We don't usually try to be authentic and raw on social media, but a beautiful thing happens when people are vulnerable and don't hide anything.
Aly Brothers – a 22-year-old single mom of two from West Virginia – posted a tearful selfie and a long message about parenthood after a trip to the grocery store with her kids. She wanted to show what parenthood really looks like in a brutally honest way.
The trip wasn't anything special or different, but customers' reactions to Aly and her kids prompted her to break down, cry and express her struggles in a post on Facebook.
She used the situation – where her two toddlers were crying and causing a scene at a grocery store – as a teaching moment for those who believe parenthood is supposed to look perfect all the time.
This is motherhood. No fancy filters, no good lighting, no new lipstick. It's messy hair that's wet from the rain, yesterday's makeup that I was too tired to wash off, and tears. Motherhood is HARD. Single-motherhood is HARD. These tears started as the cashier of Giant Eagle handed me my receipt and continued for the entire drive home.
The whole post breaks down what happened on this particular trip to the store.
To me, it sounds like her kids were just being kids. Some people act like they've never seen two young brothers squabble in public before.
It's not like the looks and stares go unnoticed.
They don't know I left that marriage because of abuse
Everyone's eyes were on me as if to say "can't you control your own children". One older gentleman whispered, "She's pretty young for two kids," and I lost it. She handed me my receipt and I cried. They don't know me. They don't know me as a mother. They don't know my children. They don't know I was married before I started a family. They don't know I left that marriage because of abuse, knowing I would have it just as hard as a single mother.
Her post has been shared over 15,000 times, and has received over 3,500 comments from supportive mothers who have felt the same.
Aly offers some sound advice to people who see mothers struggling with their kids in public:
So, if you see a parent struggling, if you see a kid throwing a tantrum, if you see a mom on the verge of tears... please say something nice. Please don't glare with judgement. And to all moms out there having a day like mine... I see you, I know you, I love you. You are strong and you are doing just fine.
You can see the full post below. Her strength is really inspiring.