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Mom shuts down stranger who called her daughter ‘spoiled’ in Target

If you don't know someone's situation, don't judge.


Jessica Machado


Posted on Sep 26, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 10:23 pm CDT

One of the strange things that happens when you’re a mother is that people, often other mothers, come up to you in public spaces and critique your parenting. I’ve had people approach me and say my son’s hair is too long or that I’m endangering him while carrying him and stepping off the sidewalk. I’ve read many, many Facebook posts about one mom decrying the acts of another mom she saw at a store or a restaurant—though I can’t imagine they’d appreciate it if someone did the same to them. 

Well, instead of stooping to the level of judgy moms, one woman took to Facebook to eloquently call out a stranger who allegedly approached her in Target to tell her child was spoiled. 

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“Dear Woman in Target,” Kelly Dirkes post begins. It was originally posted on Facebook in April but resurfaced again today. “I’ve heard it before, you know. That I ‘spoil that baby.’ You were convinced that she’d never learn to be ‘independent.’ I smiled at you, kissed her head, and continued my shopping. If you only knew what I know.”

Though we’re not sure what prompted the stranger to insinuate Dirkes’s child was spoiled, Dirkes goes on to list what her daughter has had to overcome. She mentions “the moment her orphanage caregiver handed her to me to cradle for the very first time—fleeting moments of serenity commingled with sheer terror.” She says how her family spent “minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years trying to override the part of her brain that screams ‘trauma’ and ‘not safe'” until one day “she reached out for comfort, totally unprompted.”

Dirkes ends the letter by saying spoiling her daughter is a privilege. And the comments section has met her a resounding “amen.” One even called the post “sweet redemption,” which, with over 25,000 shares, it sure is. 

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*First Published: Sep 26, 2016, 6:00 pm CDT