The Claws Came Out at Wal-Mart….

Okay, so they didn’t actually come out, but oh, how I wanted them to.

This is Erica here by the way. I just got back from an ever so eventful trip to Wal-Mart, thanks to my two-year-old, Christian, who is a pro at throwing tantrums at grocery stores.

Sometimes I am able to diffuse his fits. Other times he is just too tired and none of my attempts will quiet his cries or stop him from screaming.  It’s frustrating. I do know that it bothers people around me and I really do try to calm him down. At the same time, I have two other children with me to keep tabs on, groceries to put into my cart, and tons of people to maneuver around.

I am used to getting judging looks from others. I usually just shrug them off. But this afternoon, I had an older man glare right at me, while my son was crying, and say to me, “Unbelievable. You are unbelievable.”

I replied rather loudly, “Excuse Me?!?” He ignored me and walked on. It took me a minute to get over the initial hurt and shock and then I turned my cart around and raced after him, with my older two kids trying their best to keep up with me.

I went right up to the man and again said, “Excuse me?!? What did you say to me?”

He didn’t even turn his head, he looked straight ahead and quickly said, “I didn’t say anything.”

So many thoughts raced through my head. I wanted to say something, anything that would make him realize that it is not okay to judge people and that we moms are doing the best that we can. I wanted him to realize that sometimes our kids have tantrums, sometimes they are tired, sometimes we moms are just doing all that we can to get our groceries and get out of the store without losing our minds.

I wanted him to also realize that he doesn’t know my story. He doesn’t know who I am, or anything about my kids. There could be a whole slew of reasons for my son’s behavior. I think that is what upset me the most. He had found it completely acceptable to instantly judge me and my children.

I didn’t say any of those things, I just turned around and walked away, silently fuming.

Have you ever had something similar happen? What did you do? If you had been in my situation, would you have said something to the man?


  1. says

    Erica, we have so all been there. Tantrums in the public are awful and when some idiot stranger says something like that… well… it’s enough to throw us moms into a full rage!

  2. says

    Those kinds of experiences can leave you feeling really hurt. I had some lady chase me down at the grocery store once just to call me a nasty human being because I accidentally left my shopping cart in a handicap parking stall while I was frantically trying to get my 5 year old home because he was having an asthma attack. I try and remind myself of that experience when I’m tempted to judge others because we all do it but usually first impressions are not accurate.

  3. says

    How about “You may think this is unbelieveable, but he will grow up and out of this phase, you, however, will have a tough time growing out of your rude judgemental attitude at your age.” OK, it’s best to just walk away and pray he will see the light one day.

  4. says

    With my youngest hitting 19 months we’ve seen more tantrums. It’s so horrible at times. I couldn’t imagine being in that moment but I would have been like you. If he had kids he’d understand, I know I do when I see it. I know exactly how it feels. Horrible!!

  5. Jennifer Hunt says

    What a horrible experience, I hate when people give you glares like that.. like you said.. they have no idea what’d going on with the kids..

  6. Lynne says

    I commend you Erica, because I assure you I would have said something far nastier than what you said. Suffice it to say that in his generation the men did NONE of the child rearing so he just has no idea. He also has no idea how already embarrassed and mortified you are that your child is throwing a fit in the store. For what its worth accept my apology for his complete lack of respect for you as a Mother and fellow human being.

  7. says

    My grandson’s are guilty of doing the same thing. The day could be going along perfectly and we hit Wal-Mart or any other grocery store and they go into major meltdown mode. No matter what I do they simply can’t be consoled. Leaving the store is usually not an option because I wouldn’t have gone unless I was desperate so I just mutter my way through, make it as painless and quick as possible, and say a few prayers that others will understand. IF I encounter someone who is less than understanding then I make sure to follow them around in the store as much as I can so they can be even more tormented than they were to begin with.

  8. Teresa M says

    My daughter is now 5 but I remember one time back during the terrible twos my daughter had a meltdown in a dollar store. Nothing I could end her tantrum. I had many people say things to me to the point I said “If you all think you can be a better parent than me, than you just try.” They all scurried off as fast as they could go.

  9. Angela says

    I has the people in the room next to us on the cruise call and have the ship”police” come to our room because my 2 boys(8&6) were being to loud in the 8×12 room (not sure how big but small). I had a few choice words for that woman. I told her that I am sure she is the perfect mother with the perfect brats and they were such good children that they did not even bring them on the cruise. I also told her don’t that a family cruise if you don’t want kids around.

    My few favorite lines are.
    -I know that they are the most handsome things you have ever seen. You must agree since you can’t take your eyes off them.

    -My son has autism what is your kids excuse

  10. says

    LIke all moms, I too have had my fair share of kid disruptions in the store. One lady in particular still sticks in my mind even though it happened almost 10 years ago. While my son was fussing, she says something like, “In our day, we didn’t allow our children to act in such a bothersome way.” I was already frustrated so my words were not the most graceful. “”Mam, my son needs someone to hold him while I finish my shopping, would you be interested?” She didn’t answer. :o)
    I won’t forget the day in Wal-Mart that a mom with a sweet little special needs daughter was trying to get a few groceries. Her daughter obviously had ticts & made very loud repetive noises that were super loud. The mom was doing her best to shop as fast as she could, you could tell that she knew her daughter was bothering others. My heart broke for this sweet mom because she saw the stares & heard the comments made by others. Her love for her daughter was obvious as she spoke softly to her & carrassed her cheek trying to quiet her to no avail. Those shopping near her were so rude, I just wanted to cry.

    • says

      Wow… I LOVE what you said to her. So brilliant.

      And I can’t even imagine how and why people are rude to mothers in grocery stores. Seriously???? What is wrong with them?

  11. says

    I’ve had tons of people say stuff to me. I live in NY! I am not so nice and talk back. Kids will be kids and if people can’t deal with it you don’t need to walk by me. Plain and simple.

  12. says

    Oh how I hate people that make snide comments like that. I’ve had it happen to me before, almost always in the grocery store, and almost always an old person. I usually do the same, just walk away and ignore them… but my oh my, I’d love to give them a piece of my mind someday!

  13. says

    I’ve been there and done that more times than I care to mention. Luckily, no one has ever said anything to me. I try to bring small snacks for my little man to eat, but after those run out and he gets bored, it’s anything goes. I’ve definitely learned to show more compassion to other moms struggling with trying to get things done with little ones. You never know what the situation may be. It’s not always a discipline problem. Sometimes, the child could have special needs. You just never know and it’s best to keep judgment to yourself.

  14. says

    Wow this totally hit home. I haven’t really experienced it much yet (I’m sure it’s coming) but I have very clear memories of my mother dealing with it because my sister has Tourette’s Syndrome. I’m sure you can imagine some of the stuff that came out of her mouth, and the way people reacted. (Wrote about it here if you’re interested.)

    Unfortunately I don’t think people like that man will change, no matter how we react. So sorry you had that experience.

  15. says

    i will never ever forget once in walmart we were in the dog food department and my then 3 year old son was sitting on a large bag of dog food singing and just being silly and i was huge and pregnant with baby number 4 and had my other 2 kids and mom with me and this man says you need to control your kid talking about the 3 year old sitting on dog food so i say well you need to mind you own business cause hes fine so he says your a fu*ki*g bi*ch and sorta ran off i was personally shocked i have never had anyone talk to me that way but my mom started chasing him and praying real loud and he was basically RUNNING away hahaha it was horrible and funny all that the same time lol…

  16. says

    The only tantrum I can remember (mine are 14 & 20) is when my oldest was 3 & we were in a grocery store (not Walmart) & she threw herself down on the floor & was crying and carrying on & this sweet, elderly lady walked up, looked down at Hollie & said “what’s wrong sweetie?” It kind of stunned Hollie. She stood up & didn’t make another sound during that trip.

    But everybody’s kids have bad days & no one has a right to be judging you. Forget that grumpy ole man. He doesn’t deserve any of your time being wasted on him.

  17. says

    Oh how awful and don’t you always think of a million clever things to say after the fact… when you are home three hours later. I am so sorry it happened, it is so painful… Why can’t people just encourage mums… When last did someone say to you when your kids were behaving well – “What a great job you are doing.” No they wait till everything is falling apart and then they judge you.

    A year ago my then two year old ambled out of the library entrance… and the librarian watched her and then hounded me down to say what an awful mother I was and if I couldn’t keep an eye on my kids then I shouldn’t have them… Meanwhile the toddler wandered back in and all my kids were standing round asking a million questions: “What’s going on?” “What is she saying and so on…” It was too dreadful… Well I just about died, scuttled up my kids and left in tears!!! Why didn’t she grab the wandering child – I only thought of that afterwards!!! Anyway we have been away from the library a whole year and we only just returned… I leave the little kids home with their dad… the third time back and I was just thinking that librarian must have moved jobs and who did I come face to face with: She looked at me like a python and wouldn’t help my se7en year old at all because he went to ask for books on “tanks” and she said: “She didn’t help unattended kids.” Blimey I was right there and I wanted him to ask for help on his own… you know library training and all that!!! Well that’s not going to happen now is it!!!

  18. says

    I wonder what that man would have written on “his blog” today…”i saw a kid having a tantrum in the store. it was “unbelievable” how patient and wonderful his mother was, i’m sure she was frustrated. she totally misunderstood me as i remarked under my breath about the situation then i got embarrassed and ran off since i’m so shy. i know my grandchildren are just as crazy and i miss them a lot. wish i could have helped!” ok, so that’s unlikely, but we can hope!

  19. susan mains says

    I have 5 kids. My girls are okay sometimes when we go through the store. My daughter had tripped and fell one time in Walmart a lady came over and helped me with her since I still had other kids with me that were not helping. But I also had a lady come over and tell me that if I couldn’t control my kids in the store then I shouldn’t bring them out.

    The one thing that you have to think about. You can go out at midnight and get the shopping done when it is quite and no kids, however you will get no sleep either. Or you can try to get it done when they all seem to be in a okay mood and deal with the tantrums if they are thrown.The dirty looks come and go but I wouldn’t really let them bother you too much. Your kids are not the only one throwing tantrums in the store.

  20. says

    You are awesome for chasing that man down and confronting him. Apparently he has never had to take care of a child in any capacity.

    My kids are older now but I remember the tantrum stages. I just usually ignored the glares and came to the conclusion that other people (that have a problem with my parenting) can kiss my butt! 😉

  21. kathleen says

    more often than not i’ve had people offer to help me while my kids are screaming or crying but right before christmas i had an experience similar to yours. i was at Big Lots and my child was acting like a lunatic while we were standing in line (i had let someone go before me b/c they only had one thing to buy) and my wild child was getting into one of the displays and i was trying to get him out. an older man walked by and looked at me with disgust and shook his head. clearly this guy couldn’t have ever possibly have had a child. i was too shocked to react.

  22. HighlandMummy says

    This has happened to me before on several occasions, particularly with my two youngest (out of 3) children. My middle son has special needs and has difficulty controlling his emotions and will scream/cry loudly over anything that does not go his way. The way my husband and I manage it and has been told by professionsl to manage it is to tell him to stop in a firm voice at eye level and then if it continues, ignore it. Well one time this happened when i had the other 2 with me and needed to get stuff done at the mall and he trailed behind me crying and whining. I ignored him after repeated attempts to tell him to stop and this would not get him what he wanted. This woman came and hugged my child and then berated me for being a bad mother and ignoring his (her words) ’emotional state’. I wanted to give her an emotional state to cry about, believe me.
    Special needs or not, however, we were all once toddlers or kids that cried and had tantrums and embarassed our mothers. Pity the poor woman trying to manage, don’t berate her.If she’s at the checkout, help her unload her groceries on to the belt.

  23. says

    Oh!!! I fell for you!!! I hate it when other people (even moms) give me a bad look or ‘humph’ because my son, daughter, or both may be whiny, throwing a tantrum or whatever (all of which I ignore).
    You are right, they don’t know you or your situation or your child’s. I would love to tell a few people off at times but I feel I have to be a good example for my kids.
    Walmart is now called Hell-mart in my vocab.
    thanks for sharing!

  24. says

    We have all been there. My son once threw himself on the floor at the grocery store and a lady tripped over him! My children are not horrible but I find myself walking through the store saying “No you can’t have that!”, “Quit bugging your sister”, “Get over here NOW”..etc and I have felt the eyes on me many times. My son is now almost 15 and my daughter is 9. Most of the time my son stays home on shoppping trips but when we do go out together I am still saying the same old things!
    Hang in there. It will get easier as they get older and all of us Moms have been in your shoes. Try and ignore the jerks that have the nerve to say something.

  25. says

    I’ve had both bad and good comments while a child of mine was throwing a fit. Just recently, I took both girls to Wal-Mart (my brother had just passed away a few days earlier so I was in my own world of grief and did not even need a snide glance in my direction). My 3 year old was throwing a fit.. for what? Who knows? A man carrying one small boy saw us and just said “good God, what’s that about?!” I just looked at him and smiled and said “when it’s your son in 20 minutes throwing a fit, I hope some jerk says something stupid to you too”. Not my proudest moment…

    Another time when my 3 year old was throwing a fit for not getting something she wanted an older gentleman just stared at us. I looked at him, smiled and said, “She has to learn she can’t have everything she wants”. He smiled back and said, “Good job. If more people taught that to their children, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.” Ah. Refreshing.

  26. childfree says

    You’re all married, or at least had some help in creation of the children in your lives. Why aren’t they helping you while you goto the store?

    I am amazed at the amount of screaming and yelling that comes from children in stores…I came to shop not listen to you negotiate with your tantrum-ing 4 year old.

    • says

      As much of a luxury that would be, because I would love to go shopping without dealing with kiddos….sometimes circumstances don’t allow that, with men working..or heck sometimes even deployed for long periods of time. Sometimes we have to bring our children to the store.

  27. says

    I feel sorry for people like this. While they must have never known the frustration of raising children, they most likely did not experience the joy either. And that is a sad sad thing!!

    You held your cool well, good job at setting a great example for your children! Always a teachable moment to be had!

  28. says

    I have had my share of public tantrums. Maybe more than my share. I don’t think anyone has so blatantly criticized my parenting, though. At least not within earshot. If they did, I would be unlikely to say anything to them. But later, my husband would get an earful, let me tell you.

  29. says

    Oh yes, I’ve been there. My two are 9 and 10 but I remember a day a few years ago when one of them was throwing a total fit in the toy aisle because I’d had to buy a birthday present for one of their cousins and didn’t buy them something. I warned him that he had about 10 seconds to calm himself down, get up off the floor and to follow me because we still had a lot of shopping to do. When that didn’t happen, I took the cart and walked away. I looked up and spotted a couple staring at me in horror as I turned the corner. I stopped just around the corner, totally within eye and ear shot but he didn’t know I was there. I told the couple the same thing as another commenter. He needs to learn that he can’t have everything he wants. I don’t think it got into their heads but 2 seconds later, he came around the corner and we calmly continued our shopping trip. He wasn’t traumatized. He knew I’d never leave him but he was reminded that mom doesn’t put up with silliness during shopping trips. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve given them timeouts in the middle of the store. That’s gotten me a few looks and they hate it so much that just the mere mention of having to sit in the middle of an aisle while I get what I need in it is enough to convince them to

    • says

      Good for you, Girl!

      I admit, I do everything I can to avoid shopping with my kids for birthday gifts for other children. But lots of times you can’t avoid it.

      • says

        I avoid it whenever necessary but as a single mom, a lot of times I have to take both my boys grocery/whatever shopping with me. I have learned though that online shopping for presents is quite often cheaper and a whole lot less hassle! These days it’s just the moooooom, do we really have to go grocery shopping? My general response is [insert name here] do you reaaaallllly have to eat? *grins*

  30. says

    It is no secret about my son’s special needs when it comes to his handling of stress and behavior correction, so when we venture out in public it has most times been epic. Here is the link to my experience at K-Mart. People are often quick to judge – but you do not ever know what the person struggles with daily – not even the one doing the judging. Society needs to take a breather before they react. I feel your pain.

  31. Jaimie K says

    Also in Walmart, I had a little baby in a car seat in the cart who was overtired and crying, a lot. A man came walking down the isle, fast, and said something to the effect that it’s not about me, but the baby and I needed to get her home and feed her for [bleep] sakes. All this he said while still walking rather quickly down the isle and dissappearing around the corner. I didn’t have a chance to say anything! So obviously he was uncomfortable with being rude and didn’t want a comeback. At first I thought he was teasing, but I soon realized he wasn’t. I was SO ticked off… I couldn’t beleive someone could be so rude, ON PURPOSE! I don’t understand it. Obviously he never had kids? Or if he did… his wife did all the work! :)

  32. Jaimie K says

    Also in Walmart, I had a little baby in her car seat in the cart, overtired and crying, a lot. A man came walking down the isle, fast, and said something to the effect that it’s not about me, but the baby and I needed to get her home and feed her for [bleep] sakes. All this he said while still walking rather quickly down the isle and dissappearing around the corner. I didn’t have a chance to say anything! So obviously he was uncomfortable with being rude and didn’t want a comeback. At first I thought he was teasing, but I soon realized he wasn’t. I was SO ticked off… I couldn’t beleive someone could be so rude, ON PURPOSE! I don’t understand it. Obviously he never had kids? Or if he did… his wife did all the work! :)

  33. says

    It doesn’t take much for the Mama Bear & Grandma Bear to come out fighting with me. Just one example: The kids were teens and we stopped in Vegas for the night at Circus Circus. All seven of us (my three kids, three of their friends and me) were in the elevator going up to our room when a not so gentlemanly man entered the elevator. The boys were wearing the cardboard coin buckets on their heads and goofing around. Nice goofing mind you. No profanity or anything of the like. The elevator stopped at the man’s floor and as he exited he turned and spat some not so kind words at MY children. He didn’t know that all five feet of me was in the back of the elevator until that moment. I burst from behind the kids and gave it to him. He may to this very day look for the Mama Bear before he speaks to a child of any age.

  34. says

    I just had a similar experience on the top of the Empire State Building last week. It took us around two hours to get to the top waiting on lines and two elevators. Needless to say my three and a half year old was getting hungry, tired, and refused to pee in any of the bathrooms in the ESB. So as we were finally leaving to head down there was chaos. There was an unorganized line forming to leave and no staff to direct the unruly traffic. Finally an employee came out to talk to us and asked us all to hush. My son was in the middle of screaming at his brother to let his daddy carry him. Some 20 something foreign guy turned to us and said SHHHH. I screamed at him “hey buddy if you think you can get him to stop screaming then step up to the plate, I would be glad to have the help”. It was so frustrating and yes my claws came out too! People need to remember that they were in fact once young children that most likely did not behave at one time or another and others had to tolerate it. We need to shame them!

  35. Rosey says

    Ahahahahha, how funny that you chased him down. I bet he NEVER says a thing to someone in public again. Virtual high five to you, Erica!

  36. says

    It certainly has happened to me– one time I remember I was pregnant and someone made a rude comment to me as I was trying to get my cart and screaming boy through the check-out line. I just went to my car and cried and cried!
    Another time I tucked my son under my arm like a football because he was throwing a tantrum, and continued shopping like nothing was happening. He screamed so hard that he threw up! Luckily that time I had a kind person nearby who helped me clean it up.

  37. says

    At the time our daughter was receiving therapies and multi doctor treatment for asthma and thyroid issues. Her first year she was in the hospital a lot, and on so many steroids. Add the thyroid issues and she was overweight. I was getting groceries with both kids and an elderly lady blocked me, grabbed my arm and announced, “You are KILLING your child. I’m a nurse and you’re killing her. She’ll be dead by 10 with diabetes.”

    By the grace of God I explained to her that what she saw was only one piece of the puzzle, and that she had no idea what we’d been through, including a near death experience. I kept reiterating that, plus we had a medical team working with her. She wouldn’t hear of it and told me how horrible I was. It was awful. Finally I said thank you so much for your input but my God promised she would be an overcomer and I believe Him. I broke out of her grip and walked away.

    I asked my then 8 year old what he thought and he thought having diabetes meant she was going to die. To him, Die-abetes, plus we’d already nearly lost his sister once. He said I did a great job telling her about Jesus, but at the end I was giving her “the look you give me when you’ve had it with my choices.” He was right.

    I got home and as strong as I came across in the store, I fell apart and sobbed. But from it I realized never to judge a situation from appearances.

  38. says

    You are so TOTALLY NOT ALONE! This has happened to me several times . . . kids have no concept of “mom’s schedule,” only what makes them happy. I’ve gotten into arguments at movie theaters, grocery stores, and even at restaurants because of tantrums. One time my youngest was throwing the biggest tantrum EVER in the middle of Costco, but I didn’t have the option to walk away from the cart because I was shopping for a dinner party that night. When we reached the checkstands, of course, they were all backed up with at least 10 people in each lane. And I remember saying out loud to him, “Maybe someone will take pity on me and open up a new lane just for us.” And I swear, about 30 seconds later, I got a tap on the shoulder as a Costco employee said, “I can help you over here, ma’am.” Since then, I’ve thought about renting my son out in order to speed up shopping trips!

  39. says

    I don’t think there’s a mom out there who has not been in a store with a child throwing a tantrum. It happens. I feel sorry for those people who don’t understand and chose to judge….because they have obviously never spent time with children like we have. And what a loss that is.

  40. says

    I can’t think of a tantrum story at the moment (although I’m sure I have them), but a recent experience with unkind remarks just floored me!
    It was really cold here in December for a couple of weeks and I don’t exactly have a coat for my 9 month old. He was in the infant “bucket” seat with 3 layers of clothes – top one being a hooded sweatshirt – and a blanket wrapped around him. We were out grocery shopping and a lady was remarking on my boys and how cute they were – they were behaving at that moment! But then she noticed that the baby’s cheeks were red and asked if he was warm enough. I assured her he was, his hands were warm to the touch, he just gets red skin from our dry weather. I think I may have accidentally mentioned that I didn’t have a real coat for him, but really, you’re not supposed to put bulky coats on under car seat straps anyway and it’s not like we were out walking in the cold!
    Anyway, after buying my groceries she happened to be going to her car at the same time as me and seeing my rather old car asked me point blank if I had enough money to buy warm clothes for my baby. I assured her I did and I could get whatever I needed. She said she just wanted to help…
    While I appreciate the offer of help at least, it was the underlying sentiment that I didn’t know what was best for my baby that really rankled. Sheesh!

  41. says

    So sorry, Erica! We’ve all been there. I have to say that you’re braver than I am. I’m not a fan of confrontation so I probably would have just kept walking and tried to exit the store as quickly as possible.

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