Any parent can tell you that attempting to go grocery shopping with a baby and a toddler can be quite an undertaking. One mom was doing her best to keep her kids entertained while she dealt with a stressful situation at Costco, only to be shamed by a stranger for her parenting skills. So she penned an open letter to the man, and parents everywhere are applauding.
Tracy Bennett was out at Costco with her two young kids when she realized she didn’t have her membership card. She quickly hopped into the Membership customer service line and, preparing for long the wait ahead, took out books and snacks and started playing patty cake to keep her little ones entertained.
Despite her best attempts, after 15 minutes of waiting in line, her kids started to get fussy. That’s when a man in adjacent the Refunds line, seeing Bennet on her phone, decided to pipe up. “You see these babies? They fuss like that because they want your attention,” Bennet later recounted. “Maybe you should get off of your phone and give them your attention.”
What the man didn’t know was that Bennett was texting her husband for their login information and downloading the Costco app on her phone to see if she could access her membership card—all so she and her kiddos could get off the line and out of the store pronto.
Reeling from the hurtful experience, Bennet later took to Facebook to craft an open letter to the man in a now-gone-viral post on the Breastfeeding Mama Talk page.
“First of all, 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,” she wrote.
“Thank you for your parenting advice,” she continued. “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 ended with a plea for people to have more compassion for parents of young children. “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,” she wrote. “And if you have nothing kind or supportive to offer her, please mind your own business.”
The moral of the story? If you can’t help a stressed out parent, certainly don’t make the situation worse. Odds are, they’re already trying everything they can to diffuse an oncoming tantrum—and sometimes that includes using a phone to problem-solve.
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