I often tell clients that their prospect's perception of them is their reality. Meaning that, at least in the business world, how people see you matters more than how you think they see you. 

Same thing is true in the mommyhood.

I used to cringe when the kids said they drew a picture of me. I imagined that the pic would consist of two big circles (bigger one for body, smaller one for head) or that the physical characteristics that I am most self-conscious of would be the exact features they'd decide to embellish.

Then I got over myself.

I realized that seeing myself through those kid-scrawled-goggles is the most flattering way I could ever look at myself. Because the sketches aren't about physical beauty or perfection; they're about connection, emotion and the reminder that their perception is my only reality.

The pics have changed over the years, but as I flip through them (and I've kept them, each and every one) what I see in every single one of them is me, smiling.

Lord knows I don't smile all day, every day. But my kids draw me that way. They always draw me with a happy face, and if Erin is wielding the magic marker there are usually hearts and rainbows flying out of my head. It's an easy and safe guess that those hearts and rainbows say more about her than they do about me, but what amazes me is that there are no clouds. No tears. No thinking-too-much. Just smiles.

I also see open, bright eyes and a full head of hair (albeit curlier than it is in real life). And I remember each time I look at those amateur masterpieces that they are seeing me from the inside out. Me, stripped of the stress of everyday crap and daily annoyances  instead of me getting through the day.

They don't care if I curl or straighten my hair, dress up or down or put on makeup. They only care–and see–that I look at them with love, that my arms are open and that my embrace is warm. Those pictures get to the bottom line of what matters and–yet again–remind me that all I really need to know in life I can learn from them.

I'm linking up today with Mama Kat's Losin It's Writer's Workshop, and my post was inspired by option number 2: Ask your child to draw a portrait of you and share it with us, which was inspired by Scary Mommy. In full disclosure, Erin drew this one of me a couple of months ago; we were too busy tonight cutting up sweatshirts and old sweaters to fashion a last-minute ensemble worthy of 80's day at school tomorrow. But she'll draw another one soon. I hope.