I don’t know about you, but some of my most disgraceful parenting moments tend to happen when I’m out in public with my twin boys. Yeah, we’re usually at the market when they decide to act like psychopaths, running up and down the aisles, or just crashing into things with the cart that they’ve hijacked from me while I’m perusing cheeses. I’ve determined that the friendly folks at my neighborhood supermarket probably think I’m some enraged crazy lady with all the yelling and screaming and crying (yes, crying) that I sometimes do at checkout. (In fact, the other day, the guy bagging my groceries said that he was surprised I hadn’t bought more wine.) Then, as I’m pushing the cart to the car, while simultaneously death-gripping my children’s small hands, I end up growling at them through clenched teeth that “We are never, ever, EVER coming back here EVER again.” And then I cry…again.
This is just an example. I’ve also had moments where I’m screaming at them to get in the freaking car already or to stop, stop, stop running! There have been times when I’ve had to grab their arms with all of my superhuman mom strength to keep them from darting out into the street. I would never, ever hurt my kids, but sometimes, especially when they were younger, I had to pick them up off of the parking lot concrete and struggle to get them in the car while they screamed and kicked and threw a tantrum. It wasn’t pretty.
But thank god I never had cameras following me! Thank God there weren’t paparazzi just waiting to snap me in a low parenting moment. That’s what happened to Charlize Theron, though, when Ok! Magazine ran a story this week, referring to the award-winning actress as a “Monster Mom.” In the photos, which they had a “relationship expert” analyze and scrutinize, Charlize is trying to get her tantrum-ing son to go to his dance class. In typical toddler fashion, he’s lying on the ground, he’s resisting, and he’s pulling away. You can see her trying to wrangle him and, yeah, she looks frustrated, but what parent doesn’t get frustrated when their kid is throwing a fit? Also, did I mention they’re in a parking lot? I don’t know about her son, but when my kids would be in a fit of rage, it wasn’t uncommon for them to try to run away, even on the street! I would use whatever physical means necessary to keep them safe, including grabbing and gripping them with all my might.
It’s bad enough that actresses have to deal with the unscrupulous looks-shaming, their bikini bodies picked apart because, god forbid, they have a little cellulite. Now, the tabloids are gonna “mom shame” then, too? Come on, we’ve all been there! We all know exactly what these moments look like and feel like. And, thankfully, Charlize has gotten a ton of support from the online community, while the magazine has gotten a “shame on you.”
That’s because we moms know how it is and, most of us, support each other. I used to be mortified if I yelled or threw shade at my kids in public. Now, I don’t even worry about it because half the time, there’s some other mom looking on with a sympathetic smile. I get that silent support that we all need, just to know that we’re not alone. No kids are perfect, no moms are perfect, and while it would be nice if we could practice patient parenting 100 percent of the time, it’s just not realistic. We’re all going to have bad days. We should all just be grateful no one’s trying to capture our mortifying moments on film.
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