Rewarding though parenting may be, it can also be extremely difficult — especially if you have a mental illness. In a now-viral Facebook post, mom Cierra Lyn Fortner was stunningly honest about what she goes through as a mother who deals with mental illness. After an encounter with a Walmart employee who praised her for always seeming to have things together, Fortner decided to open up about her parenting while coping with depression and anxiety. At the time, she wrote, she thanked the employee and moved on, but was also inspired to share her struggles. "As I drove home there was more I wanted her to know about me," she wrote. "I want her to know I battle a personality disorder everyday with anxiety and depression mixed and I'm a two times suicide survivor."
"I want her to know that I can't always get myself up off the couch to feed them anything more than frozen pizza and cereal," she added. As Fortner explains, being a mom with mental health problems often means that her son is sometimes late for school because she regularly forgets what day it is, and she often has "I'm losing my shit" moments during which she locks herself in the bathroom and cries. "But most importantly I want her to know I don't have it together and may never have it all together," she wrote. "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." Fortner also wants other moms to know that it's okay to "have that meltdown." "From one exhausted mom to another, you're doing great, have that melt down, let your kids eat the crap out of that cereal and take care of yourself always," she wrote. Being a parent isn't always easy, and mental health issues can exacerbate those struggles — kudos to this mom for reminding us that you don't have to have it all together, and that it's important to look after yourself, too.