Aly Brothers recently had a very bad day. Her two young boys went wild at the supermarket (as little kids do), and all she got from other people in the store were judgmental stares and whispers. She wrote about the experience, and now this mother’s Facebook post is going viral. And for good reason. It calls out the simple truth that being a mom is hard — incredibly, undeniably hard — and so maybe we should all show some understanding and compassion for the moms out there who, like Brothers, may not be having their best day.
In an August 21 Facebook post, Brothers recounts an early morning trip to the grocery store with her two young boys to pick up milk. “[T]hey weren't having it,” she writes. What follows is a nightmarish account of two toddlers melting down in public — something that anyone who has ever had small children will immediately recognize as a normal aspect of being a parent. “[M]y two blonde haired, blue eyed, angel faced toddlers were not so angelic today,” Brothers explains. “…They screamed, they cried, they fought. … My youngest pushed buttons on the card machine while my oldest picked up candy.” The people around her just watched, glaring at her:
The people in line behind me glared. The cashier glared.
Everyone's eyes were on me as if to say “can't you control your own children”. One older gentleman whispered, "she's pretty young for two kids" and I lost it. She handed me my receipt and I cried.
Brothers posted a photo of herself, taken outside the store. She’s teary, exhausted, and unapologetic. “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. Motherhood is HARD. Single-motherhood is HARD.”
She has a message for all of the people who looked on and glared, and those who made assumptions about her age, her life choices, and her skills as a mom:
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 hard people. The glares and whispers and judgments are hard.
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. I know these days will pass, the tears will stop, the fighting will cease, and my babies will be grown. And that will be hard too.
Brothers ends with a call for compassion for other parents who are having a hard time (and they all do, at some point); those parents need support, not contempt.
[I]f you see a parent struggling, if you see a kid throwing a tantrum, if you see a mom on the verge of tears...please say something nice. Please don't glare with judgment. And to all moms out there having a day like mine...I see you, I know you, I love you. You are strong and you are doing just fine.
Unsurprisingly, Brothers’ post has resonated for a lot of people. Hundreds have shared similar stories in the comments, and the message from other moms is clear: They’ve all been there. So why not show them some love?
Images: Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson; Aly Brothers/Facebook