A friend once told me that he wished his wife was “more of a mom like” me. My heart hurt for their broken family but, more so, for the fact that he didn’t realize the truth.
I told him that it wasn’t fair to compare the reality of their life to the social snapshot of ours. I told him that he didn’t see what happened behind closed doors in our home and that I was no saint; that no mother was perfect…
He didn’t see when the exhaustion of raising our newborn had taken over my soul and turned me into a raging psycho at mid-night feedings, throwing my arms into the mattress because I had to get up, again.
He didn’t see Kyle holding me while I cried for no reason, then me angry the very next moment, screaming and slamming the door while I left, again.
He didn’t see the hours of post-partum counselling, roller coasters of medication adjustments, and desperate threats & pleas to leave my life.
He wasn’t there when I screamed at my toddler for knocking a cup of milk over, then throwing the same cup across the kitchen.
He wasn’t there when I went out drinking, for weekends on end, to try and dull the feeling that I was failing at everything I was “supposed to be like”.
He wasn’t there when Kyle and I had to decide whether we were going to continue to fight for a marriage, that was rapidly disintegrating, or go our separate ways.
He didn’t sit through the hours of marriage counselling, endless night-long discussions, and falling asleep out of exhaustion, with no resolution of the topic.
He doesn’t have to attend sporting events for me, because I’m at home crippled with social anxiety, telling our son that mom has to work.
He hasn’t had my particular brand of emotional roller-coaster that came from years of depression, anxiety & eating disorders, and self-hate. My own husband has ridden out my highest highs, lowest lows, and the whiplash in between, for 12 years.
And in all that time, I have shared, mainly, the highlight reel with the outside world. Even many of my closest friends don’t know the deep, dark truth behind my identity as a wife, mother, and woman. I have come a LONG fucking way since that dark, depressed, self-loathing girl. I’m strong, confident, happy, and always, always striving to be a better version of myself.
Don’t think, for one second, that the mother, the woman, in your life is any less, just because she doesn’t match up to the highlight reel you see of other’s lives. We are all beautifully, and wonderfully, created, and are on the exact journey we are meant to be on.
*photo: Leigha Graf Photography