Allison Brothers popped into the supermarket for a gallon of milk with her toddlers in tow on August 21. Twenty minutes later, the mom of Bentley, 3, and Levi, 20 months, snapped a selfie of herself crying in the Giant Eagle parking lot.

“This is motherhood. No 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,” the 22-year-old wrote in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

“My youngest cried almost the entire time we were in the store. He didn’t want to sit in the cart, he didn’t want to be buckled, he wanted to hold all the groceries on his lap. He got mad. He threw his shoe, he threw my wallet, he threw the three groceries that did fit on his lap. And he cried. And people stared,” Brothers shared. 

While Levi was melting down, Bentley decided he wanted to be Superman and stand on the cart. “I told him to hold on and stand straight. And he did not. He fell off, he leaned backwards and knocked things off their displays. He leaned back and bumped a stranger,” wrote the flower delivery driver. Then Bentley barreled down the frozen-food section, opening all the freezer doors.

Next, the children spotted balloons. “Oh how my kids love balloons. They wanted the huge ones that cost $8.00. I compromised. We would get one ballon and share. They agreed. They each said ‘share’ and smiled as I picked the biggest Mickey Mouse balloon they had,” Brothers revealed. “But while we were checking out they did not want to share. They screamed, they cried, they fought. I handed the balloon to another cashier to be put back and they cried louder.”

At no point did anyone inside the store offer to help the single mom. Instead, Brothers was met with icy stares. “One older gentleman whispered, ‘she’s too pretty for two young kids,’ and I lost it,” Brothers wrote. “They don’t know me. … 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 mom. It’s hard people.”

She continued: “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 judgment. 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 received 29,000 likes, more than 3,000 comments and more than 15,000 shares. 

Brothers tells Us Weekly she left her husband in October 2015. “Bentley told his dad, ‘Don’t hurt my mommy,’” says Brothers. “I packed and left the next day.” And though she has never regretted her decision, being a single parent is a daily struggle.

“There is no break. I play mom and dad 24 hours a day. I literally have to ask myself if getting my hair cut is worth taking two children to the salon with me,” she tells Us. “There is no relief coming home after work. There isn’t an extra set of eyes watching them play while I cook dinner.”

“I am not complaining, though,” she says. “I wouldn’t change a single thing about our journey. My sons love me more than anything else in the world, and I love them even more than that.”

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