For many parents, going shopping with kids in tow can be a bit of a gong show. Trying to keep their excitement at bay, or stop their whining if they’re bored, all while getting everything needed for future meals or to put clothes on their backs, can make a mom or dad want to pull out their rapidly greying hair.
But what if your child’s behaviour can’t be helped? That’s what mom Taylor Myers has to deal with every day. Her daughter Sophie has ADHD, a chronic condition that can result in hyperactivity, impulsiveness or trouble paying attention — or all of the above. And Myers revealed in a recent Facebook post what taking a child with ADHD out in public is really like.
“I’ve walked out of stores hundreds of times because of her,” Myers confessed in the post, adding that “almost every time” she leaves with nothing she went for, because with a baby on her hip and four-year-old Sophie having a tantrum, it’s just too much.
“She’s relentless. I know this. I live with it. Her ADHD and obsessive little heart gets on these subjects of things she finds unjust and wrong and it doesn’t stop until she eventually falls asleep or something very dramatic happens to snatch the attention off the obsessed about subject.”
Her obsession that day was a bag of chips, but Myers, who stuck out the trip to Walmart for groceries, was not going to let her have them. They stood in line, with Myers “ignoring her whining and refusing to give in. What’s giving in to bad behavior going to do but reinforce the bad behavior.” Amen.
But that’s when a woman in line behind her said, “Oh, for Christ’s sake give her a cookie so she’ll shut up!”
Oh, no, she didn’t.
“I could’ve responded in a nicer way,” Myers continued. “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, she responded the way any frustrated and angry woman who’s at her wit’s end would: “She’s four years old and you need to mind your own f***ing business.”
AH. Mazing. But she chose to leave the line and go to the self-checkout so she could “avoid facing anyone else as ‘that person.’ That person with the misbehaving child. The person who seems lazy because they’re ignoring the behavior. The person who knows doing anything but ignoring it is only going to make it worse.”
By the time it was her turn to cash out her groceries, tears were streaming down her face but that’s when an angel appeared out of nowhere. A woman approached them, asking Sophie questions to keep her distracted — but also fully supporting Myers’ decision to not let her daughter have those chips.
“You have to be good for your mommy,” the saint told Sophie. “She needs you to be good for her.”
All it took was that small gesture to get Myers out of the shame spiral she was feeling. “It only takes one comment to break someone down,” she wrote. “But It also takes one small act of kindness to make a mama feel comfort and validation.”
We’ve all been there, whether it’s our kids losing their sh*t in public in a very loud, annoying, embarrassing way, or witnessing a seemingly nightmarish kid and wondering why the parent can’t get them to shut up and behave. But things aren’t always black and white. There are so many more issues kids — and parents — have to deal with nowadays that perhaps we should all think twice the next time we see a child having a tantrum. Instead of making a snap judgment and sneering from afar, a kind comment goes a long way. Just ask Myers.