Home > Bad Moms : The Novel

Bad Moms : The Novel
Author: Nora McInerny

Part I





Welcome to Hell

To: McKinley Mom Squad

From: Gwendolyn James

CC: Principal Burr; McKinley Staff

BCC: Gwendolyn James

Subject: MCKINLEY MOM SQUAD 2019!!!

Hello Mamas,

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the leader of the McKinley Mom Squad, more commonly known as the PTA. I’m a mompreneur who runs the lifestyle blog that Reese Witherspoon called a “must read” (link here). I’m passionate about empowering all moms to step into the fullness of the motherhood journey. My girls, Blair and Gandhi, are proud McKinley Mustangs, and I’ve loved every minute of our time at this award-winning institution of learning.

I hope you’re all having a restful summer. You know the girls and I have been squeezing every drop of joy out of these past two months (if you’ve missed any of my daily posts, you can click here to sign up for my weekly newsletter, and here to follow me on Instagram). But no matter how many puppies we save from being put down, or visits we make to the homebound elderly, there is nothing that makes us happier than knowing the first day of school is just around the corner! In fact, it’s just 33 days away (click here to download my back-to-school checklist and get 10% off your next order from Amazon!).

Attached please find the McKinley Mom Squad Contract. It’s not just for new moms—we’ve had some significant changes to our programming since our last meeting, which were outlined in our weekly podcast, on our website, and in our email newsletter.

Our 100% involvement rate doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because all McKinley Moms take the below contract seriously. Please note that this is not a legally binding document, but that signing it binds you to something greater: the sisterhood of mothers in your community, who are raising their children alongside yours. Please make sure you sign and return this to me within 24 hours or you will be placed on immediate probation.

Looking forward to getting to know all of you this coming school year.

In Love and Style,

Gwendolyn James

AKA @GwendolynJamesStyle

McKinley Mom Squad Contract

I, __________________________, being of sound mind and hot body, hereby dedicate myself to the betterment of McKinley School, and to the achievement of my child.

By signing this document, I agree to the following:

To attend all PTA meetings within this school year. This includes our regularly scheduled bi-monthly (that means twice a month, not every other month) meetings, any and all emergency meetings, additional committee meetings for events I have committed to, and any other meeting that should arise at the behest of our leader.

To serve on a minimum of two (2) committees for this school year, knowing that two is the absolute minimum, and I’ll likely have so much fun I’ll want to do even more.

To ensure that any and all food I provide for the children of McKinley follow our dietary guidelines (link here).

To ensure that any and all items I bring into our school are free of BPA, phthalates, parabens, GMOs, plastic of any kind, latex, soy, corn, or any corn by-products.

To do my best to put forth an attitude of gratitude, and to be the change I wish to see in McKinley.



Print and Sign Name/Date



Part II






6:00–7:00: Gym

7:00–7:30: Wake up kids, shower, start breakfast

7:30–8:00: Feed kids, walk dog, get dressed

8:00: Wake up Mike

8:00–8:30: Morning Huddle: Call In

8:15–8:30: School drop-off

8:30–9:30: Weekly Team Meeting

9:30–10:30: Sales meeting

10:30–11:30: Marketing status meeting

11:30–12:30: Performance Review, Tessa

12:30–1:30: Lunch

12:30–1:30: Meeting with Dale

12:30–1:30: Product tasting


3:00–4:00: Proposed: Meeting with Dale

3:30–4:00: School pickup

4:00–5:00: Proposed: Supply Chain Update

5:30–6:00: DINNER!!

6:00–7:00: Email catch-up

6:00–7:00: Proposed: West Coast Sales Update


Remember when you were a kid, and summer seemed like it was full of wonder and possibility? The days would be hot enough to go swimming and drink lemonade and the nights cool enough for roasting marshmallows and catching fireflies. Perfectly sliced watermelon would appear before you even knew you were hungry, and you’d be carted to and from enough camps and sporting events to keep you from ever feeling bored. At night, you’d tumble into bed perfectly satisfied and exhausted, into a deep and dream-filled sleep. In the morning, you’d leap from bed, fully rested and ready for a new day filled with new adventures.

Well, behind all that joy and wonder was probably a mother wondering how the hell she was going to manage to keep you entertained and alive for three months. A mother counting down the days until the first day of school. A mother like me.

Summer is freedom for children, and a prison sentence for mothers. At least during the school year, you can count on your kids being in one place for eight hours. Summer requires us to fill sixty to eighty days with a variety of activities that are somehow all scheduled to be as inconvenient as possible for anyone who may have a job outside of chauffeuring their children around. Every year since Dylan was born, I’ve sworn that this summer I would take it slow. This summer I would enjoy my life and my kids. Have you seen that meme about only having eighteen summers with our children? Just eighteen summers before they grow up and leave forever, to repeat the cycle of wasted summers with children of their own? Well, I’ve wasted twelve of my eighteen summers with Dylan so far. I wasted them working to support our family and driving the kids from activity to activity in a minivan whose interior is coated in a fine dust of Cheerio residue and melted ice cream. That meme can go to hell and take all the mom guilt with it.

Every New Year’s Eve, I’d take the time to envision the three of us enjoying picnic lunches and riding roller coasters and taking our dog, Roscoe, on long, leisurely walks every afternoon. I’d resolve to only work part-time, and not “part-time plus constantly being available on my phone at all hours of the night for my incompetent boss and his team of adult infants.” I’d see myself making intricate salads with the mysterious vegetables in the CSA box I pick up every Friday at the school parking lot. That’s how specific my vision was: that I’d actually know how to use a kohlrabi, and the kids would like it.

But, like the twelve summers before it, this was not the summer for enjoying myself. But you’d never know it looking at our end-of-summer assignments. By our assignments, I mean Dylan’s and Jane’s projects, which of course I helped with. I may have failed at summer, but my kids are going to start the school year with an A+ on their summer reports. I haven’t spent ten years working in sales and marketing to let my kids turn in some handwritten essay on dirty loose-leaf paper. Instead, I tapped the interns at work to help me create two beautifully crafted, cinematic recap videos, which are already up on YouTube and ready to show off to the class. Tonight, we’d watched them as a family after dinner, gathered around Mike’s phone while our summer slid by our eyes, set to music that sounded enough like Top-40 pop to be enjoyable, but not enough like any specific artist to be flagged by YouTube. See? I’m a pro.

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