Instead of hearing judgmental parent-shaming about gender norms, this mom was touched to see a fellow shopper validate her son's personal style.

By Kaitlin Lowe
July 19, 2019
iStock/Getty Images

Leaving Target with more than you bargained for is practically inevitable. Sometimes it's a Starbucks drink and other times it's an item from the Dollar Spot section. But when you're leaving with a newfound appreciation for kind strangers, that's far better than those $2 flamingo napkins you threw in your cart.

One mom and Reddit user, sparkilini, recently took to the platform’s r/Parenting subreddit to describe a pleasant interaction she had with another mom on her Target trip that took her by surprise. She and her two tween sons (who she refers to as “1” and “2” for anonymity) were on the hunt for flip flops. Child 1 chose a plain blue pair, while 2 chose a pair with pink, blue, and orange stripes, plus bright pink straps. As they stood in the checkout line, 2 raved about his colorful shoes. Then, the woman behind them cleared her throat—she obviously had something to say.

“I’m nervous at this point,” the mom writes, “because typically, strangers piping in about our choices isn’t because they want to congratulate me on my excellent parenting skills.” It's no surprise she feels this way. Just a few months ago, another Reddit user vented about being mom-shamed in a Target parking lot for the way she protected her daughter from an oncoming car.

At first, this mom thought her interaction was about to go in a similar cringe-worthy direction. Despite the rise in gender-neutral nurseries, dress codes, and even birth certificates, not every shopper agrees that boys can wear pink flip flops. But to the mom’s surprise, the woman simply chimes in, “My daughter bought that pair last week! They are so cute and go with lots of colors. Nice choice!”

She writes that the moment reminded her negative people are “always going to have an opinion, but there are so many good people in the world too.” She added: “Times are changing. If my boy wants blue shoes, he's getting blue shoes. If he wants rainbow shoes, he's getting rainbow shoes.” The comments on her post proved the same point as several other Redditors shared stories of their sons playing with American Girl dolls, painting their nails, and loving all things pink.

My favorite moment? When one commenter found the exact flip flops that the poster’s son picked out. “Aren’t they great, though?” the mom responded. “I kind of want them for myself, no lie.” Same here!

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