Every parent understands the struggle that is a public toddler meltdown, but one urban mom experienced a heightened version of said struggle while on a packed New York City subway with her nearly 2-year-old daughter who is already in the throes of the Terrible Twos. The mom, who goes by slyceej on Reddit, shared with the social platform her story about being "that" mom, and how not even a kind stranger could fully help to ebb away her stress.
After struggling to get her daughter to hold her hand on the subway platform, the toddler opted for a meltdown right in the middle of the platform floor. "I'm simultaneously grossed out, because ew, and horrified about the public display," the mom wrote. "I'm trying to think how I could possibly ever get her clean again, or will I just have to cut my losses and trade her in for a clean baby, when a woman came up to me while the tantrum was still playing out, and said, 'Excuse me. That floor is really dirty.' Well, you don't say? Anyone with an eyeball can tell it's dirty. I tell her I am well aware and she looks at me like I am supposed to thank her for her entirely unhelpful bit of trivia."
The train finally comes and the pair enter the stuffed subway car, the toddler with a pouch - aka a bribe to get her off the floor - in hand.
We squeeze in and I brace against my daughter and grab hold of the pole. There is no way I can hold her in my arms safely while standing with all those people and no one offers their seat, so I determine this is the best way. We are only going two stops, I can grin and bear it. Then, with horror, I notice that she'd poured out her pouch onto the subway floor. I had a moment where I thought about walking away, to Mexico, but then pulled myself together and grabbed a bunch of diaper wipes to start cleaning up the mess. Diaper wipe in one hand, my daughter in the other. Feet are everywhere and I'm just cleaning around them. There is a lot of pouch on the ground and I hate everyone.
Just as her stress reached peak levels, a stranger swooped in to attempt to save the day. "All of a sudden I hear a woman say loudly, 'Is no one going to give up their seat for this woman with a toddler?' Under normal circumstances, this woman would be my hero, but now I am a spectacle who is cleaning the subway floor with a diaper wipe. She had to call people out three times before anyone got up. But someone finally did, and I sat down. Grateful, ashamed, and trying not to cry."
Finally, they reached their stop and the mom was able to slowly calm down, but that didn't stop her from feeling failure, anger, disappointment, and hopelessness, a "terrible cocktail" of emotions. Despite those overwhelming feelings, she ends her post with note to all other moms reading her story: "I'm clearly venting, but wanted to share for you moms who fight the fight on a daily basis. I'm not always good at my mom job, but I try hard. And that has to be good enough."