We all need to hear these words sometimes…

I went to the Children’s Museum this morning here in town and had an experience that I will probably never forget. My son and I were in the elevator (daughter is at camp – a wonderful invention – I would like to kiss deeply the person who thought of camp). Anyway, my son and I were getting into the elevator when a woman came in looking a bit frazzled. She had a big double stroller with a boy in the front seat around 7 years old, and then 3 other children around her, slightly older.

Looking very frustrated, I couldn’t help but hear her arguing with one of the children about something that happened that embarrassed them. I didn’t hear the story details so I’m not sure what they were referring to. However, at the moment the elevator stopped, the boy in the stroller started banging his head against the front of the stroller, then against the elevator hand rail. He was yelling that he wanted to go to the play area. Yelling loudly and banging over and over again. She struggled with getting him to stop and I helped her push the stroller out of the elevator so we all could exit.

I looked at the mother, then at him, then back at the mother. She had tears in her eyes. I realized when I looked at the son that he had down syndrome. I smiled at the mother and said, “There’s just rough days being a mother, isn’t there?”

Her reply is the reason I will never forget this story.

She replied with a shaking voice and tears coming down her face, “Every day is like this for me.”

I then decided to do what goes against every fabric of my New Yorker’s body. I walked right up to this woman I have never met before and I hugged her. And she cried in my arms. Then I said that words that I think every mother needs to hear, even me.

“You are a good mother.”

I repeated this about 10 times to her. I told her that we are all doing the best we can do in life. Then, I told her that she was definitely a better mother than I was because I hardly ever brought just 2 kids to the museum, let alone 4. She laughed and I told her that I hoped she had a good day. Though, I knew the chance of that was hard for her to imagine.

My heart has been hurting for that mother ever since I walked away from her.

My hats are off to all of you with children with extra needs. I hope you all know that you are good mothers. And it’s ok to cry. Even at the children’s museum.



  1. This kind of brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing. You’re a good mother, too.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thanks so much. I’m sorry I made you kinda cry. I can tell an inappropriate joke if that would help??? Seriously though, thanks for reading and commenting – very sweet of you.

  2. What a great mother and individual, you are Dani! And to share it with all of us, is a very incredible gift! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Mom, Mother-in-law and Grama!!!

  3. Yes! I try to do this whenever I see another parent struggling. Just being kind and saying something encouraging is often all someone needs to feel better. There are many times I’ve been in a similar situation and think a hug or kind word would have really helped. You are a good egg, lady! :)

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      You’re a good egg too, girl. I have no doubt you or any other mom would have done the same. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  4. What a beautiful vignette. You absolutely did the right thing – reaching out in compassion is difficult, but oh so rewarding.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you. I’ve never hugged a stranger before but it wasn’t too bad. :)
      Seriously though, thanks for reading and commenting – means so much to me.

  5. Awesome story! Way to go New Yorker! :)

  6. I’ve made this walk of shame more times than I like to remember with my neuro-typical children. Thank you for comforting her.

    I feel like this was a hug for every mom who’s sat in a minivan outside of a playgroup and cried.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      We all have been that mom in the car crying. You’re right that we all need a hug sometimes – myself included. Heck, it’ll probably be me next week at the children’s museum bawling. :)

      Seriously though, thank you so much for reading and commenting. Means alot to me.

  7. What a blessing you were to her! Who are we without the support of our fellow-mom sisters?


    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Well, I think you are very pretty and seem like a nice girl, but I’m sorry, I’m in love with someone else. However, we can be friends. :)
      Seriously though, thank you. Very sweet of you.

  9. This is just the kind of support that we all need at times.
    Having children can be hard, having a special needs child is hard.
    Everything is hard if we don’t have the support and acceptance from those around us. She needed you. Your mommy radar was on and you listened to your heart. Not everyone does that and I am so proud to be in company with you.
    Even though her days may all be like that moment, you gave her a breath of fresh air so she could continue being the perfect parent for her children.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you Trish so much. I like how you worded that – “mommy radar”
      You are right – we all do have mommy radar. I wish I listened to mine more but I was happy I did yesterday. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  10. this made me cry! You are a wonderful person!

  11. And now I’m crying at work. Isn’t it interesting how things work out sometimes — she may have changed your life, but you definitely made her’s a little better too. I wish more people could just reach out to each other and spread the positivity.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Wipe those tears, girl! You got a meeting to go to soon I bet! :) Thank you for your sweet words. You’re a good egg too my friend.

  12. Totally just teared up. What a beautiful story and what a beautiful person you are. I’m sure you made her day.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you so much. I’m not so beautiful – there are days where I might have walked past her without knowing – caught up in my own world. Luckily, I didn’t yesterday. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  13. Sometimes compassion allows us to shed all the cloaks we wear to reach out and just hug someone. Bravo.

  14. That was beautiful! I’m sure you made her day and let her breathe a little easier.
    This was the best thing I’ve read all week!!

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you so much Ellen. I’m not sure I helped her, but I tried. That’s all we can do, right? Thanks so much for your kind words and reading.

  15. Can we do this more please? Can we support each other more and show care for each other more? Can we accept that every situation is different and nobody knows what’s behind the scenes? A disability. An addicted spouse. Foreclosure. Depression. ADHD. Most of us are trying our best, and if you think you have your shit together compared to the next mother, maybe you can lend a hand instead of levying a judgement.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Perfectly said. I’m going to try. I won’t always be successful, but I’m trying. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  16. My first time to this blog and what a great post. Good for you for treating someone in need with respect and I’m sure she’ll remember it for a long time too. ((hugs))

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Wow – that was one heck of a post to start with! Usually I just offer some sarcastic glances at parenting with an occasional serious piece. Geez! Glad you are here now – hope you’ll stick around. And thanks for the sweet words – I really appreciate you reading.

  17. Thank you for this. For the hug you gave that mother. For being the one person she saw that day who didn’t judge her and roll their eyes at what they saw.

    Thank you for your compassion.

  18. Touching Story, I can not imagine how hard it must be to raise special needs children, but i know the people who do it are really special

    Domesticated Breakdown

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Absolutely agree. I am officially in awe and will try to offer help anytime I see a situation in need. It was a bit life changing for me. Thanks so much for reading.

  19. I sat behind such a woman in church last Christmas Eve. Her special needs son squirmed, hit, scratched, pulled hair, and writhed throughout the entire service. For a brief time she handed him off to her mother, but for most of the hour and a half she wrangled him herself, without complaint. I’ll never forget her.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      It’s amazing how those memories stick with us, isn’t it? I’m quite certain I’ll never forget that woman from the museum. Thank you so much for reading and sharing.

  20. Well I certainly cried ….I had to share this story. Wonderful and you made that woman smile and feel love if only for a moment.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Oh no, I promise I wasn’t trying to make anyone cry! But thank you for reading – I really appreciate it. Your words are so kind – thank you for sharing.

  21. This made me tear up. Thanks so much for sharing. More people should show the kind of compassion you did for another mom. So wonderful to help each other out, even if it is just a shoulder to cry on!

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you – that is very sweet of you to say. I promise I wasn’t trying to make you cry. :) Also, side note, I absolutely love the name of your blog – hilarious! I’m headed over to check it out more…

  22. What you did by just giving that woman a few minutes of your time was more than you may ever know! <3

  23. Beautiful. So glad you did that. I think, whether or not this mom had a kid with special needs, it was an awesome gesture. I have a child with CP and last summer, he had a meltdown at a restaurant and I was in tears. A mom at another table smiled at me and mouthed “Are you OK?” and it made all the difference. Dani, I just want you to understand one thing: Us parents of kids with special needs are NO better mothers, necessarily, than other mothers who do not have kids with special needs. Yes, we may have additional/other responsibilities and yes, we have our hands overly full at times. But in the end, I love my kid because he is a my kid, same as any other mom.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Ellen – thank you so much for your kind words. You can think that you are no better, but I disagree. You have an extra something in you that is capable of more than I can imagine. As for meltdowns in restaurants – just go to Chuck E. Cheese on a Friday night – no one will even notice! :) Seriously though, that you for reading and commenting.

  24. Tears filled my eyes as I read this being a mom of four who had one severally disabled child, I can totally place myself in this mothers shoes, as I have been there and it would have brightened my day so much to have someone just once do for me what you did for this mother, I know that she appreciated it although she may not have said it… You are an amazing person and on behalf of all mothers of differently abled children thank you for your kindness

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Ok, now I’m crying! Dammnit, I thought I was done yesterday but you got me again! :) Thank you for your kind words, and for commenting. I really appreciate it.

  25. I’m sure that hug and your words meant the world to her. We all need support, and it’s amazing to get it even from strangers!

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you. I’m not one to hug strangers but there was just something about her. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.

  26. Good for you! And yes, we all need to hear those words from time to time. I would have done the same thing :-)

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Glad to hear I’m not alone. And I agree, we definitely ALL need to hear those words.

  27. Every time one of my kids catches a cold and spends two days whining, I think about the Mothers out there who have kids with serious illnesses. And every time my kids drive my batty and get a little defiant and shout “NO” at me, I think about the Mothers who have kids with special needs. People look at me with my twins and say, “I don’t know how you do it.” But what I do is SO easy compared to what so many other mommies go through every day.
    Bless you for hugging that stranger and propping her up for a minute.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      I find myself doing that too. When my son had some health issues this first year of life, I had to keep reminding myself that these will pass. I am amazed by the parents that have to deal with on-going challenges. Awe-inspiring.

  28. I’m sure you impacted her just as much as she impacted you! This is a wonderful story and something we should ALL try to do more of!!

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Thank you for reading. I’m going to try not to hug every stranger I see now. It’s going to be tough. :)

  29. So much better for you, her, the kids, and the world that you showed compassion instead of getting all judge-y and snide like so many choose to do because they find it amusing. On behalf of all mothers, Thank You.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      I can’t say that I have never been judge-y. I have. But I’m learning to realize that there’s more behind every story. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  30. Wow! As an expate NYer I totally get how uncharacteristic is it to hug a stranger. But way to go for reaching out instinctively. As much as you’ll remember this, I bet this other mom will remember your kindness for the rest of her life. Well played, M&M. Well played indeed.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      I’m glad you can relate to my rule of not hugging strangers. All New Yorkers are born with it! :) Thank you though for reading, I really appreciate it.

  31. I love this story! I wish I could meet you in the children’s museum when I’m struggling with my kids. I’m sure you made this woman’s day!

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      If you met me at the children’s museum you’d see that I’m just as disoriented as she was on most days! Seriously though, thank you so much for reading.

  32. A very heartbreaking and beautiful story. We do all need the occasional stranger who seems to see us don’t we? You’re a good woman too.

  33. you have a beautiful soul *sniff

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      I think you give me too much credit but thank you anyway. I swear I didn’t mean to make you cry!

  34. I didn’t expect to cry reading that. I did. Sniff.

  35. I love this story so much! You definitely made me cry! Beautifully written, and thank you for sharing!
    I had a very similar experience at Church a few months ago. There was a single mom with 3 very young children. She was stressed throughout the entire Mass. I followed her out of the church (with Communion still in my mouth) which I never ever would do under normal circumstances. I felt that I needed to reassure her. I went to find her and told her that I respected her so much for making the trek out to church on a freezing cold night with three little ones. (It was Ash Wednesday) She began sobbing and I wanted to hug her so badly but I wasn’t as brave as you were. She did smile through her tears as I told her what an amazing MAMA she was! I just felt so strongly after watching her struggle with those kids throughout that entire long Mass, that somebody had to give her reassuring words!

  36. Thanks for making me cry…
    We have friends with a DS son who we recently went on vacation with. It was humbling to see what they deal with on a daily basis and how they do it with such grace and patience. Every mom out there is doing great… even on the shittiest of days.

  37. Can I say you probably made that woman’s year. I know you made mine, knowing there is such compassion out there that you put down you NY guard and put aside your life for a moment. You more than rock!

  38. Oh that’s awesome, you are such a kind person!

  39. You had me tearing up, too. The world needs more random hugging.

  40. You brought tears to my eye. I’m sure your words will echo in that mom’s ears every day and warm her heart. Kudos to you for reaching out to this mom in need.

  41. Ok- as a mom of a son with Down syndrome (small note– syndrome is not capitalized)– every day is not like that for all parents of kids with extra needs. I have a tough time believing this mom said that. Kids and individuals with Down syndrome are just like other humans–some are well-behaved and some are not, some do well in new or stressful situations and some do not. The pitying tone of this commentary and the author’s assumption that the mother is blaming her rough day on her son having Down syndrome are contrived and are an incomplete view of one ill-informed mother’s elevator run in with another mom. Please save your misplaced pity– surely you must know that us parents of kids with special needs have good and bad days, just like you. Oh– and we know we are good parents– we don’t need you to say so. I apologize for the tone of my comment, but I find it so frustrating to read about this run in because it seems like you are blaming this mom’s misery on her child having special needs. Who knows. Maybe she had PMS– maybe she has depression– we just don’t know. Ultimately, though, please, please, please do not pity us– every mom is doing her best. Personally, I would not change my son or our life to have an easier day.

    • Martinis and Minivans says:

      Jen – thanks for writing and commenting – even though your comment was tough to read, I always appreciate people being honest and putting their words out there. I want you to know that I don’t pity you or any other mother of kids with extra needs. It wasn’t pity I was conveying, it was an understanding that there are tough days for us all. You’re right, her day could have been tough for many reasons. However, when I saw her son banging his head against the wall repeatedly, and then her starting to cry, I knew that his actions were the straw that broke the camel’s back. And yes, she did say those words exactly. My blog is about honesty and that story is exactly what happened. I don’t pity her for having a son with Down syndrome, what I was trying to do was provide comfort to someone who was facing extra challenges that day – who was struggling with all the aspects of her family. I had a nephew with Down syndrome and I’m not going to pretend that there weren’t unique challenges to taking care of him – just like there are unique challenges for taking care of my son who was born premature and aspirates – I was simply trying to offer comfort to someone who seemed to be having a tough day with those challenges. And I hope that if people saw me crying because my son was choking again and couldn’t breathe properly, they would do the same for me.

      Thanks again for reading – I do appreciate your sharing.

  42. I cannot believe I missed this one. I have tears in my eyes. Yes, we all need to hear this sometimes, and that mother needed to hear it more than many of us. Thank you for reaching out to her. <3

  43. I work in SpecEd, and what a lot of parents need most is just understanding. Sweet story!!

  44. I can’t even tell you how many times I wish someone had said those words to me. Thank you for reassuring this mama. It means so much!

  45. Just offering acknowledgement of someone else’s rough times is occasionally enough. As humans, we just want to know we aren’t alone. Great job on reaching out.

  46. Sobbing. Right here at my computer. You are a kind person for seeing a mother in need and helping her…because just for a little while that day, her day was not so rough. I am thinking of her and hoping that wherever she is right now, she just felt a warm feeling.-Ashley

  47. I have tears in my eyes, want to find my kids and hug them and hug you for hugging that woman. I guarantee you that she thinks about you all the time and is thankful for that moment and your kindness. Not many people would go out of their way to comfort a stranger in that intimate way. I love to hear stories like this where moms support each other, thank you so much for sharing.

  48. And you…are a good person <3

  49. Beautiful story, and so very important to remember. You never know who you will save by taking the extra few moments to be kind to another. Sometimes it’s all we can do.

  50. What a great story! Us moms need to stick together sometime! Most people do not know that sometimes the littlest of gestures can change the world of one person. Major kudos to you for being that mom’s sunlight on a obvious rainy day.

  51. Great story! Another vote for moms/women/people everywhere to stick together. We all have rough days and it’s nice to feel support. It makes a world of difference on my bad days, I assure you!

  52. It takes courage to break the social contract of personal space and ‘looking the other way’ – but in doing so we can connect as humans. I know that meant the world to her in that moment and surely gave her some strength to carry on through her day. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us to reach out to others when they need it. Visiting from the Sits FB thread today.

  53. That was great what you did for that mom; it’s so hard and sometimes people just don’t get it…My nightly relection is this: Not every day will be a good day, but something good will happen every day… It helps me to realize the positive moments of the day so I dont go to bed stressed out… you go mama!

  54. This made me tear up. You are a good person. You probably gave that lady the one thing she needed more than anything…compassion. I know sometimes, I would give anything for a bit of it. God Bless You. xo


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