While at the checkout line at Costco, a mom says she was criticized by a male customer for going on her phone and ignoring her babies.
In a now-viral letter, which was posted to the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page, she claps back at the mom-shamer.
The man, the mom wrote, noticed she was using her phone while her babies were fussing. But rather than minding his own business, he decided to tell her, “‘You see these babies? They fuss like that because they want your attention. Maybe you should get off of your phone and give them your attention.'”
In response, the mom wrote, sarcastically, ” …I had no idea the toddler saying, ‘Mama, pizza, mama, pizza’ over and over and the baby making pre-cry warnings to alert me that if we don’t move soon he’s going to lose it wanted my attention. Thank you for that brilliant analysis of the situation.” In other words, she was well aware that her kids wanted her attention. She’s their mom. She knows. She didn’t need anyone, let alone a complete stranger, pointing that out.
Additionally, she had already done all she could to keep them occupied while in the membership line for 15 minutes, writing, “I pulled out books, snacks, patty cake, and even took to creepily pointing out items in buggies as customers left the store to entertain them.”
But he wouldn’t have known that, because he had only been standing next to her for TWO MINUTES, which makes his unnecessary intervention all the more infuriating. Had he been there longer, he “would’ve seen the smiles and laughs and interaction” the mom was having with her kids.
And, while she admits her babies were fussy after 15 minutes of being on line, the mom insists her kiddos were hardly having a meltdown. Checking her phone was actually part of her effort to prevent her kids’ potential tantrum from escalating. “Sensing the meltdown brewing, I took out my phone, downloaded the Costco app and texted my husband to ask what our log in is in an attempt to just get my membership card on my phone. Because I ran out of tricks and my kids ran out of patience and now my goal was to just get us out of this line as quickly as possible before they released the kraken,” she wrote.
The man, however, didn’t take the time to consider any of the above, and decided, instead, that it was his duty to immediately mansplain and criticize the parenting of a woman he didn’t even know and only briefly observed. “Thank you for taking the time out of your day to shame a young mother with two tiny children. Thank you for seeing a stressful moment and deciding, ‘I think I’ll make this worse for her,'” she wrote.
She ended her letter explaining what is really going on when parents are out running errands with their kids and therefore the assumptions that people observing them should be making instead: “Everyone, if you see a mother (or father) with young children out in public ANYWHERE, assume she is stressed out. Assume she is trying her damndest to get through the situation. Assume this is the very last place she wants to be. Assume she’d rather be home cuddling, playing, running around with her babies. Assume she probably has had no sleep since her first child was born. Assume she is hungry because her toddler decided he wanted extra eggs this morning so she gave him her breakfast in addition to his own. And if you have nothing kind or supportive to offer her, please mind your own business.”
Lastly, she reminded everyone not to underestimate the patience of kids, writing, “And for the love of God, our babies can wait two minutes while we try to solve a problem on your phone.”
The letter now has over 1.6k shares and in the comments section, many revealed they experienced or witnessed similar cases of mom-shaming. Wrote one user, “[It’s] so infuriating for someone to have a 30-second glimpse into your life and feel entitled to speak on it. I’ve had friends without kids complain about moms at the park on their phones. What if that was their only few minutes out of the whole day that their kiddo was quiet and calm and they could pay bills or get/give advice to a friend or WHATEVER! People don’t understand that motherhood is 24/7, 365 [days a year], and we can be amazing parents even if we aren’t in direct communication with our children for a few minutes of the day.” Another user commented, “This is the problem with parenting in our society. Everyone is so quick to judge but not lend a helping hand.”
We hope this letter causes strangers to take a moment before publicly criticizing a mom over situations with their kids that they know nothing about! There’s enough guilt and second guessing that moms needlessly place on themselves… no need for strangers to exacerbate that in any way.