Realtors cannot (should not) advise you whether a short sale is in your best interest. You have many choices and should go over them with tax and legal professionals.
One thing to consider before trying a short sale or attempting a loan modification, though, is the veracity of your original loan application. Some home buyers here in Silicon Valley submitted loan apps that were for “no doc” loans or “stated income” loans. If what you stated then does not line up with what you submit now, you could find yourself in a load of hot water.
Unhappy lenders are using short sale and loan modification applications as a reason to audit your original loan application. If you fudged or misrepresented anything back when you applied for financing, you may find yourself the unhappy recipient of a loan fraud lawsuit now.
Your mother was right: honesty is the best policy. If your loan papers were truthful, you should have nothing to fear by an audit. If you think they fall short, be sure to weigh that in when you factor what is your best course of action now.