A poignant post by a mother who admits she used to judge stay-at-home mums has struck a chord for thousands as it goes viral on Facebook.
Saying that for her, the experience has been "lonely and overwhelming," Bridgette Anne Armstrong, 25, from Minnesota in the US has confessed the things she used to mistakenly believe about mums who stay at home to care for their children, adding that she now understands what the job entails.
The post has been shared 83,000 times, with 28,000 comments of support as well as the usual criticism that comes with opening up about parenting on social media.
She begins the post, which is accompanied by a harrowing photo of her in tears, "Everyone thinks being a stay at home mum full time is easy.
— that we are lucky to be able to not have to work.
— that we are lazy.
— that it's not 'real' work so we have nothing to complain about."
Then she explains what it can really be like.
"But the truth is...it's f*&$ing lonely and overwhelming," before listing all the things that can break a stay-at-home mum.
"You can't do anything by yourself; go to the bathroom, enjoy a cup of coffee, read, hell you can't even scrub the sh*# out of pants for the third time in a day without someone crying or screaming at your leg.
You don't get breaks unless they are sleeping; which even then you use that time to clean up
You struggle to come up with ways to entertain someone for literally 12 hours a day every day.
You wear the same clothes that smell like sweat and tears for days at a time because it's already stained and no use in ruining more clothes.
You forget what it means or feels like to be an individual; because your entire existence now revolves around that child.
You look at working mums and get jealous because you wish you could have an excuse to have an adult conversation without being interrupted.
You lock yourself in the bathroom and scream into a towel while crying because you need a second to breathe; all while a child is banging on the door to get in..."
Any primary carer on the planet would be able to identify with some, most or all of what she writes.
She then urges people to, "... let that sink in," before admitting she used to judge.
"I was one of those people who judged SAHM's. But I get it now."
She says people who said they'd be there for her just aren't and she's "left with this overwhelming sense of failure."
Confessing, "I am alone....and I am lonely," she then urges people to check on their friends, saying, "... we are NOT okay."
Speaking to People Armstrong says,"It was important for me to go public with this because I honestly really didn't have anyone privately I felt I could reach out to."
"I wanted some sort of reassurance, I suppose, that I'm not the only one who feels this way sometimes, that I'm not crazy for having these feelings, and it doesn't make me a bad parent."
She added that she "was worried" about posting her personal experience, but was desperate for human connection; which she received in droves.
"Sending you love, hope, courage and support. You can do this mumma," writes one commenter, with another saying, "It's a definitely a difficult stage. Going through this right now. You are so brave for posting this. ♥️ Please speak to someone who can help, that is one way to survive it."
"The positive and warming messages have been overwhelming," she says. "To be someone who was the one looking for help to [now] receiving literally hundreds of personal messages and thousands of comments telling me that I helped them, it's been nothing short of absolutely amazing."
While solidarity has been the overriding theme of the comments, there are the predictable critical comments, and those fellow SAHM's who love the whole deal and can't relate. There's even a whole Facebook group dedicated to shaming parents if they choose to vent on Facebook.
Addressing the critics, she writes in a later post, "I will NEVER apologise for speaking my truth... I'm not afraid to show the world my 'ugly cry', because that's a part of life sometimes, and if people want to really know ME they need to see it."