“Fake it until you make it.”

As a worn down mom, going through the motions is not a betrayal of truth, of self or of my family. Going through the motions, of serving, washing, cooking, working, reading, soothing, listening, praying, and then taking to heart the genuine feedback of my youngest daughter during the darkest of my times “you should smile more mommy”. I agreed with her and offered a faint tired smile. The practice makes perfect. I smiled through held back tears for my kids. I smiled when I was grateful, I smiled when i was tired. And it got easier. Now I laugh out loud and it’s contagious. It feels good. It heals the inner walls of my house. It changed me. It changed my narrative. It put my husband at ease. Moms, smile more. Smile as a gift to your kids. Because even when we don’t feel like smiling, we still have a million reasons to be grateful. I have struggled for a few years now with the paradox of how I felt despite the gifts of my life. Still. Gratitude precede miracles. We need the discipline of making and keeping new healthy habits. #mentalhealth

“Tell me what to do” he says as he sees my shoulders slump. I am beginning to feel beyond hopeless. Nothing changes. And we are walking a dangerous path of distancing. I don’t even know what I hope for. I take a seat on a bench in the park and I say: “I want you to smile when you look at me.” There is silence. It’s good sign. The words have space to sink in. But then he says: “I don’t feel like smiling.”  …I know friend. I know. Me neither. But you asked me what to do. And I’m telling you. I don’t feel seen, loved, pursued. I am asking you to smile at me when we make eye contact. I have no other big complex solution for our predicament. 

The crazy thing? He tried that very evening. As we were busy bodies in the kitchen preparing dinner or cleaning the dishes. As he passed by me, and lingered one extra extra moment, smiling, looking into my eyes. So I felt seen. And this, my friends, was the beginning of a long journey back.