Thinking Thursday, Open Letter To Judgey McJudgerson

Dear Judgey McJudgerson,

I’m the parent of the child at the grocery store that was having a melt down in the middle of the afternoon.

Because my child’s wailing, shrieking, sobs and tears weren’t enough for me to be dealing with, you had to add your ‘helpful’ comments. “Take that kid home!” “He’s too old to be throwing fits!” “What’s wrong with you?” “Nice parenting!” “What a brat!”

Your comments made my difficult time so much worse. You didn’t stick around after hissing your nasty comments at me. You stuck your nose in the air, satisfied in telling me how lousy a parent I was, turned your back and marched away, off, no doubt, to find someone else to spew your self important judgements on.
Let me tell you something:

I’m a single parent.
My husband is away on business.
My husband is deployed.
My husband is in the hospital.
My husband is away at his dying grandfather’s bedside.
I’ve just finished work, and on my way to my second job.
My child has special needs.

I’m out of groceries, I’m waiting for a prescription for my sick child. I can’t come back later, because I can’t wait for what we need. I can’t leave my child, because there’s nobody to leave him with.

You didn’t stick around. You didn’t see my shoulders slump under the weight of your words. You didn’t see the tears in my eyes. You didn’t see the pain you caused. If you had, I doubt you’d have cared, you were too busy being better than I, and righteous in your indignation.

You didn’t know that after I managed to get my child home, when I was finally laying down in the privacy and darkness of my room, your words echoed in my ears, and how I sobbed, hearing them, again and again. 

I wonder, if you did know, would you care? Would you?

Maybe this letter will help you to have more compassion for parents in my situation. Perhaps the next time you’re in the grocery store, you can offer that Mom or Dad a smile. A pat on the shoulder. An offer to help. “It’s OK. You’ll be OK, Mom.”

Or even just silence.


Any Parent of the Child in a Meltdown

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Thinking Thursday, Open Letter To Judgey McJudgerson — 15 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, there are still some people that wouldn't think twice to do this again or not care about your letter. People can be so rude..when I witness judgements being passed on others, my heart just feels heavy. Seriously, if you don't have nothing nice to say…don't say anything at all. Lil' kids are taught this early on…

  2. the thing of it is, even if the parent is being a dipstick, or the child is a regular terror, what do those sorts of comments benefit anyone? I mean, does anyone really think that a snarky remark is going to suddenly be a ray of light shining through, and cause someone to reassess their parenting?

  3. Now that I've read this I need to think about what comment would be best to say in return. Maybe something like, “Sir (Madam), I'm sure this is what we adults must look like to God at times.” 🙂

  4. Though my kids are usually well behaved I've actually been called a bitch out in public when I've had to correct them for acting up. It took all my self control to not bite back super nasty at that stupid woman.

  5. Nothing bothers me, especially kid and pet drama and no one has the right to say hurtful things to others! I do feel like there is a lack of respect on both sides though! The judgers need to bite their tongue and moms need to respect the rights of strangers trying to shop without dealing with your child's meltdown. We all have sick parents, jobs, life issues etc etc.

    As a non-arent I constantly feel as though I am being punished for someone else's life choices. Parenting is just that- a choice! I think the grocery store is neutral ground and a place for all, but I really don't think it's fair to listen to the restaurant meltdowns.

    Like I saidf, it totally doesn't bother me, but I don't like the sense of entitlement that comes with parenthood. If your child cannot behave in public, it is NOT my place to judge, but I don't think BECAUSE someone is a mother they deserve special treatment. We all have to coexist and I commend you for not starting an argument with the judger!

  6. Jacqueline, I can honestly say I don't know of a single parent, who, given the choice, wouldn't pack the child up and out of the store. I'm talking about situations where there's nothing someone can do, leaving just isn't an option, this errand *has* to happen.

    The situations I've listed, I haven't been in all of them myself. It was just a list of examples that either myself or friends have dealt with. I was the single mom, w/a sick child. I *couldn't* come back, I needed those meds. Coming back would've meant another trip, w/sick child in tow. Not an improvement. I've also been caught in a short turn around btwn jobs, and knowing that a) we didn't have enough groceries in the house and b) that I couldn't get there after my 2nd job ended, btwn transit and store closing hours.

    I am interested in hearing about how you are punished, as a non parent though.

  7. I love this letter! I sometimes wish I had a magic wand that could erase all judgment. Mother Theresa said you don't have time to love people when you're judging them and The Beatles said ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE…of course, Jesus said that longer ago. Thank you for raising awareness that we need kindness and compassion to parents, and to all! xoxo

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