Motherhood Writing

To the Furious Mom in the Target Parking Lot on Brain, Child

bclogoThis week my essay To the Furious Mom in the Target Parking Lot was featured on the Brain, Child Magazine blog and boy, am I excited about it! I’ve been a big fan of Brain, Child for about 12 years — ever since Ella was born. As a new mom, the essays on those pages opened my eyes to the profound connections motherhood could foster among women, even women who don’t know each other in real life.

My essay is about witnessing a mom of four smack-dab in the middle of her anger and wanting her to know that she is not alone. She yelled, she shoved, she stomped, but instead of judgement, I found myself feeling compassion for this woman because I’ve been there — we all have. I hope you find something in the piece that resonates with you and if you do, please share it.

Thanks for reading!


18 comments on “To the Furious Mom in the Target Parking Lot on Brain, Child

  1. aabidakhan

    Hi there. Just enjoyed your blog “to the furious mom in the Target parking lot”. The lady you write about was me a few weeks ago but in the walmart! I’m a mum of 3 from London touring the USA hopefully for a full six months – we are 8 weeks into our journey. Have had some great adventures with the three little ones – aged 4, 2 and 11 months – some laughs, some major tantrums and some public meltdowns! And just as you try to reason with them and your thinking “yes I’ve got this under control” they switch on you and that’s you know you have to give up! We’ve just arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m blogging the adventure too. Will be making our way west up to California too. Keep writing I’ve enjoyed reading!


    • Thanks so much! What an adventure you’re on. I always say, they can meltdown at home or they can meltdown in China so let’s go to China. Will check out your blog as well. Happy travels.


  2. I enjoyed your piece Avery much as it hit very close to home. It’s great to know I’m not alone, but I can’t help think you actually saw ME at target that day. I ask you with all honesty, were you at the target in San Rafael over this past summer? I’m sure this was me. It was not one of my finer moments, but thankfully, after I apologized for losing my temper, we all had a good laugh. I try to never judge another parent and I appreciate your message. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I only got through the first few sentences before my eyes began to swell with tears. motherhood…. is the most amazing, gratifying thing I have ever done. and yet sometimes I loathe being a stay at home mom. I have three kids, four and under and daddy is deployed more than he is home. I feel like a single parent basically, but with the luxury of financial support. I’ve been that lady, more times than I’d like to admit. Our life overwhelms me sometimes and doing it mostly on my own is so very hard. I know things will get easier, I know daddy won’t always be gone, I know I won’t always have to give every second of my day and energy and attention away to everyone but myself, but in the midst of it all it can be hard to see the light. I see it though. I see it in tiny smiles and I hear it in the random I love you’s and giggles. I feel it in the tight little hugs and in the silence of our bed time cuddles. I know my anger affects my children and it hurts me much more than it could ever hurt them. I know I love my kids more than anything in the whole world and I wouldn’t trade them for absolutely anything. Recently we had an incident where my little one was rushed to the hospital and had to be monitored for a few hours. The thought of her not being ok… there are no words. Thank God she is fine. I had been consciously working on my anger prior to that event but since that day I have a much stronger hold on it. Everyday with my precious babies is a gift. I will never have this day again. And I remind myself of that when the diapers hit the fan and all three of them are freaking out and screaming over God knows what. I chose to be their mommy, they did not choose me. And for that reason, I owe them my best. Thank you for this post. Just another reminder that I do indeed need to keep myself in check. ❤


    • This is just so beautiful, really. Thank you for sharing. It’s so so hard to keep it all in perspective especially in the moment, I know. It sounds like you have so much love for your kids and understand how fleeting this time is. Doesn’t mean you’re always going to keep it together and that’s okay to acknowledge too. I hope you can find a little self-compassion. You deserve it.


  4. Jennifer Yates

    This post brought me to tears very quickly. I have a 2.5 year old SUPER active boy with a mild speech delay (so either he listens selectively or doesn’t understand everything… Either way, no fun) and a 10 week old. At times I wonder if this is postpartum hormones or am I just emotionally inept sometimes. Either way, it’s amazing to read something I can so strongly relate to. I’ve always been an even keeled person but motherhood is hard and we all need to acknowledge that. My emotions can get away from me and I’m learning how to manage that. There are so many mamas who make it look so easy but we all have our struggles. Thank you for this validation that I am not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story Jennifer. It’s so important that we remind each other that we’re in this together — you are not alone! Those emotions can overwhelm us, for sure, even the awesome ones. It’s not ineptitude; it’s being human. xx


  5. I saw your essy via face book scarry mommy via Huffington post…and I want to say thank you I needed a reminder that there were mom’s out there that cared..hope u don’t mind but I’m going to share my story of the opposite spectrum. ..I have a almost 2 year old who has always wakes up grumpy 97% of the time and I mean GRUMPY (this has shown me that my husband comes by it naturally and I have more patients for him now too)….and I went shopping to good will my LO was sleeping and I waited till she woke up from a nap and took a grumpy child in and a hungry 3mth old I wore and fed the 3 mth and the 2 yr screamed she is one of the loud 9 new u can hear across the store…I had people walk by saying thanks a lot lady..I had a few come up asking if I needed help and I said no thanks were fine…and after 20 min I had this lady come up to me and say I’m a child worker a child psychologist I have a university degree your child has been crying for 20 min and you are doing psychological damages she’s talking to you listen to her” I said were fine she’s just over tired (my child has been crying for 20 min I couldn’t think of what to say to this lady forcing her words on me) she’s said “then you HAVE to leave and take her home just go” she left my daughter stoped crying went for her soother and another strange lady comes at least goes to her le El and asks if she’s okay and not a big surprise she stars screaming again..another lady offers to take baby so I can take and hold her i decline and say we’re fine e erroneous leave us alone u are making it worse…they leave murdering I’m glad u aren’t my mother…then the lady who offered to hold baby comes back and gives my 2 yr old a cookie asks me while giving it to my child surprise she stoped crying unfortunately I let my daughter have because I was emotionally done….to these people I want to say (sorry for sarcasm ) thank you for teaching my daughter 1. To scream and you will receive cookies 2. Sure take cookies from stranger 3. When a mother says she is fine BELIVE HER she has this child every day and knows how to handle her ..I’m sorry I rather my child cry in a store then in a car causing her sibling to cry and all she did was wake up she didn’t need to be the lovely lady with a degree I have a few choose words for you..1. Guess what I have a degree too 2. If u were watching u would have seen me ask my daughter about every 5 min if she was ok and her push me away and to leave her alone and I respectfully gave what she asked for 3. The way you said all ur info tells me ur probably not a mother 4. I was standing behind my daughter because in her fits she can swing back and knock her head on the floor there was also a square leg that she could of hit I was protecting my child….just wait juuust wait and finally to the one lady who did it right thank you…for asking if I was ok and left me alone for hovering incase I needed you because your heart was breaking at hearing a child cry for aproching us when she was smiling talking me saying it broke ur heart to hear her crying and when I said I understand you replied yes I bet you do…I need to get over this it’s been a couple of weeks but it still gets me so aggravated what do you do when someone tells..In this case demands you how to parent…I’m thankful I don’t have mommy blues cuz it would have sent me over the edge…I have only come up with saying you need a different approach but I don’t think that’s enough…I know I’m going to get this again because I’m ok with my children crying in public because that’s the alternative to staying at home and I’m not going to give candy for good behavior or sooth them because I said they couldn’t have that..sigh


    • Thanks for reading and sharing your story Nancy. I think we all know what we can handle in terms of our children melting down and I applaud you for knowing your own children, how to respond to them, communicate with them and keep them safe while they’re having so many intense emotions. I know it’s hard when strangers tell us what to do or how to do something parenting related — everyone has an opinion! What’s important is knowing what we, as moms, as parents, can handle emotionally when our kids are triggering us. It’s different for everyone.


  6. Thethreeandme

    This beautiful entry made me cry. Just tonight my eight year old asked me why I get so angry from time to time. He asked why I go quiet and barely say anything at that time. To be clear, when I am angry, overwhelmed, stressed out, my first instinct is to grit my teeth and scream. I thought that by taking a moment to calm down and respond to their non-stop questions with a half smile and calming tones was a hug win in my column. These kids still see it though. I worry that it effects them just the same as it would if I did allow myself to lose my temper. Sadly I just feel like a failure as a mother who, ironically, devotes her life to her children’s well-being 😦


    • Heather, thank you so much for reading and sharing. I’m so sorry you’re feeling like a failure, but I also know you’re doing the best you can. I’ve also tried the “going quiet” strategy and my kids couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on! Now, I tell them that I’m frustrated/annoyed/angry and that I need a minute. Kids understand emotions and I think it’s okay to let them know how we feel and that it’s okay to have those feelings as a child or an adult. Stay strong, mama.


  7. Thank you for being so unflinchingly honest! I shared this essay link on my facebook page with a blurb in response.

    I’ve been the Mom flipping my pancake. And I’ve been the Mom who who went over to the raw and overwhelmed Mom and said “I have SO been there. How can I help?”

    Whether you are a parent or not, if you see an overwhelmed Mom or Dad – please offer to help. Distract the tantruming child, offer sympathy, connect somehow and please DO NOT JUDGE. 

    One day I was shopping with “my” two boys and a wonderful teenage girl who helps us sometimes. (yes, a co-wrangler is sometimes necessary) The boys were being tiny maniacs and she was trying to tell me a story and I was trying to remember what else we needed because of course I forgot my list and suddenly everything was too much and I yelled at them. “Enough! It’s too much!”

    They all continued to talk but a Grandpa nearby walked over and quietly said “Go for a walk. Just take a minute” I told the girl she was in charge and not to move and that I needed something from the next aisle. I stomped down two aisles crying with exhaustion and frustration until I could breathe without feeling like I was drowning.

    No more than 2 minutes passed when I returned and found the trio just fine, and the Grandpa about 20′ away keeping a benevolent eye on them. I smiled and said thank you so much. He smiled and nodded and off he went. Two minutes of his time changed the rest of our day.It does take a village to raise a child.

    (and no, he wasn’t a creepy old pedophile dude trying to lure me away so he could abduct them. He was small enough the two year old could have kicked his a$$ and the teenage girl can be counted on to keep them safe for 2 minutes. Just in case anyone went down the worry path)


    • That’s a great story Stephanie – thanks for sharing. It really makes a difference when we help each other out AND we allow ourselves to accept the help. It’s about compassion, not judgement, and that’s exactly what the man in the store offered you.


  8. Lisa- This post resonated with me so much, I was all choked up at the end. Thank you for writing such a perfect piece about one of the ups and downs of parenting. I wanted to jump into the article and give that mom a hug. I write a blog on the other side of the tunnel from you – – would you mind if I re-posted your piece later in the week?


  9. This was so nice to read. This woman could have been me. We have all been there. We are trying to be strong Mommas and Pappas braving our way through parenthood.
    It’s nice to not have the judgement and know everyone has a bad day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by Flingo! It really is about compassion, not judgement, because we’ve all been in those extremely challenging situations where we hardly recognize ourselves. And yes, I do believe we’re all trying our best.


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