Nina Gerner is a 39-year-old mother with two toddler boys—2 1/2-year-old Emmett and 1 1/2-year-old Owen. She is also super pregnant with baby Aurora (due to arrive on Halloween) and in dire need of maternity wear.
After spending the afternoon shopping at the Mall of America (MOA) in Minnesota, Gerner shared an open letter on Instagram—addressing a woman who she claims "mom-shamed" her for using a tablet to calm her boys down.
"I am so sorry that you disapprove of me letting my kids use a tablet to calm their tantrums," she began. "I am so sorry your elevator ride was ruined by my heinous parenting. I am so sorry that I am 8.5 months pregnant, and walking around with screaming 1 & 2-year-olds at the mall, trying to live a semi-normal life, and it’s clearly destroying your mall-going experience."
Her letter continued, apologizing to the woman for unintentionally walking behind her at the mall and for going into the same store to shop, where the girls behind the counter "oohed and ahhed" at her kids so she could find some clothes to fit her "ever-expanding waist."
"But mostly," wrote Gerner, "I’m sorry for the day you’re penning this exact letter. I’m sorry that you won’t understand until then, why we moms do what we feel we need to do, in order to keep our kids from 'bothering' other people, to keep them happy and behaved, and keep ourselves from going completely insane."
Within minutes, Gerner's post reached an Instagram mom-shamer of epic proportion.
Known only as @saffermn or "Mo," according to the account bio, the user complained about an anniversary dinner that was ruined by a couple who ignored their 5-year-old’s tantrum, stating, "Sometimes crotch fruit does ruin other people’s experiences and special occasions because their ‘parents’ just suck."
When Garner suggested "it wasn't her place to judge," the user came back with a vengeance.
"Yes it is my place to judge," @saffermn wrote, adding that she had to leave a restaurant "mid-meal" to go outside with her restless 2-year-old.
"That’s your call," wrote Gerner. "But it certainly isn’t your call to berate another mother.”
Though it should have ended there, @saffermn insisted that high-end places are “luxuries” for the working class and should be off limits to kids (e.g., "crotch-fruit-free") for those who cannot afford fancy meals more than once a year.
"If some incubators can afford expensive meals, they can afford a sitter," she wrote.
Gerner, whose husband has been out of the country for 90 percent of her pregnancy, told Mom.me that she doesn't understand why people feel the need to tell her she's not doing a good job.
"It’s not like I’ve been a mom before. Everything is new to me all the time, and sometimes it can get frustrating," she said. "I wish that instead of rolling her eyes at me, that she would maybe offer a hand or a suggestion, instead of thinking that I’m being a bad mom, when she really doesn’t know the situation from the outside at all."