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Calm the H*ck Down: How to Let Go and Lighten Up About Parenting

Published by Simon & Schuster

From author and speaker Melanie Dale comes a laugh-out-loud hilarious parenting book that teaches you how to dial back the stress of raising children with the simple premise that we all just need to lighten up a little bit.

Most of us thought we’d be amazing parents—and then we had kids. Now we spend what little free time we have comparing ourselves to other parents, comparing our kids to other kids, and panicking that everyone else is nailing it except us. Between constant social media postings to conflicting advice found in parenting books, we often have no choice but to freak out. But there is another way. We all just need to calm the h*ck down.

Melanie Dale—a special needs parent, adoptive parent, in vitro parent, and reluctant cheer mom—believes we are all putting too much pressure on ourselves and our kids to be perfect. Instead, she argues, we need to take a step back so we can actually enjoy this journey called parenting.

Calm the H*ck Down is filled with stories from Melanie’s own life, as well as real-life research for learning how to lighten up about every aspect of parenting—from poopy diapers and germs to family vacations and adolescent angst. She also discusses the pressure to knock it all out of the Pinterest park, the challenge of instilling some kind of faith into your kids, and worrying about their future while still trying to live in the present.

Infused with quirky humor, profound insight, and accessible advice, Calm the H*ck Down gives you the permission to finally relax and enjoy this ridiculous thing we do called parenting.


Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author and speaker

“Humor and sarcasm are two characteristics that I hold most dear in a person and Melanie Dale delivers in large quantities. She says the things that we all think but aren’t sure we should say out loud and the pay-off is a hilarious real look at motherhood.”

Candace Payne, author, teacher, podcaster

Calm the H*ck Down is such a refreshing book that gives parents permission to do just that: CALM DOWN. Not only is it a joy to read with wit and humor infused in every chapter, giving us the ‘Thank Heaven I am not the only parent who’s thought THAT!’ feeling, but, it offers tips and tricks to replace bent behaviors we often use in panic and frustration. ”

Shawn Smucker, author of The Day the Angels Fell

“I don’t like parenting books. Am I allowed to say that in an endorsement for a parenting book? But [Calm the H*ck Down] is not only hilarious. This book is practical, touching at times, and oh-so-reassuring. If there’s anything we need as parents, it’s for someone to sidle up alongside us, put their arm around our shoulder, and simply say, ‘Yeah, I feel that way, too.’ Melanie is the parenting companion we all need.”

Sarah Bragg, author and host of the podcast Surviving Sarah

“I lost track of how many times I said ‘me too’ while reading Calm The H*ck Down. This book will make you laugh while making you think but also will leave you with practical ways to lighten up about all aspects of parenting.”

Alli Worthington, author, speaker, and business coach

“Melanie Dale has a gift for bringing humor and heart to hard things, and that is on display in her approach to parenting. Calm the H*ck Down offers practical advice for parents raising kids, from babies to teens. Pick a topic you’re freaking out about and get ready to calm down, because Melanie has it covered.”

Heather Avis, author of The Lucky Few

“As the mother of three children and someone who has never read a parenting book (until now) I must say I am so glad Melanie put her thoughts, experiences, humor and heart on paper creating a book that should be in every parent’s library. You’re going to love this book.”

Osheta Moore, author of Shalom Sistas

“If you want to love being a parent, read this book. Melanie’s love for her family shines through every chapter. If you want to feel less alone in all the overwhelming, anxiety producing, stressful parts of parenting, read this book. . . . Melanie Dale is the parenting expert we need now, and Calm the H*ck Down is the book I wish I had years ago when I first became a mother. I’m glad I have it now.”

Ashlee Gadd, founder of Coffee + Crumbs

“A delight for any parent who needs a good laugh, Calm the H*ck Down rivals the next comedy special in your Netflix queue. Do yourself a favor—skip the show and buy this book instead. I promise you’ll laugh just as hard and walk away with some parenting tips that are actually useful. Calm the H*ck Down is the permission slip you’ve been waiting for.”

Jamie C. Martin, author of Introverted Mom and founder of

“Calm the H*ck Down is immediately snort-out-loud funny and relax-under-a-blanket calming. In our current world of pressure, pandemics, and playdates, Melanie’s voice reminds us that this parenting gig doesn’t have to be as tough as our minds and our society make it out to be, opening the doorway for us to appreciate our here and now. So the next time our 14-year-old picks their nose, let’s roll our eyes instead of despair over their future job prospects. It’s all going to be okay!

Kelly Flanagan, clinical psychologist and author of Loveable: Embracing What Is Truest About You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your Life

“Now more than ever, parents need new ideas for restoring a sense of balance, self-acceptance, and grace to their parenting. This book is full of those ideas. More importantly, though, we need a voice to humbly and playfully embody those ideas for us. Melanie is that voice.”