This Mom's Story About Her Daughter With ADHD Went Viral. These Are Her Words.
Author’s note: I recently posted about an experience I had during a shopping trip with my children. The post was shared amongst people who just “get it” and went viral. The people who’ve shared, messaged and commented understand the struggles of being a parent, but in addition to being a parent, I’m a parent to a child who has ADHD. This one trip and message in particular quickly became a motivator for kindness and empathy around the world.
It finally happened. As I stood in the customer service line of Walmart to cash my paycheck with a cart of groceries — and some wine — my daughter, Sophie, sat/stood/did headstands in the cart, whining over a bag of chips I took away and because she’d called me a butthole in line.
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 dramatic happens to snatch her attention away from the subject.
We stood in line for several minutes — me, refusing to give in. What’s giving in to “bad behavior” going to do but reinforce the behavior? I’ve walked out of stores hundreds of times because of it. Almost every time, I end up leaving with nothing I came for. But this time I had to stick it out to get the groceries.
I told her for the 10th time to sit down so she wouldn’t fall, and the next thing I hear is a woman behind me in line saying, “For Christ’s sake give her a cookie so she’ll shut up!”
I could’ve responded in a nicer way. I could’ve explained to her my 4-year-old has 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 I heard, “She’s 4 years old and you need to mind your own f***ing business,” come out of my mouth.
I kept my composure until I finished what I was doing and walked to self-checkout so I could avoid facing anyone else as “that person.” The 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 I made it to self-checkout, tears were pouring down my face. I’d lost it. I was angry, my feelings hurt. I was offended.
As I scanned my things, a woman walked up and began talking to Sophie. She asked her questions to distract her but backed me up when Sophie said she wanted the chips. “No, you can’t have those today. You have to be good for your mommy. She needs you to be good for her. I have a little girl just like you. How old are you? How old is brother?”
Honestly, this woman could’ve been the antichrist and I would have more appreciation for her kindness and compassion than I have for anyone else I’ve ever encountered.
It only takes one comment to break someone down.
You never know what someone’s going through. You never know the challenges a child has that causes them to “misbehave. You cannot judge me. But it also takes one small act of kindness to make a mama feel comfort and validation.
Thank you to the woman at Walmart today for showing kindness to my children and me. Thank you for walking us out. Thank you for backing me up. Mamas have to stick together.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.