A US mother has taken to Facebook to share the brutal truth about parenting with depression and anxiety after she was complimented by a cashier for "having it all together".
"Today I was at Walmart doing my weekly Friday shopping," 21-year-old Cierra Lyn Fortner writes in a post to her Facebook page. "The cashier says to me "I see you in here all the time, your kids are always dressed cute, behaving and you just seem to have it all together.'"
"That's far from the truth," Ms Fortner continues, adding that while she giggled at the time and thanked the kind stranger for her words, as she drove home she realised: "there was more I wanted her to know about me."
"I want her to know I battle a personality disorder everyday with anxiety and depression mixed and I'm a two times suicide survivor," Ms Fortner shares, adding that sometimes, she can't even get off the couch to feed her kids anything more than cereal or frozen pizza.
"I want her to know that my son is late for school 3 out of 4 days because I regularly forget what day and time it is, despite the toddler size calendar in my kitchen," she continues.
The mum explained that she also has those "losing my sh*t" moments, times where she locks herself in the bathroom and cries.
And that day in Walmart - the day when she appeared to have it all sorted? Ms Fortner shared that she hadn't washed her hair in three days. And that her children hadn't bathed in two.
"I want her to know," the young mum writes, "that once we got to the parking lot the "well behaved" child decided to stand up in the cart and I wasn't paying attention and barely caught him as he almost hit the concrete."
Most importantly, however, Ms Fortner writes, "I want her to know I don't have it together and may never have it all together. I don't know a mother out there that has it all together but everything we do is done with love for our children and that right there makes you the perfect mom and in our children's eyes we most definitely have it all together."
Ms Fortner also shared a message of support "from one exhausted mum to another".
"You're doing great," she says. "Have that melt down, let your kids eat the crap out of that cereal and take care of yourself always."
Ms Fortner's words have struck a chord with people around the world - shared almost 100,000 times as of Tuesday.
I'm one of those people.
As a mum who has suffered from crippling depression, I know all too well the struggle of meeting your child's needs when your limbs feel like lead and your concentration is shot. When you want to crawl under the covers and sleep - and hide away from the constant and unrelenting demands of the little people who need us.
Thank you, Cierra, for speaking your truth. For sharing that appearances can be deceiving - and that we're all doing our best. For reminding mums - and dads - that it's OK to ask for help if you need it.
And that we need to take care of ourselves, too.