All parents know the
torturous hell struggle that is going to the grocery store with small children. It’s no easy feat. Even going in for just one single item can be an all hands on deck kind of task. There are plenty of times where I’ve actually contemplated hiring a babysitter just so I can get grocery shopping done in peace. (Because yes, solo grocery shopping for moms can sometimes feel like an actual vacation.)
Last week, single mom Aly Brothers got brutally honest about that universal parenting truth in her now-viral Facebook post, which has since been shared over 14,000 times. Alongside a photo of herself showing tears streaming down her face, Brothers describes the nightmare of a recent grocery shopping trip — one that so many parents can relate to.
In her post, Brothers writes:
“This is motherhood. 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 continues on detailing the many exhausting mishaps that occurred in the grocery store that morning with her two young boys in tow.
“My youngest cried almost the entire time we were in the store,” she wrote. “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.”
Things only went more downhill from there, when her older child started knocking things off of the displays, bumping into people, and not listening.
But the cherry on top came when people around her started to stare and judge. From behind her in the checkout line, she suddenly heard someone whisper, “She’s pretty young for two kids.”
And that’s when she (understandably) lost it.
“[The cashier] handed me my receipt and I cried,” she continued. “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.”
Brothers ends her post on an encouraging note for other parents who have been there — which, let’s be honest, we all have:
“So if 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 judgement. 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.”
Speaking with Babble, Brothers admits she was surprised by the overwhelming response the post received, which was never actually supposed to be seen by anyone other than her friends.
“The response from the post has been overwhelming to say the least,” she says. “I am getting flooded with messages, which 99% of them are filled with their personal stories or words of encouragement, kindness, love, and support.”
And it’s that support that is helping Brothers get through the everyday ups and downs that all parents face. “There are no words to describe the emotions I have felt over this past week,” she adds. “I am honored and humbled to be having these conversations with such wonderful women and men from all over the world.”
It’s support like that that we need more of. Because she’s right — parenting isn’t easy, it’s hard. And there’s proof of that every day. But what makes it easier to get through is knowing you have the support of others out there. Just as Brothers reminds us in her post, let’s support one another; not judge. Let’s build each other up; not down.
And maybe, we can all give ourselves a much-needed break in the process.