It’s tough being a single parent, and it’s even harder now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. MaryAnn Resendez, 41, knows this all too well. She’s a single parent to a five-year-old daughter, and she can’t leave her alone at home while she runs errands.
While it’s what any good mother would do, MaryAnn knew that not everyone would understand, so she came up with a way to avoid the judgy looks of the “parenting police.”
MaryAnn didn’t want to deal with judgemental people while she’s grocery shopping with BellaRose, her daughter. So, she created a sign explaining why the kid had to come with her to the supermarket.
“I am only 5,” the mom wrote on a piece of paper. “I can’t stay home alone so I have to buy groceries with Mommy… Before you start judging, stay back 6′ feet.”
She then attached the sign on her daughter’s back as they entered the grocery store.
“I didn’t want to deal with the comments and the looks,” MaryAnn, who lives in McAllen, Texas, told TODAY Parents. about the sign. “I’m already under so much stress right now. I wanted to avoid judgment.”
The clever disclaimer worked. The single parent and her kid didn’t receive any looks and unsolicited comments. Knowing there are many others like her, MaryAnn took to Facebook to share her trick. She uploaded a photo of Bellarose sitting on a cart with the sign plastered on her back.
MaryAnn admitted in the post that she felt pressured to explain why she had to take a kid with her outside during a global crisis. As a single parent, she knew she could easily be a target for misguided judgments.
“The sign I made her wear cuz i just know some dumba** will take a picture & talk s**t on social media not knowing all the facts,” she wrote.
Many people related to MaryAnn’s message. The post quickly went viral and has been shared more than 43,000 times.
“I’m overwhelmed by the response,” MaryAnn said about the post. “It’s a lot of, ‘I’m in the same boat as you. I understand.'”
Many of the commenters said they would do the same thing the next time they go out.
“I love this and may need to use this as I have a 5 year old too and 4 other kids that of course I haven’t gone to the store because of this!!!” commented one user.
Others shared their unfortunate encounters with close-minded people.
“The looks I got in Walmart today were unreal! I suppose I’m supposed to either leave a 1 & 5 yr old at home alone or starve them and not go to the store,” one said.
In a separate Facebook post, MaryAnn detailed the 14-step shopping protocol she follows whenever she has to go outside with BellaRose. She hopes her tips will help others.
While it’s sad that MaryAnn felt the need to justify her actions, it’s completely understandable why she did so. People can be judgmental, and no one wants to deal with that right now, especially at a time like this when we’re supposed to be looking out for each other.
Kudos for being a great mom, MaryAnn. You did the right thing!