An acquaintance once said to me, “It’s so good to see you haven’t lost yourself in being a mom.” (Before you ask, yes, she’s not a parent and, no, I didn’t claw her eyes out.) I merely smiled, momentarily bit my tongue, and calmly replied, “I’m still me and I’m also a mom.” She tried to back pedal but I couldn’t hear her over the imaginary tableau in my mind that was noisily scratching her out of my address book. (If that doesn’t date me then surely using the cliché does.)

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Openly enjoying and being a dork for and with my kids wearing dirty socks on our heads for dog ears.

The happiest moments are the ones where we’re laughing and I’ve yet to have a moment in my life that created that feeling by painstakingly researching or recreating a Pinterest board project, a Julia Childs recipe, or exercising to exhaustion. Unless of course it was a failed attempt. Perfection is not fun, funny, or the key to happiness. Perfection is that intangible ghoul of depression that sits on your shoulder and tells you everyone thinks your a pitiful failure.

There are moments, regretfully days, where my depression returns and I can’t fight back that voice. It smothers out any sense of logic and replaces it with the critical voice of all those that have doubted and abused me in the past. It drowns out the laughter of my kids or, worse, warps my perception of their joy into a source of irritation.

I want it to stop. The world to stop. I need someone to care for me as I do for everyone else but that being doesn’t exist, can’t exist any longer, and won’t because that chance is gone and now I’m a parent. My needs have to be met by myself and I have to be that example for my children. What does that look like when you’re depressed? How do you find the exit when none is marked? How do you make yourself into the parent you want to be?

It starts with stopping. I have to will myself to remember that any comparison to others or their expectations of me are destructive. Those that love you support who you are and care for you. Love is not judging, criticizing, and tearing you down. Anyone who tells you differently wants to control you and have you seek their approval.

Having a child in preschool is a wonderful reminder of the basic tenets of love:
– Hands are for helping not hurting.
– Listen and wait your turn.
– Sharing is caring.
– It’s alright to cry.
– Friends are fair.

You are not your Pinterest board.
That Pottery Barn/Ikea/GAP ad is just that, an advertisement. Life is what you choose to view it as. Here’s hoping the view is beautiful today. It always can change, it always changes.

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