This was posted on a local Facebook group and is filled with so much truth I asked to post here! Please think before you judge!
By Chelsea Furlong
One more post for today— Sooo THIS happened yesterday! If I had a blog, I’d totally use this. I’m sure some of you can completely understand how much this hurt me!!
To the Stranger in Marshall’s Who Told Me I Was Neglecting My Child:
Our paths met today in the travel section of Marshall’s when I was trying to finish up my Christmas shopping with 2 toddlers, my 2 year old son and a friend’s 2 year old daughter . I had stopped in for moment, after dropping off my oldest at preschool, to grab a couple of last minute items. As I was grabbing the last thing on my list, I lifted one toddler into the cart and when I did that, she accidentally kicked (more like brushed) my son’s head with her foot. There was actually barely any contact at all. My son, who was tired and ready for his nap, started to cry. Just as he opened his mouth to cry, I quickly said, “Oopsie! You’re okay!” in a cheerful voice to try to avoid the tears and get out the door. He started to cry anyway because he was tired. I didn’t make a big deal of it because I deal with crying toddlers every day, but you did. You turned around and said “I think he hit his head on a shelf or something. He’s in a lot of pain.” I replied with, “No, as I was lifting the other child into the cart, she accidentally got him with her foot, I think.” I went to turn and continue to check out, but you continued with, “Well he’s probably in a lot of pain then and now he’s feeling neglected by you. Poor thing.” I froze and actually never said another word back. I had no idea what to say to you.
My son stopped crying about 5-10 seconds after that because his busy little toddler mind was already intrigued and distracted by something else in the store. I called his name to follow me, we grabbed that last item, and checked out. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was terribly hurt by your assumption.
The entire way home, I replayed what happened in my head and accused myself of being a bad parent. But it isn’t true. What you don’t know is that I gave up my entire career, which I loved, to be home and cater to every one of my children’s developmental, physical, and emotional needs. What you don’t know, is that I have only been shopping alone TWICE since my first son was born over 4 years ago. What you don’t know is that I haven’t spent a single night without at least one child snuggled up against me since they were born. What you don’t know is that I wore both of my children up against my body in baby carriers and wraps for hours a day so they’d feel comforted and nurtured. You also don’t know that between the two children, I have been breastfeeding for 4 years straight. You don’t know that my children never had a bottle because I knew that the strongest connection we could possibly have was through me spending hours a day providing nourishment and nurturing through breastfeeding. You don’t know that I still wake up with my toddler several times a night so he can nurse, feel my touch and warmth, and know that he’s secure right beside his momma. You don’t know that I looked disheveled this morning because I hadn’t had a chance to shower yet or even put on clean clothes, because I was busy making sure the children were fed, clothed (in only the finest children’s clothing of course), and happy. I, on the other hand, threw on an old, worn out t-shirt and some stretched out jeans, and immediately began my job of caring for our children. My hair was a mess because I haven’t had a chance to go the hair dresser in months. Who has time for hair appointments when you’re busy raising young children?!
I know you judged me based on my appearance today, and it hurt. You judged me on my parenting choice as well, but I wonder how that would have differed if I had been more put together on the outside. Either way, you hurt me with your judgements and assumptions. I DO NOT NEGLECT MY CHILDREN. Ever. I made a conscious parenting decision in that moment to try to assure my son he was okay in a peppy voice, in the hopes that he’d just continue on happily (like he usually does) so we could finish up the dreaded Christmas shopping before it was so close to nap time we’d be in the meltdown zone.
So, while I truly do appreciate the empathy you showed for my son today (I honestly do), I need you remind you that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Every parent is different, and every parent makes great choices and bad choices. You may have children, and even grandchildren, of your own. If that’s the case, I’m sure you know from experience that parenting is the hardest, and most important job any person will ever do during their time on Earth. Woman in the Travel Section of Marshall’s, I just ask that the next time you feel the need to immediately step in when a child is crying in a store (which happens all the time), you think twice before accusing someone of something as serious as neglect. You have effected my entire day, and had me in tears the entire drive home. Since you seem to have a lot of empathy, how about showing some empathy to a mother who is doing her best to be sure she raises happy, healthy, kind, confident, intelligent children. Next time, please just stop for a moment to understand that what you assume about and say to people, can hurt them. Next time, think about the fact that the mother you are judging is probably just doing her best to get through every minute, of every hour, of every day, without completely f*cking up her child. Believe it or not, I want my child to feel loved even more than you do!
Maybe I made the wrong choice in my response today in the store, or maybe I didn’t. I’m sure every person in the world will have their own opinion on that. I’m not perfect, but I assure you, I have done, and will do, everything in my power to be sure my children feel nurtured and loved. When he truly IS injured or especially clingy or emotional, trust me, he knows his Momma is here for him. He is NOT neglected.
Disheveled Momma Who Does Her Best to Practice Attachment Parenting so Her Children Won’t Feel Neglected