‘This is motherhood’ – tears, tantrums and days that are too hard

There’s a smile on her face, but the tears betray any thought that this mother is having a good day. In fact, she’s having a shocker. One of those days where being a mum is far removed from sticky kisses and warm cuddles. It’s about survival – wading through the thick mud of motherhood that reduces us to tears. 

Aly Brothers was having one of those days last week, but instead of bottling it all up, she’s let it all out in a heartfelt Facebook post. It’s raw, it’s powerful and we’ve pretty much all been there.


The US mother of two gorgeous little boys snapped the picture of herself, complete with yesterday’s makeup and tear-stained cheeks, after a trying day with her toddlers. Motherhood is hard, she’s says. Single-motherhood is hard.

Some days are harder to handle than others

“These tears started as the cashier of Giant Eagle handed me my receipt and continued for the entire drive home,” she explains. “Tears that were passed on to my oldest in the backseat because he doesn’t like to see his mommy cry.”

Aly says her day started off on the wrong foot when there was no milk in the fridge, so she headed out with her boys at 8am. And here’s a break-down of what followed:

  • “My youngest cried almost the entire time we were in the store. He didn’t want to sit in the cart, he didn’t want to be buckled, he wanted to hold all the groceries on his lap. He got mad.”
  • “He threw his shoe, he threw my wallet, he threw the three groceries that did fit on his lap. And he cried. And people stared. That was fine, I could handle that.”
  • “My three-year-old wanted to be Superman and stand on the cart. That was fine. I told him to hold on and stand straight. He did not. He fell off, he leaned backwards and knocked things off their displays. He leaned back and bumped a stranger.”
  • “Then I made him get down and he walked too far ahead of me and opened all the freezer section doors telling me all the things he wanted to get. I tried to handle that. I stopped multiple times and composed myself and my children.”
  • “The lady that I stopped and moved to the side of the aisle for glared at me because I moved the wrong way, she needed behind me not in front of me. No words, just a glare. I tried to handle that.”
  • “And then we saw balloons. Oh how my kids love balloons. They wanted the huge ones that cost $8. I compromised. We would get one balloon and share. They agreed. They each said “share” and smiled as I picked the biggest Mickey Mouse balloon they had. But while we were checking out they did not want to share.”
  • “They screamed, they cried, they fought. I handed the balloon to another cashier to be put back and they cried louder. My youngest pushed buttons on the card machine while my oldest picked up candy.”
  • “The people in line behind me glared. The cashier glared.”
  • “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.”

This is motherhood. No fancy filters, no good lighting, no new lipstick. It's messy hair that's wet from the rain,…

Posted by Aly Brothers on Sunday, 21 August 2016

And that’s when it all fell apart for Aly. She broke down. “They don’t know me. They don’t know me as a mother. They don’t know my children … the glares and whispers and judgments are hard.”

She goes on to implore anyone who sees a parent struggling, with tantrum-throwing children, to stop and say something nice. “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.”

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