Being a single parent is hard on anybody. In fact, parenting in general – whether you’re doing it alone or with someone else – has its good days and bad days. Those more difficult days become a little more frequent when a parent is raising a child with disabilities.
Taylor Myers, a single mother of two, knows this pretty well. Myers has an infant and a four-year-old child, both of whom she raises on her own. On top of that, Myers’s four-year-old daughter Sophie has a pretty severe form of ADHD.
ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a chronic condition that is typically characterized by attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Myers also shares that Sophie tends to react obsessively to things and will only stop obsessing when she falls asleep or something incredibly dramatic diverts her attention.
Myers often has a difficult time with Sophie when she goes out in public, but there was one certain trip to Walmart that drove the young mother over the edge, leading her to share the occasion on Facebook.
Myers took her two children with her to Walmart to cash her paycheck and buy some much needed groceries. She explains that Sophie was standing, wiggling, and doing headstands in the cart as the little family waited in line. Myers kept telling her daughter to sit down so she wouldn’t get hurt, but the warnings were futile, as Sophie’s condition often keeps her from listening.
Myers shares that she often has to leave the store when Sophie is misbehaving because she doesn’t want to reinforce any bad behavior. However, leaving the store means that she’s leaving without any of the groceries that she needs. It’s really a catch-22. This time, Myers tried to stick it out and get through the checkout line.
She goes on to explain that Sophie started whining loudly about a bag of chips that the mother took away from the girl because she was misbehaving. She also tells Sophie yet again to sit down. Myers then explains, “…the next thing I hear is a woman behind me in line saying, ‘Oh, for Christ’s sake give her a cookie so she’ll shut up!'”
Myers knew she could’ve responded much differently, but she was already frustrated and exhausted and no longer had any patience for judgement from someone who doesn’t know her story.
She writes, “I could’ve explained to her that my four year old has pretty severe ADHD, I raise both my children alone, I’m doing my best, and had no choice but to wait it out for the groceries.” Instead of saying all of that, Myers broke down and told the stranger that the situation is none of her business.
However, the comment really got to Myers. By the time she got to the self-checkout kiosk, she was in tears. She shares, “I’m angry, my feelings are hurt, I’m offended, and I’m just freakin sad that I can’t have one good experience in a store with my children.”
That’s when another stranger came up to Myers’s cart and started kindly talking to Sophie to hold her attention while her mother could finish checking out.
The woman was asking Sophie questions, holding a conversation, and telling the four-year-old that she has a little girl just like her. The woman also backed Myers up by reassuring Sophie that she couldn’t have the bag of chips when the little girl brought it up again.
While it might not have seemed like much to the average onlooker, that kind stranger really made all the difference to Myers. Myers shares that no one should judge a parent and make rude comments if they don’t fully know or understand that person’s story.
“It only takes one comment to break someone down. You never know what someone’s going through,” the mother shares. However, she also explains, “But it also takes one small act of kindness to make a mama feel comfort and validation.”
The rest of Myers’s viral Facebook post is dedicated to thanking the kind woman who helped distract Sophie, walk the family out of the store, and back the exhausted mother up. “Mamas have to stick together,” she explains.
All images credit to Taylor Myers / Facebook.