Most, if not all, parents have secrets they wouldn’t tell their closest friend or partner.

But plenty are sharing them, anonymously, in a very public and very popular forum.

Secrets like:

“I joined a gym just for the free daycare. I drop the kids off and read magazines and blogs in the locker room.”

“Childbirth is the single most disgusting experience I’ve ever had in my life.”

Confessions of Scary Mommy (Gallery Books)

Sound familiar?

Those are some of the confessions collected by Baltimore mother Jill Smokler who goes by the name Scary Mommy. Her blog — which includes a forum for trading parenting confessions — is one of the most popular in the country.

“When I started my blog, I felt like I was the only parent in the world who was banging my head against the wall and not enjoying every minute of each and every day,” she told me just before arriving in the region to promote her new book .

Her honesty-baring approach drew an audience, and eventually, created a community of parents (her site now draws more than a million visitors per month) who trade their own not-for-the-Christmas-letter realities.

In the just-released “Confessions of a Scary Mommy,” (Gallery Books), Smokler prints dozens of those confessions and several self-deprecating personal essays.

She will be reading and discussing the book at the Bethesda Barnes & Noble tonight at 7 pm and Wednesday at 7:30 pm at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville.

Reading other parents’ secrets has a special allure. Most of them can make a parent feel superior (i.e. “I would never do that, encourage that or use breast-milk for that”) ... until one (or two or eight) hit home.

Smokler said she reviewed her countless submissions and choose those she thought the most funny and the most relatable. She also chose confessions that support her larger point:

“As mothers, we place enormous pressure on ourselves to come across as loving and maternal and competent, but we can’t always be that way. We have to cut ourselves some slack and recognize that just because we want to hide in the bathroom and scream once in a while, we aren’t bad mothers. We’re human.

“I’m so grateful to now be connected with women who aren’t afraid to admit this -- parenting is the most wonderful experience in the world, but it’s also tough! I think the world would be a better place if we stopped pretending this is all a piece of cake. It’s not,” she said.

Do you agree? Is parenting harder than many of us let on? If so, what’s your “confession”?

Related Content:

‘Mommy’ blogs: What are they, and how much do they matter?

The Bloggess’ confession about self-harm sparks a flood of positive reader reaction