A woman named Tracy Bennett has gone viral for her open letter to a man that mom-shamed her at Costco, which she submitted to the popular Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk. The page is a place for mothers to share their stories about managing kids, and the many joys and trials that come with a family. Bennett’s joys are her sons, Elliot, 2, and Isaac, 7 months, and the trial in this case was arriving at Costco and realizing she’d forgotten her membership card. But she had two kids to wait in line with.
Bennett told Today that she was for help from customer service, but after fifteen minutes there hadn’t been much progress. Her boys had been pretty good, however Bennett sensed a meltdown on the horizon. She decided to download the Costco app on her phone, thinking she might be able to get access to her account. That’s when a man approached her. Ugh. You know where this is going.
Bennett’s letter to the guy who decided to step in and bother her starts like this:
“To the man at Costco today who glanced over at me on my phone while my babies were fussing and felt the need to say, ‘You see these babies? They fuss like that because they want your attention. Maybe you should get off of your phone and give them your attention.'”
“First of all, I had no idea the toddler saying, “Mama, pizza, mama, pizza” over and over and the baby making pre-cry warnings to alert me that if we don’t move soon he’s going to lose it wanted my attention. Thank you for that brilliant analysis of the situation.
“Secondly, I had been in the Membership line for 15 minutes already. I pulled out books, snacks, patty cake, and even took to creepily pointing out items in buggies as customers left the store to entertain them.”
“Thirdly, you had been in the Refunds line next to me for a total of two minutes or else you would have seen the smiles and laughs and interaction.”
Bennet then explains what she was trying to do on her phone—get the heck out of there!
“Lastly, after 15 minutes, these babies got a bit fussy. And on the meltdown scale, they were barely even at a 1. Sensing the meltdown brewing, I took out my phone, downloaded the Costco app and texted my husband to ask what our log in is in an attempt to just get my membership card on my phone. Because I ran out of tricks and my kids ran out of patience and now my goal was to just get us out of this line as quickly as possible before they released the kraken.”
“But thank you for your parenting advice. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to shame a young mother with two tiny children. Thank you for seeing a stressful moment and deciding, ‘I think I’ll make this worse for her.'”
If that guy was really paying attention and wanted to help, he should have asked if there was anything he could do for her. Instead, he dropped what he surely thought was a piece of wise parenting advice and then walked away. He’s probably the sort of dude who has gotten a lot of praise for “baby-sitting” his own kids.
“This is a humble brag, but I am so used to people interrupting me to comment on how cute the boys are,” Bennett told Today. “I was caught off guard and it took me a second to realize he was saying something ugly.”
"To the man at Costco today who glanced over at me on my phone while my babies were fussing and felt the need to say,...Posted by Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Sunday, September 29, 2019
Bennett’s open letter finishes with a message to any concerned bystanders. Put yourself in the mother’s shoes, and consider that she knows what she’s doing and is probably stressed out over the thought of her kids having a tantrum in public. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad mom because she looks at her phone for two seconds:
“Everyone, if you see a mother (or father) with young children out in public ANYWHERE, assume she is stressed out. Assume she is trying her damndest to get through the situation. Assume this is the very last place she wants to be. Assume she’d rather be home cuddling, playing, running around with her babies. Assume she probably has had no sleep since her first child was born. Assume she is hungry because her toddler decided he wanted extra eggs this morning so she gave him her breakfast in addition to his own. And if you have nothing kind or supportive to offer her, please mind your own business.”
“Our babies are healthy, our babies are happy (despite the fact that they are not currently pleased with standing in line at Costco), and our babies are loved fiercely by us. And for the love of God, our babies can wait 2 minutes while we try to solve a problem on your phone.”
I mean. No one likes standing in line at Costco.