Parents often feel judged, whether it’s on social media or while they are out running errands. Seems whenever a situation with kids is less than perfect, the unsolicited advice rolls in.
The kinder thing to do is to assume the parent is doing all they can do and maybe they could use some help. Or, at least some sympathy.
Mom of two, Tracy Bennett, recently wrote and posted an open letter to one of her critics. She shared the letter on Breastfeeding Mama Talk’s Facebook page where she knew she would definitely be understood.
Apparently, she was with her children at Costco—a chaotic place with or without the kids in tow—when a man decided to take it upon himself to explain mothering to her and how that worked.
Bennett told Today her children, Elliot, 2, and Isaac, 7 months, were getting impatient standing in the member services line. Bennett had misplaced her card and was needing a replacement. They had been waiting in line for 15 minutes, which is FOREVER in toddler-world.
Bennett wrote, “To the man at Costco today who glanced over at me on my phone while my babies were fussing and felt the need to say, ‘You see these babies? They fuss like that because they want your attention. May you should get off your phone and give them your attention.'”
She told Today she was used to people approaching her when she was with her children to tell her how cute they were. She was astounded this man was being critical. Caught off guard, she found herself trying to explain to the man what she was doing and that she was actually using her phone to find and download the Costco app in hopes it would solve her card replacement problem. She wanted to get her kids out of waiting so long in the line.
Her Facebook post continued:
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 gong to lose it wanted my attention. Thank you for that brilliant analysis of the situation.
Secondly, I had been in the Membership line for 15 minutes already…
In those 15 minutes, Bennett had exhausted all her toddler entertainment tricks of games, snacks and books. Using her phone was really her last resort.
Thirdly, you had been in the Refunds line next to me for a total of two minutes or else you would have seen the smiles and laughs and interaction. Lastly, after 15 minutes, these babies got a bit fussy. And on the meltdown scale, they were barely even at a 1…
Bennett’s message to others is to always assume a parent is doing his or her best. Reserve the judgement and definitely don’t step in to tell a mom or dad what they are doing is wrong. They have enough stress dealing with a limp kid screaming their frustrations without trying to explain how, when and why the meltdown happened.
Her post ended with this final thought:
Our babies are healthy, our babies are happy (despite the fact that they are not currently pleased with standing in line at Costco), and our babies are loved fiercely by us. And for the love of God, our babies can wait 2 minutes while we try to solve a problem on your phone.
Parenting is a journey. Not a few minutes of a tantrum.