If you have kids, then you probably know how difficult it can be to bring them to the store. They tend to get overwhelmed by all of the external stimulation – the people, smells, sounds, and the lights. They can certainly become excited when they see all of the toys and candy. Throw in some teething or needing a nap and what you’ve got is the perfect recipe for a public meltdown. Like so many parents, Rebecca Paterson learned this while on a shopping trip at Target.
Rebecca was shopping at Target with her sons, two-month old Aiden and two-year-old Jacob, when they both started throwing a temper tantrum. We give credit to her for bringing them both to the store with her in the first place. She probably needed some wine in that cart. Rebecca was beginning to put all of her groceries back on the shelf, in an attempt to get out of the store as soon as possible, when a stranger, and a mother of two, as well, decided to step in.
The stranger was Tiffany Jones-Guillory, and as she walked up to Rebecca, she offered to hold Jacob and walk around with Rebecca so she could finish grocery shopping. Jacob was still freaking out a little bit, so in order to try to calm him down, Tiffany pulled out her cell phone to distract him with pictures of her own kids. Rebecca couldn’t believe what was going on, so she took out her own phone to take a picture that soon went viral.
“She walked with me while I got the essentials needed for the day and kept hold of my toddler while he calmed down. She saved me today moms! I am so sleep deprived and was running on empty. A little kindness and understanding goes a long way,” said Rebecca. Imagine how exhausted she must have been after all of that. And not to mention all of the nasty looks she was probably getting from the other shoppers, well except for Tiffany.
“I know how it is. I’ve been there. I have two kids, it’s frustrating, and that baby is two months. You have hormones going…and people are looking at you crazy, and I just wanted to help. God sent me there to help her,” explained Tiffany. It makes you think about all of the times you’ve seen a child flipping out and you asked yourself why their parent wasn’t doing anything for them. They’re probably doing the best that they can and just need people to be a little more understanding. Another mom urges people to have a little compassion when they see something like this happening.
Aly Brothers was just trying to get some milk from the store with her two boys when she had her own meltdown. It may sound simple but her children had completely different ideas, which is why Aly lost it and other customers gave her dirty looks. “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,” wrote Aly on a Facebook post.
“These tears started as the cashier of Giant Eagle handed me my receipt and continued for the entire drive home,” wrote Aly. She continued to explain how her youngest son, 20-month-old Levi, was fussy from the moment they entered the store. Levi didn’t want to cooperate at all. He didn’t want to be buckled into the cart, so he began throwing things – groceries, his mom’s wallet, a shoe. “And he cried. And people stared. That was fine, I could handle that,” wrote Aly. And just to add to the chaos, her other son, 3-year-old Bentley, decided that he was Superman and wanted to stand on the front of the cart.
“I told him to hold on and stand straight. He did not. He fell off, he leaned backwards and knocked things off their displays. He leaned back and bumped a stranger. Then I made him get down and he walked too far ahead of me and opened all the freezer section doors telling me all the things he wanted to get. I tried to handle that. I stopped multiple times and composed myself and my children,” wrote Aly. “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.”
Aly continued to tell her story on Facebook. “I handle my kids very well. Normally, they’re great kids and I wanted to tell that guy, ‘You’ve seen them for 15 minutes in a grocery store. I’ve seen Bentley for 3 1/2 years. So I know him way better than you. Don’t judge me, don’t judge my kids. We’ve all been here. You acted like this when you were three. Be compassionate. Show kindness.”
“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 (sic). 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,” wrote Aly. It obviously resonated with people because the post received more than 65,000 reactions. Other parents began to share their stories, and how a little kindness can go so far. But what do you do when you’re the parent in the middle of a kid tantrum?
If it was a perfect world, we would all have perfect little angels that have no problem going to the store. Meltdowns would be nonexistent. There would be no more diaper blowouts. And there would definitely be no taking everything off the shelf like they’re auditioning for “Supermarket Sweep.” But it’s not a perfect world and these things happen. All you can do is try to be prepared, and it’s easier than you may think.
You can grab a few little packets of crayons the next time you go out to eat. Or if you feel the need to, you can buy some nice Crayolas to stick in your purse. Make sure that you have a little notebook, and any time the begin to freak out, hand them the paper and the crayons. It’s a bit easier in a restaurant or at the doctors, but it will work anywhere. Adding a little color to the mix can definitely be a big help.
By no means should you do this all of the time, especially not for a little bit of whining. This should strictly be used during “the world is going to end because they can’t have that toy” meltdowns. Make sure you always have fun-sized treats in your bag, and when you notice that you’re about to experience a full-scale tantrum, just take a lollipop and stick it in their mouth. Or take out a Snickers and put it in their tiny hand. They may get a little sugar rush from the candy, but it will also give you a bit more time to finish your shopping.
When you’re searching the aisles looking for the one thing that you went to the store for, but it seems to be taking way too long, and then you hear, “Mom! I want that! Did you hear me? I NEED THAT RIGHT NOW!” Instead of repeating “no” over and over again, tell them to write it down on their “Wish List.” That pad of paper we told you about comes in handy here, as well. Take out the paper and write it down for them. Explain to them that they can write down everything they want on that list. Turn it into a game and there’s a good chance they’ll forget about it by the time they get home.
You can tell from Aly Brothers’ and Rebecca Peterson’s stories that most moms are doing the best job that they can. Having to go to the store with little ones isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. So the next time you see a parent struggling with a child that’s freaking out, instead of giving them dirty looks, try asking them if there’s anything you can do to help them. The smallest act of kindness could turn their mood right around.