This West Virginia mother will make you think twice before you judge a parent who keeps their kids from wailing on an airplane or throwing a tantrum in the toy store.
Aly Brothers is a mother of two sons who had a particularly difficult day at the grocery store two weeks ago. After the incident, she posted a photo of herself with tear stained cheeks to Facebook accompanied by a message that's resonating with parents everywhere.
"This is motherhood," she wrote. "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."
Brothers goes on to explain that her "two blonde haired, blue eyed, angel faced toddlers were not so angelic" during this trip to the store. Instead of sitting quietly and patiently until their mother finished up their shopping, Brothers' two young boys acted like, well, children.
Her youngest child threw things and cried nonstop. Her other son, who's 3 years old, knocked things off shelves, walked too far ahead of his mom, and opened all the doors in the freezer section.
Both kids cried, argued, and screamed throughout the trip. As if dealing with all of this wasn't enough, Brothers also had to deal with the judgments written all over the faces of complete strangers.
"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," she wrote. "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."
It's far too easy to judge parents by a single situation you witness, but the truth is that moment will never tell you the whole picture. Brothers went on to explain that the actions of the other grocery store patrons were extremely difficult to deal with.
"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."
By the end of her Facebook post, Brothers reminded people to refrain from judging a struggling parent and reassured fellow mothers that they're not alone. Everyone has difficult days with their kids.
"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."
Brothers' Facebook post has already been shared more than 15,000 times to date. We hope everyone who reads her message with remembers that having a child who throws tantrums in public doesn't make someone a bad parent and they don't deserve to glares.