This is Aly Brothers, a 22-year-old mom of two in West Virginia.
Her kids — 3-year-old Bentley and 20-month-old Levi — are adorable, but they can also be a handful. "They’re very cute, they have more good days than bad. But the bad days, man, they take a toll," Brothers told BuzzFeed News.
One of those bad days came on Aug. 21. However, it was the judgment of the people around Brothers that finally pushed her to tears.
She'd taken the boys on an early morning grocery run for milk, but Bentley and Levi were definitely not in the mood.
"We got to the store and they really just didn’t want to be there," said Brothers.
Levi didn't want to sit in the cart and started throwing things — his shoes, her wallet — and crying. Bentley, meanwhile, ran ahead to open the freezers and knocked a few items around. Brothers kept her cool though because, as any parent knows, sometimes this is just what kids do.
At least, she did until they got to the cashier. The boys started fighting over a balloon and everyone around her began glaring. Then an older gentleman whispered, "She's pretty young for two kids." That's when she lost it.
"I just sat in my car and put my hands on the steering wheel and just cried," she said.
Bentley wanted to know why she was sad and she explained that they'd misbehaved and the people in the store weren't nice about it.
"Then he started crying and said, 'Mommy I want you to be happy,'" said Brothers. "I thought I’d take a photo of this moment to look back on when I have a worse day or a better day. Just to remember."
She shared the photo on Facebook with this message: Stop judging parents, especially when you know nothing about their lives.
"This is motherhood. No fancy filters, no good lighting, no new lipstick. It's messy hair that's wet from the rain, yesterday's makeup that I was too tired to wash off, and tears," she wrote.
"Motherhood is HARD. Single-motherhood is HARD."
She also said that the judgment from strangers was especially hard because she was once in an abusive marriage. While she had the strength to walk away and choose single parenthood, it wasn't her plan.
"They don't know me. They don't know me as a mother. They don't know my children. 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," she wrote.
And the ending of her post is just perfect:
Sometimes I can control my children and sometimes I can't. Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don't. Sometimes I can handle it and sometimes I break down. I know these days will pass, the tears will stop, the fighting will cease, and my babies will be grown. And that will be hard too.
So if you see a parent struggling, if you see a kid throwing a tantrum, if you see a mom on the verge of tears...please say something nice. Please don't glare with judgement. 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.
The post has been shared nearly 15,000 times and Brothers said she's received messages from all over the world from parents who've been there, too.
"One mom wrote, 'I am in the bathroom at work crying having a day like yours,'" said Brothers.
She thinks people can relate because people are so quick to judge parents.
"I think parents get judged for every move they make, regardless," she said. "Every single parent has been in that situation, it’s just the nature of having children."
She added: "You can’t control them, you can’t make them feel or think a certain way. So if you’re constantly trying to make other people believe you have a perfect life and perfect children, you’ll never truly be happy."