A single mother has encapsulated the horror of a shopping trip with her two sons in a heartbreakingly honest Facebook post.
Aly Brothers, from the US, shared a photo of herself in tears after a chaotic trip to the supermarket where her boys constantly played up.
The situation caused her to reflect on single motherhood as a whole and those parents who struggle to make it through each day.
“This is motherhood,” she wrote. “No fancy filters, no good lighting, no new lipstick.
“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.”
Brothers explained she had headed to the supermarket with her two sons at 8am because they were out of milk.
Her youngest son cried the entire time they were in the store and threw his shoe, her wallet and the food out of the trolley.
Her three-year-old wanted to be ‘Superman’, stood on the trolley when he was told not too, fell off and knocked over food displays.
Soon after, her boys saw balloons and started fighting because they did not want to share the balloons.
“They screamed, they cried, they fought,” Brothers continued.
“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.”
Brothers said she grabbed her receipt, ran out the store and cried, frustrated at being judged by people who don’t know her.
“They don’t know me as a mother. They don’t know my children,” she wrote.
“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. It’s hard people.
“The glares and whispers and judgments are hard. Sometimes I can control my children and sometimes I can’t.”
Brothers urged others to say something nice to parents struggling, rather than judge them immediately.
“Please don’t glare with judgement,” she added. “And to all mums 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.”
The Facebook post, shared on Sunday 21 August, was shared nearly 14,000 times within eight days.
Brothers was showered with praise for being brave enough to speak out, as well as being recognised as a brilliant single mother.
“You are a beautiful person and an awesome mummy,” one person wrote.
“Being a single mother is extremely hard some days, but we also get twice the love, and hugs and kisses.
“You’re doing great and thank you for sharing those raw emotions that many of us have felt.”
Other single parents related to Brothers’ post.
“I go through this all the time,” one mother wrote. “It’s horrible and you can just feel the judgement. My two-year-old is very strong-willed.
“These people that judge have no empathy. We all have these days… some just don’t want to admit it. You got this.”