, ever want another parent to feel that way. But I know that every day there are children eating just plain crap for food, because it’s all that they can afford. Not kids in Hati, not kids in Africa, kids right down the road from me. Kids across the street from me.

Miss Kathleen 4 years ago

Do you have a paypal account or something for this?

The Mommy Psychologist 4 years ago

Beautiful post! We can and will make a difference in this world.

Brittany {Mommy Words} 4 years ago

Again I am so proud of you Jill, and of the community you have built. It is amazing what we can do to help other parents and I will be here no matter what you ask. This is an awesome step!

Headacheslayer 4 years ago

Wow….this is one of the most inspiring things I’ve read in awhile. It restores my faith in the world.

I am excited to hear more…..Ahhh if only Scary Mommys ran the world….what a lovely place it would be.

Jill, YOU are an inspiration. xoxo

Jennifer 4 years ago

The more I think about this, I believe a small part of my faith in humanity has been restored. Good work, Scary Mommy!

Kristin 4 years ago

I’m so glad you’re taking this on. Good things go around much more quickly than bad; they just don’t get as much attention.

Nina 4 years ago

Incredible, Jill! Seriously amazing!

Kelley 4 years ago

Isn’t amazing what women can do when we put our heads and hearts together!!

Holly 4 years ago

Hey this is fantastic!

Cassie 4 years ago

I’m so proud to be a scary mommy right now! Please do keep us posted, I would love to help in any way that I can!

Susan 4 years ago

I have tears streaming down my face right now. What an awesome story! I’m so happy that you’ve chosen to use your popularity for the forces of good. I’ve worked with moms my entire professional life who have struggled with many issues, including basic care needs, and there is nothing more powerful than another woman willing to connect with them and help them heal.

Rachael 4 years ago

This is the biggest reason that I love the internet.

Jennifer 4 years ago

I am speechless. And can’t wait to help.

Marta 4 years ago

Not only do I have tears streaming down my face, but goosebumps. This is beyond amazing. The things we can do. Together. Helping each other. I cannot wait.

Gigi 4 years ago

Am in tears over here. My husband is currently unemployed – and though we aren’t in need we don’t have the funds to help. Yet. But as soon as we do, I promise you this mom will help you help other moms. Bless you for all you’ve done and continue to do. You are a true inspiration.

Amy @mommetime 4 years ago

This is so incredibly remarkable!! What a fabulous idea to include summer break… it never occurred to me that that time of year might be so stressful for others.


Denise 4 years ago

Such a wonderful thing! Definitely love being part

Galit Breen 4 years ago

I could not be more proud to be Scary right now.

(Go you!)


Alison 4 years ago

This is the best. Scary Mommy will take over the world!!

Phase Three of Life 4 years ago

Yay! I’ve been hoping you would do something like this. I was honored to be part of the Thanksgiving drive and have been looking forward to more opportunities to help. The story about Sarah lodged a lump in my throat. At any moment, hard times could fall on any of us. Knowing that there is a community of moms out there looking out for each other makes that idea a little less scary.

    Sarah 4 years ago

    I can now read this without weeping openly myself! I have been so blessed by being matched up with Rachel through Jill’s handiwork. I can now read this and smile knowing that our story will show how we can band together.

    Rachel wrote a beautiful post on her blog regarding Thanksgiving titled Love without Question. I strongly encourage you to read it and like her page for more updates and encouragement :o)

      Phase Three of Life 4 years ago

      I certainly will! I hope this project connects more mamas like it did for you and Rachel.

Liz 4 years ago

You go, Jill!!!!!

Marinka 4 years ago

This is so fantastic, Jill. xo

Mikki 4 years ago

This is absolutely amazing!!! I can’t wait to hear more!!

Rae 4 years ago

Oh my goodness, I just weeped like a baby. I am so proud to be a part of this community. I can’t believe that the kindness of strangers is out there to this level of beauty. Wow.

Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac 4 years ago

You are an inspiration, Jill!
First Scary Mommy Nation then Scary Mommy World!

Jennifer 4 years ago

I love this to the moon and back.

Lady Estrogen 4 years ago

Wow. So amazing – such a wonderful thing that it’s become such a huge and positive community! xx

By Word of Mouth Musings 4 years ago

Blogging for good.
Making a difference.
Bringing about change.

It is what we need to do – awesome!

KeAnne 4 years ago

This is going to be great! I was able to participate at Thanksgiving, and it felt good knowing I was helping someone. Count me in.

Alex 4 years ago

Amazing!!!!!! So excited!

Kir 4 years ago

you make me proud to be a mom, I can’t ever say enough GOOD things about the WONDERFUL THINGS you do.

Shirley@motivatedmommyoftwo 4 years ago

This is wonderful, I cannot wait to see how I can help. This is something that I would love to be part of. I am always thankful every day that we are able to provide for our family and have food in our table. I am so glad I am a follower of your site and that we mommies can come together and support the ones in need.
Thank you

Sarah Anderson 4 years ago

I am beyond excited to see how the beautiful post Rachel has written will inspire others to help Mom’s like me!!

Hands Free Mama 4 years ago

I am so honored to have my writing featured here today on the launch of “Scary Mommy Nation!” Because of you, more amazing women like Sarah will be able to find the support they need to keep their beautiful inner lights shining!

Thank you, Jill, for allowing us moms to be real by asking for help when needed and loving each other through the storms.

Michelle 4 years ago

Such a moving post. I am tearing up as I write this. Helps remind me that I am so blessed. So glad Jill started this “Scary Mommy Nation”. Count me in!

Corey Feldman 4 years ago

Beautiful way to help people.

Jen 4 years ago

So proud to be a part of this site!!

Hatton 4 years ago

Wow. This is wonderful!

Tina S 4 years ago

I’ve been reading for a while and never post but I would love to be a part of Scary Mommy Nation. My side job is with a company that tries to educate and empower women on a personal side and this is something I would love be a part of for the family side. :)

lesbomom 4 years ago

I cried. Whoa, I cried. What an amazing letter from Rachel. I am excited to see what comes of the Scary Mommy nation.

    Sarah 4 years ago

    I have a mom friend here in Michigan who is struggling because she and her partner need help with home weatherization and because they will not list the name of the donor father, the State will not help them. Maybe you have thoughts?

Soni 4 years ago

Fan-frickin-tastic. Can’t wait to participate.

Jen 4 years ago

This is amazing! What a wonderful thing to start. I can’t wait to see how I can help.

Jennifer Rath 4 years ago

Whoa. Awesome!

Erin I’m Gonna Kill Him 4 years ago

How good of you to be thinking of others when there are so many reasons to just be thinking of you right now….

Alexandra 4 years ago


Being the change we want to see.

We have to start a revolution.


liz 4 years ago

I got chills as I read this. You are completely fabulous, Jill! Inside and out!

Amanda 4 years ago

Amazing!! Can’t wait to hear more!

Colleen 4 years ago

Wonderful – I can’t wait to help out in any way I can!!

Carolyn West 4 years ago

Sign me up! I was so glad I could be part of the Thanksgiving Drive and definitely want to do more.

Kelly 4 years ago

This is so incredibly awesome! Can’t wait to hear more & help again & again! :)

Shell 4 years ago

Oh, Jill. This is wonderful.

Rebeccah 4 years ago

YES YES YES! Woooohhoooo!!!!! Scary Mommy Nation is on the move!

Carolyn 4 years ago

This is something I want to be a part of.

Sandra Foyt 4 years ago

Truly moving example of the power we each carry within to make this world a better place. Thank you for shining this light!

Nikki 4 years ago

Scary Mommy Nation is going to do AMAZING things!! So excited about this!

Anne 4 years ago

And, I fell in love with you. Again. :)

Stephanie 4 years ago

Yippee!! This is PERFECT! I am volunteering to do anything you need. At all. Seriously.

Mayor Gia 4 years ago

Oh, that’s awesome!

Alexis 4 years ago

Count me in! Scary Mommy Nation is a fabulous idea. You’re awesome! Can’t wait to see you! xoxo, Alexis

Carrie 4 years ago

Jill, you’re a godsend to so many in so many different ways.

The world is a better place because of you.

And it could certainly stand to have tons more like you. You make us all wanna be better and do better.

Thank you.

Alison@Mama Wants This 4 years ago

I love this, Jill. You are an example of what a difference ONE person can do. This beautiful domino effect, as evident from Rachel’s post, has just cemented for me the power of women in blogging. The generosity and kindness of people is just astounding.

So much good. LOVE.

    Sarah 4 years ago

    Allison, yes! The beautiful domino effect is amazing. My life has been changed and I can’t wait to see the same for more moms just like me.

Arnebya 4 years ago

I’m w/Debbie: awesome! But I’ll add a holy shit with a really big smile. Admittedly, I wasn’t in a position to help last Thanksgiving. Truth be told (aw shit I must be PMSing b/c here comes the secret) we made it through on a grocery store gift card from my father last year. He thought he was just helping out since we were expecting so many people. He had no idea that he was feeding the five of US before, during, and after Thanksgiving. I know how it feels to wonder if what’s in the fridge will last until the next paycheck. It’s hard to admit. This year is slightly better; I would never have complained last year and I’m not now. I’m just glad it’s not as bad. I can’t wait to join the Nation and help in any way I can. Because yes, it’s a community. And damn if we don’t need it.

Debbie 4 years ago


thats all i can say!


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