Note: This article contains coarse language that may offend some readers.
Most parents who head into a store usually have a one-track mind — get in, get what you need, and get out as quickly as you can.
But shopping is not always that simple when you have a child in tow. They usually want to get their hands on everything they see going through the aisles, fighting with you relentlessly until they get what they want.
Taylor Myers’s 4-year-old daughter has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), making a quick trip to the store even more difficult for the single mother. Myers knows what she is up against as soon as she walks through the door — a daughter who won’t sit still, stay quiet when she’s asked, or stop screaming when she’s told no.
The mother broke down in a Facebook post, sharing what a trip to Walmart was like for her:
It finally happened. As I stood in the customer service line of Walmart to cash my paycheck with a cart of groceries (and some wine), Sophie sat/stood/did heads stands in the cart, whining over a bag of chips I took away and because she called me a butthole in line. She’s relentless. I know this. I live with it. Her ADHD and obsessive little heart gets on these subjects of things she finds unjust and wrong and it doesn’t stop until she eventually falls asleep or something very dramatic happens to snatch the attention off the obsessed about subject.
Myers decided this trip to the store was going to be different, she was going to stay in the line without taking off as she had done before:
We stood in line for several minutes, me ignoring her whining and refusing to give in. What’s giving in to bad behavior going to do but reinforce the bad behavior? I’ve walked out of stores hundreds of times because of her. Almost every time, actually, I end up leaving with nothing I came for and a tantrum having four year attached to my hand and a baby on my hip, but this time I had to stick it out to get the groceries.
But it wasn’t just dealing with her daughter’s behavior from the ADHD that made the trip difficult, it was also the people around her who were making the shopping trip so upsetting for the mom. She received stares, evil looks, and cruel comments.
One shopper had one ready as Myers continued to try to calm her daughter down:
I tell her for the tenth time to sit down so she doesn’t fall and the next thing I hear is a woman behind me in line saying “oh, for Christ’s sake give her a cookie so she’ll shut up!”
The stressed-out, brokenhearted mother lost it with the woman at that point:
I could’ve responded in a nicer way. I could’ve explained to her that my four year old has pretty severe ADHD, I raise both my children alone, I’m doing my best, and had no choice but to wait it out for the groceries. Instead, I heard “she’s four years old and you need to mind your own f***ing business” come out of my mouth.
The mother held it together after that, moving to another part of the store as quickly as she could, knowing what everyone else was thinking:
I kept my composure until I finished what I was doing and walked to self check out so I could avoid facing anyone else as “that person.” The person with the misbehaving child. The person who seems lazy because they’re ignoring the behavior. The person who knows doing anything but ignoring it is only going to make it worse.
But then her emotions came flooding out:
By the time I made it to self check out, tears are pouring down my face. I’ve lost it. I’m angry, my feelings are hurt, I’m offended, and I’m just freakin sad that I can’t have one good experience in a store with my children.
But when she got to the new register, everything took a turn — someone took the time to care:
As I scan my things, a woman walks up and begins to talk to Sophie. She asks her questions to distract her, but backs me up when Sophie begins to go on about wanting the chips. “No, you can’t have those today. You have to be good for your mommy. She needs you to be good for her. I have a little girl just like you. How old are you? How old is brother?”
The mother suddenly had a stranger treating her and her child in a much different way:
Honestly, this woman could’ve been the antichrist and I would’ve had more appreciation for her kindness and compassion than I have for anyone else I’ve ever encountered.
Myers reminded others that you don’t always know what is happening when you catch a glance of a moment in a person’s life. And words can hurt:
It only takes one comment to break someone down. You never know what someone’s going through. You never know the problems a child has that causes them to misbehave and unless you know the struggle of being a parent to a child like mine, you cannot judge me.
She appreciated finally finding out what the flip side of the harshness she normally receives is like after someone showed her true goodness does exist in people:
But It also takes one small act of kindness to make a mama feel comfort and validation. Thank you to the woman in Walmart today, for showing that kindness to my children and I. Thank you for walking us out. Thank you for backing me up.
She concluded: “Mamas have to stick together.”