Single mom gets brutally honest about the judgment strangers pass on parents while shopping
We all know what it’s like to have the grocery store trip from hell. The one where no matter how hard you beg, plead or even threaten the kids to try and get them to behave they refuse to do anything but fight and scream, and every aisle feels like it’s a marathon long. It seems like everyone is looking at you and judging you for your poor parenting skills. All you want to do is get what you need and get the hell out of there.
Aly Brothers had one of those awful shopping experiences with her two kids the other day and wrote about the aftermath on Facebook. In a post that’s since gone viral, she shared the raw truth about how hard being a single parent is for her at times and how she left the grocery store in tears.
“This is motherhood, ” she writes, “No fancy filters, no good lighting, no new lipstick. It’s messy hair that’s wet from the rain, yesterday’s makeup that I was too tired to wash off, and tears.”
Brothers was out of milk, so she grabbed her two boys and ran to the store, but sometimes the errands we think will be in and out are the ones that make our whole day implode into a fiery pile of Nope. First her youngest child started to act up. “He didn’t want to sit in the cart, he didn’t want to be buckled, he wanted to hold all the groceries on his lap. He got mad. He threw his shoe, he threw my wallet, he threw the three groceries that did fit on his lap.”
Still, Brothers stayed calm. “I could handle that,” she says.
Then her three-year-old joined in the shenanigans, pretending to be Superman on the cart, not listening to his mom when she told him to stand up straight and knocking over some display items. By this point Brothers felt like some people were giving her the evil eye, but she still kept her cool. In fact, when her boys saw balloons and got excited, she swallowed a groan over the $8 price tag and said they could have one if they promised to share. Anything to get out of the store, right?
But of course, the kids’ promises to share were short-lived and by the time they were at the checkout they were fighting over the balloon. Brothers decided not to buy it and gave it to another cashier. It’s actually a pretty awesome parenting move to stick to your guns like that, especially when your kids are acting up and you just want to get the hell out of there and never see any of these people ever again. But rather than support Brothers’ efforts at tough love or at least help her bag her damn groceries so she could get out there faster, she felt like everyone around was glaring at her for in inability to control her children. One man actually had the nerve to say, “She’s pretty young for two kids.” That’s when Brothers finally lost it. She grabbed her receipt and left the store in tears.
With more grace and far fewer four-letter words than many of us would have in the same situation, Brothers reminds us the importance of not judging someone without knowing their story. “They don’t know me. They don’t know me as a mother. They don’t know my children. They don’t know I was married before I started a family. They don’t know I left that marriage because of abuse knowing I would have it just as hard as a single mother.”
It’s obvious Brothers is doing an awesome job as a single mom, that she’s doing her best to raise her boys right. But single parent or not, we can all relate to the feeling that some days you’ve got a handle on this parenting thing, and others, well… not so much. “Sometimes I can control my children and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I can handle it and sometimes I break down.”
Having rough parenting moments doesn’t make us bad parents. We’ve all been there. And if strangers can’t see that, then screw them. If you don’t know them, you don’t owe them anything.