A Letter to the Mom with the Screaming Child in Public


We’ve all seen it. The infamous child having a meltdown in public. The mom looks mortified and the child is just beyond saving.

Haven’t you ever wished there was a universal signal we could give to the other parents when their child is just being a pain in the butt in the store? I picture it to be like the little two finger symbol they do on Hunger Games. Something that symbolizes, I feel for you. I have been there. I am with you. And for heaven’s sake someone get that woman a glass of wine!!!

Screaming child in public: meltdown
I was at the zoo the other day for HallZooween. It was another 90 degree day. All of the kids had a sugar high from the trick-or-treating and they were hot and uncomfortable in their costumes. Do you remember how itchy and hot those things were? I would be mad, too. It was overly crowded. Did I mention it was hot?  All of the sudden you could hear the dreaded sound that every parent knows too well. A tired child. She was screaming at the top of her lungs and had just had enough. You could hear her miles away. She refused to walk, she refused to sit in the stroller, she was just done. The little girl’s mother had to carry her while she screamed and kicked. One of those moments that truly just makes you sick to your stomach for the poor momma. They were behind us as we kept walking towards the rhino exhibit. The zoo was so crowded and I felt like I couldn’t move. Everyone was stopped, looking our way. I was trying to get to the next animal and we couldn’t go anywhere. I started to feel claustrophobic. My toddler was getting impatient and I wanted to walk. Anyone, walk! Then it hit me. Everyone was looking at that poor child and her mom. They were staring so much that it made ME uncomfortable. It wasn’t even my child and I wanted to go hide with that mother!

Why? Why do we do that? Why do we stare? Why are other parents so quick to judge? Let’s be optimistic for a minute and assume everyone was just glancing because they were concerned. That still doesn’t help.  When you are that parent, you are embarrassed, ticked off, ready for wine, ready to crawl in a hole. We have all been there. So why is it that there are still those parents  that watch the whole thing go down? Don’t you remember how that feels? It doesn’t help. The smirky little comments don’t help either. You don’t know the situation.

We live in a world that is so in-your-face. I think sometimes we forget that it actually isn’t our place and is none of our business. We need to turn down the judgmental knob and start lending a hand a little more. Someone should have bought that mom a beer. Even if a child isn’t screaming in public, parenting is still hard. Let’s smile at each other more, buy the next mom’s Starbucks, let her go in front of you at the grocery store because for ONCE your children are being patient and you don’t have to hurry. It all starts with a smile. Imagine if we all did one nice gesture for another mom once a day. Send a friend an Amazon Prime package of soup and cough medicine when she’s sick. Send a funny mom meme. Help someone out instead of telling them they’re doing it wrong. Lend them the sleeper that helped your baby sleep through the night. Remember; less judgey-judgey, more nice. They say it takes a village,  yet so many of us think we’ve got to have it all under control. Let’s be the village. The Cincinnati Moms Village. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?


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