To the Man with the Tommy Hilfiger hat and shirt who had three children with him on the hayride at the pumpkin patch, and the help of two grandmothers:

I am a bad mother. There, I said it. Is that what you wanted to hear when you asked everyone around you, “who belonged to that child that had no sweatshirt on when it was so cold outside”? Is that what you wanted me to say out loud from the two feet that separated us on that hayride? Or did you simply want me to sit there and stew and replay over and over what a terrible mom I am, how sometimes I forget to bring things, or how my car didn’t start because I forgot my keys and I had to hitch a ride with a neighbor and so I forgot a sweatshirt for one of my two children?

corn maze in a wagonI won’t even explain that — it’s a common occurrence that I forget things or the kids forget to grab them. It happens. I’m sure I’m NOT the only one, but YOU, you made me feel like I AM the only one. The only parent who makes a mistake but moves on and moves forward. You made me feel like the lowest of dirt. You should know that I did see you snap a photo of my child and text it to show how bad of a mom I am.

You know what I did on Wednesday? I woke up, I showered, I dressed my kids, I played with them, I fed them, I worked through the car dilemma and I took my children to the pumpkin patch. Do you know what I wanted to do?

I wanted to die. I wanted to lay in my bed and cry my broken heart out. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to curl up and just disappear. But I didn’t — I got up and loved on my babies and treated them to a beautiful day on the farm.

I want to forgive you for how rude, how mean, how judgemental, how awful you were towards me on Wednesday, but I just can’t get over it. You see, these days I’m a little hyper-sensitive about how people look at my parenting skills, my every move. It’s been a terrible month in our family — the refrigerator died, the washer died, the dryer died and my sweet, tiny, brand new baby girl died. But you didn’t know that. How COULD you know that?

And that’s just the thing. How could you have known that? How can ANY single one of us know what battles another person is fighting, overcoming, being buried by? If you don’t know, don’t judge. It’s hard, I understand. We all look at someone else’s kids or life and think WE can do better than THEY are doing.

I dare you.

I would GLADLY hand over my trials and my battles to anyone. Who knows, maybe you WOULD do better but for now, why don’t you just be so thankful that I am the one dealing with these things. Be glad that it was ME that was dealt this card because with your judgement should come the acceptance of EVERYTHING that comes with it.pumpkin patch

I’ll never get an apology from you. Even if you did read this, I doubt you would be humane enough to reach out and take back your words, those terrible, heartbreaking words. Your apology wouldn’t change things, I already feel that sinking feeling of being a terrible mom and you have crushed my spirit even further, but I’m still waking up every day and trying.

These things are all things to keep in mind when you see that struggling mom, that wild toddler, that preschooler without a coat and mussed up hair, the kicked down family. Maybe tomorrow I can remember a coat or brush my kids hair. Maybe next week I can keep doing my best. Maybe next time you can offer a helping hand instead of a slap of your words. Maybe we can all learn from one another and keep our words, our thoughts and our judgements to ourselves. I know it’s hard to control your thoughts sometimes, so think what you must but don’t involve an entire hayride of parents in your adult bullying, don’t draw others into humiliating me and destroying what is left of my will to go on with life.

Sincerely,

A Heartbroken Momma

This past week my friend Jen posted about the things strangers say out loud and their lack of filters. Diana Stone, another grieving mom also wrote this week about judgement and grief and children.