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An Open Letter to Moms Who Write Open Letters

Hey there, mama... yeah, it's me. The one who really offended you, so much so that you wrote me an open letter. Listen, I'm sorry. I truly am. I didn't mean to cause you such hurt. I can explain.
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Hey there, mama... yeah, it's me. The one who really offended you, so much so that you wrote me an open letter. Listen, I'm sorry. I truly am. I didn't mean to cause you such hurt. I can explain.

So you were getting out of the car at your favorite family restaurant with your special needs son and you saw me roll my eyes and say, "Oh great" before getting back in the car and squealing out of the parking lot. Yep, that was me. I'm mortified.

And then that time you were breastfeeding at that concert, and I made a "tsk-ing" noise and shook my head. That was me again. You glared daggers at me, and I felt my face turn bright red.

Then there was the time you and your little boy were coming out of the nail salon as I was coming in, and, upon seeing his toes painted lavender I said, "You've got to be kidding me!" You shoved past me and were out of the salon like a shot.

I totally get why you felt the need to write me all those open letters. You must think I'm the worst. I might feel the same in your situation.

But what you couldn't possibly have known is that that time you were getting out of the car at that restaurant with your son, I was looking past you. I'm sorry to say it hardly registered that the two of you were there, much less that your son had special needs. I was too caught up in my own problems. My daughter was about to get out of the car, too, but inside the restaurant I saw my ex and his new girlfriend. I didn't want to start any trouble, and I didn't want my daughter to see him like that, so, I made that comment -- for only the benefit of myself -- and had to get back in the car and make up an excuse why we had to go to the franchise across town instead of that one.

That time you were breastfeeding your little one at the concert, you must have thought my disdain was towards your public feeding of your baby. Honestly, I could care less when and how you feed your baby. Whatever works for you and the little, go with God. In fact, what happened was I was flipping through the program. You were surely as eager as I was to hear Benjamin Britten's masterworks, and well, maybe I reacted too strongly, but how can you give the man his due without the transcendent "For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry"? I know it's kind of silly, but honestly, the possibility of hearing that was the only thing that got me out of bed that morning. To see that it wasn't going to be performed was a disappointment.

At the nail salon, your son picked the exact same color I was going to have for my pedicure. I know there's nothing wrong with that, but for once I thought I was ahead of the fashion curve. It was the end of a really long day, and I just wanted a win, a little victory for myself. When I said, "You've got to be kidding me," my surprise wasn't at a boy wearing nail polish (again, I honestly don't care. Live your life! Be happy!), it was at the chances of your son having read the same issue of Vogue UK as I had, with its feature on pale pastels for spring.

I completely understand your position. You go into battle every day for your babies, fighting for the unique needs of each of your kids. I get that the smaller injustices are that much harder to take when you're dealing with bigger challenges. I get why you'd be quick to take the hurt for your dear little ones, and eager to spotlight wrongs in an effort to make their world just a little easier.

But please, trust me. I'm on your side here. Most of us are. Yes, some people are truly terrible. But most aren't. Few of us are actually evil. Few of us actually judge so cruelly. Honestly, few of us care that much about how you raise your kids or live your life. We're mostly too self-involved. We're mostly just as tired as you are.

If I promise to be more conscientious when getting wrapped up in my own life, so that my problems have less of a chance to spill over into yours, will you please try to think a little better of us? Let's make a pact to assume that we are all on this earth trying to do our best. When I roll my eyes, I promise you, it's not about you. It's about me. It's about my life and how it's just as imperfect as the next woman's. So let's all make an effort to error on the side of assuming the best. We might be wrong once in a while, but we'll be happier. My life will be better, our kids will have healthier coping skills, and you, dear mama, your life will be so much easier if you focus on fighting the real battles you must fight for your children, rather than the imagined ones.

And if someone actually is horrible to your child and I'm there to see it? Sister, I've got your back.