Mom's Open Letter to the Woman Who Shamed Her at Target: 'You Obviously Never Had a Toddler'

The mom took to Reddit to explain how she was attempting to protect her 2-year-old in the store's parking lot when a stranger said, "I just saw you hit your daughter."

Target Store Front Red Logo Sign
Photo: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Every new parent knows that venturing out in the world to do errands with a newborn is hard. Venturing out with a newborn and a toddler? Really, really hard. But sometimes, you just have to get out of the house and do a Target run.

That's all Redditor u/bubblybotany wanted to do when she was met with an uninvited, unwarranted review of her parenting from a stranger. And afterward, the frustrated mom took to the social media site's Parenting subreddit to share how it all went down in a post entitled, "To the lady who mom shamed me at Target, you obviously have never had a toddler."

"I was adventurous yesterday, and foolishly decided to go to Target with my 2-year-old and 1-month-old," she wrote. "My toddler is experiencing full-blown terrible twos, she is very stubborn and independent. Things have only gotten worse since little brother has been born, which I expected." She explained that her daughter does not want to hold her hand "so if we are on the street or anywhere where cars may be around, I have to watch her like a hawk."

The mom shared that she was walking from the car to the store with her toddler next to her and her newborn in a carrier. "First, she decides she doesn't want her jacket, but won't let me take it off for her," u/bubblybotany explained. "She wants to do it herself, but is struggling. I just let her try until she decides she can't do it and needs help, but there is a lot of crying and whining in between, so she is already in a bad mood."

"After her jacket is off," she continued, "she decides she wants to walk in the middle of the street, and there is a car coming. I ask her to come close to me and closer to the parked cars. She doesn't listen, just giggles and walks even closer to the street. Since there is a car coming, I go and grab her arm and pull her close. I didn't hurt her or abuse her, but she obviously didn't like it. She starts throwing a huge fit. At that point, I grab her surfboard style and carry her to the store. I wasn't going to tolerate that and let her run wild in the street."

That's when "some lady saw this whole exchange and yells at me 'I just saw your hit your daughter. [sic] People are watching, you know.'"

The mom noted that she "never once hit her. I may have seemed a little rough when I pulled her arm, but the other option would have been to let her get hit by a car. Secondly, I have a baby in a carrier. It's not like I can really pick her up the way I normally would. And lastly, if she was screaming, it was not because I had hurt her, it was because she didn't get her way so she was throwing a fit."

"I am already struggling to maintain my sanity with a crazy 2-year-old and a newborn baby, I don't need some random person to criticize my parenting." She then addressed the subreddit community, writing, "Please tell me you have all had meltdowns like this and handled it similarly. I don't think I abused my child. If I have to be a little stern to avoid her trying to kill herself, I think that is ok."

Thankfully, by sharing the details of the incident with the subreddit, this mom quickly learned that she's far from the only one to face undeserved scrutiny during a challenging outing with her L.O.s.

One commenter shared, "My daughter—18 months at the time—had a meltdown in Walmart at one point, my husband finished checking out while I took her outside. I had to grab her arm and pick her up because she tried running away. I held her as she lay stiff as a board, screaming her head off, and I'm 6 months pregnant (showing badly) and trying to waddle her outside. A lot of people gave me looks and a security guard actually followed me—didn't approach me though. People are just rude and judgemental [sic]. Ignore them—I'd rather grab my child by her arm than have a car almost hit her. You did nothing wrong."

Another said, "My kid used to be terrible in stores!! How else am I going to teach her how to behave in stores (and parking lots!!) but continuously keep taking her out so we can practice following rules and how to behave! (At 2.5 she's mostly so much better now. 2 sucks for stores - I feel ya!)"

u/Bubblybotany circled back to update her original post, thanking those who responded for their encouragement. "I think I'm pretty lucky to have gone 2 years without any mom shaming, so I am counting my blessings," she wrote. "Plus, with 2 kids, I'm sure it will happen again. Next time, I will do a better job of making them feel rude for getting involved in something that is not any of their business."

With hope, Redditors' responses also assured this mom that not only did she do nothing wrong, but she was simply doing her best, which is all any parent can do—especially when navigating a Target parking lot with your obstinate toddler.

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