The Scarlet Letter

We’ve all seen her, the mom whose child is having a tantrum in the middle of the store. I saw her a few months ago in the clothing store Marshall’s. Her 2 year-old daughter was having a melt-down…it was nap time.  And then I saw them. Them, being the women in line who couldn’t give an encouraging word. Instead they sent electrifying glares to a mom who wasn’t giving in to her child’s demands. One lady kept commenting to all who could hear her, “If she wants to be picked up, then just pick her up.” The observer even went as far to declare child abuse and threatened to call Child Protective Services because she thought the child’s rights were violated.

Yesterday I was that mother — in the middle of Costco, with a soon-to-be three year-old screaming and crying for my iPhone. I wasn’t going to give in to his demands. Though I should have marched him right out of the store, I wasn’t going to have him ruin my last chance to redeem my coupons that would have expired the minute I walked out the door. Instead I patiently waited in line, feeling like I was in a fish bowl as everyone stared at us.

And then the glares started.

Glares coming from my fellow female comrades, who I would have thought knew what I was experiencing. But perhaps they’ve never been trapped in a fishbowl dealing with toddler tantrums. Ironically it was the men who gave an encouraging smile, as if they were silently saying “Stand your ground.”

However as I left the store I still felt like I should have had a scarlet “S” sewn on my breast pocket. An “S” for shame.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I will never understand those glares! Unless your child is literally an angel, they have had a meltdown in public. It’s horrible and who needs the added joy of having complete strangers stare you down?

    I try to be the encouraging smile and not the bothered glare, thanks for the reminder!

  2. 3

    Andrea said,

    Women should be more supportive of each other. Motherhood is a hard job. It takes a lot of ingenuity to keep up with toddlers and not let them get the upperhand. I applaud you for your efforts. You are not alone. We’ve all been there.

  3. 4

    Bloom Maternity said,

    Andrea. Me and all the other mothers out there thank you!

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