Sep. 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM ET
Dear Matt Walsh,
Today, you are our hero. On behalf of every parent who’s ever dealt with a DEFCON 5 toddler meltdown in aisle 3, we salute you. Your letter defending a mom and unruly kid in the grocery store is pretty much everything we ever wished to say to holier-than-thou busybodies, but never could because our kid was screaming too loud. Also, we were too busy wanting to die.
To recap: you met a young fan of your Lexington, KY radio show at the grocery store. Later, when you and the fan bumped into a woman with a screaming child, the fan felt like he was in enough with you to make a get-a-load-of-this comment: “Man, some people need to learn how to control their f**king kids.”
Oh no, he did not.
You, a father to young twins yourself, surprised him by telling him to shut up and mind his own business. You were rewarded with a nasty e-mail threatening to expose you to your listeners, which prompted your own up-yours masterpiece—an open letter to the childless fan:
“…your type: the non-parent who thinks, if they ever have kids, they’ll discover the secret formula that will prevent their hypothetical son or daughter from ever crying in front of other people. Then they promptly scrutinize and chastise real parents for not having this fake, imaginary, impossible, nonexistent formula. This sort of non-parent doesn’t realize that, unless they plan on using a muzzle and a straightjacket, there is nothing they can do to tantrum-proof their toddler.”
The mom Matt met in the store from your letter could have been one of us—at least on our very best parenting day. She’s our hero too, for killing it with the discipline, as Walsh describes:
“She had a cart full of groceries, a kid riding along, and another one walking beside her. Well, he wasn’t really walking so much as convulsing and thrashing about like he’d invented some bizarre, angry interpretive dance. He was upset about something, from what I gathered it had to do with a certain lucky cereal he wished to acquire, but which his mother refused to purchase."
The mom, he continues, stuck to her guns, even though she could have easily caved into bribery.
"The occasional meltdown is unavoidable, the real test is how you deal with it. This mother handled it like a pro. She was like mom-ninja; she was calm and poised, but stern and in command.”
So, Matt Walsh, consider this our thank-you for standing up for something that is, as you say, “the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.” And Mom Ninja, whoever you are, we hope your kid stopped crying by the time you hit checkout.
Parents of Imperfect Children Everywhere
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.