“Day Care’s Note to Parents to ‘Get off Your Phone’ Goes Viral.” Sanctimonious Moms Everywhere Rejoice.

COME ON YOU GUYS.

I was on Facebook yesterday, and I saw an article shared by Parents magazine, both in the newsfeed and the stories (so you know this is – like – a real clickbait one for them). It read:

“Day Care’s Note to Parents to ‘Get off Your Phone’ Goes Viral.”

In my head, I immediately thought the follow up sentence: “Sanctimonious parents everywhere rejoice.”

Now, in spite of the fact that the article was originally posted on Parents, and then picked up by its syndicates, back in January of 2017 – over two years ago, making it not exactly “news” – it seems that the sanctimonious parents of the Internet were just waiting on bated breath for something like this to enrage and empower them all over again.

Which they did. Comment after comment, and share after share among my personal Facebook “friends” list, proved exactly what I said about you fucking people years ago: ya’ll are overly critical assholes lacking the most basic of understanding and compassion.

Honestly! When are you people going to learn?!

This all started years ago, when some bullshit open letter went viral, titled something along the lines of “Dear Mom at the Park on her iPhone” (I will not do it justice by searching it out now for the exact title, again). It was a long, judgment-laden diddy about how the mom at the park on her iPhone was ignoring the most precious stages of childhood. That the mom’s daughter wanted nothing but for Mommy to watch her go down the slide, or to push her on the swing, and this mother, this terrible being, was sitting on her phone instead. Horror! Shame! Shock! “Why even have kids if you…?!:”

[Long, audible groan]

This note to parents at the daycare pick up is just more of the same. Your precious little gems are waiting, big eyed and excited, for you to pick them up from childcare, like puppies. And you have the nerve to be looking at your phone, instead of their precious and adoring faces?! Well this is clearly the way you manage literally every other minute of interaction with your kids. “It is appalling.”

Okay, Debra. Would you like to know what I think is appalling?

I think judging a book by its cover is incredibly appalling.

Judging a parent by a 2 minute interaction with them is worse.

I think that assuming a parent’s career or job, that pays for that expensive daycare whose drop off and pick up hours are probably completely unreasonable as compared to a world that no longer has the basic 9-5 day job, is appalling.

I think that assuming a parent can just leave work in 2019 to conform to those daycare hours, assuming that those parents don’t have remaining calls or emails to attend to that allow them to maintain that job and pay those daycare costs is appalling.

I mean, the note even makes that claim: “when work is completed.” Again, Debra: get the fuck off your high horse. This isn’t 1950. Very few employees anywhere will tell you that when they leave the office, the work is done.

I think it is appalling to be so ignorant so as to assume all parents stare at their phones instead of their kids for an insidious or irrelevant reason. There are a ton of reasons why a parent may choose to look at their phone over their kid(s).

Maybe they have social anxiety and are trying to not spread it to their kids with nervous and socially awkward behavior.

Maybe they recently lost a loved one, and are trying to hold it together in the face of their children.

Maybe their phone is down literally every other minute of every day, and that is actually the only time they take a break.

Fuck if I know why a parent chooses a cellphone over greeting their child at the daycare, or watching little Susie go down the slide at the public park for the 5,985th time this week…I just think it’s appalling to tell other people that they are wrong for not running their parenting show the way that they want to.

I get it: technology addiction is a real problem. I’m pretty certain my husband is addicted to his technology. He spends upwards of 8-12 hours on weekend days sitting on his cellphone. I know there are a lot of parents out there just staring at social media or mindless articles about Kylie Jenner’s latest perfume line. I get it.

But that isn’t to say that everyone looking at their phones isn’t working their own shit out in their own way. Mom at the park could also be Mom sitting in on a conference call. At least she got the kid to the park, even if she had to work while sitting there – right? Parent at the daycare pick up is always on his phone, but couldn’t he feasibly also have some similarly justifiable reason to be on his phone?

And I’m a Stay At Home Mom. If anyone should be enraged by parent at the daycare on their cellphone, it’s me – right?

I don’t know, it just really annoys me that really stupid, divisive, and judgmental things make the rounds on the Internet and daily conversation; when other, amazing and cool things go largely unnoticed. Artwork, poetry, amazing essays, all ignored for the latest viral post going further viral by way of an article announcing its status as such.

In the comments section of that Parent’s article, someone said “it’s a refreshing reminder,” and I think I agree, though probably not in the way the commenter meant. The article may be two years old, but it is a reminder that we still live in a time in which everyone is ready and waiting to criticize others for the way they live their lives, including and especially how they parent.

Honestly.


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The Dress is White and Gold, and By the Way It’s Also the End Of the World As We Know It

If I live a long life, I imagine myself to be like one of those old people in the movies – the narrators, the storytellers. You know, they always have one, final story to tell. The movie begins and ends with them. It’s always about the defining moment in their lives, invariably unloaded onto some unsuspecting sap who will sit there and listen to the story no one has ever heard.

Like in Edward Scissorhands – it’s snowing and the lady tells her granddaughter the story about the creepy man-made boy with scissors and sheers for hands. Or in Fried Green Tomatoes, when an elderly Idgie Threadgoode gives Kathy Bates’ character the story personal liberation through her friend Ruth and the Whistestop Cafe.

I would sit there, old as fuck. Rocking in my rocking chair, covered in blankets as the old ladies in those movies always are. Someone would bring me my tea and tell me I need to rest. I would cough and weakly wave my hand – no, no. I have to tell my story. My period story; the story of my time. And most importantly: a story about something outlandish. Life-changing. Defying everything we thought we knew about the world.

If I’m lucky, my unsuspecting victim will pass my story on. Maybe they’ll make a movie out of it in which I am depicted rocking in my chair by a future generation’s Angela Lansbury.

As years have gone on, though, my dream has been shattered by a dearth of material to concoct my noteworthy tale. Will I have a story about a creepy man-made boy with scissors and sheers for hands to tell? Or about my own Whistestop Cafe? No. I won’t. Will I have a tale about the boy who aged backwards, like in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Or one like Forrest Gump had to tell – that was a whopper.

Nope. I won’t have anything quite as good as any of those, and all the other, movies. And while I am sure I will have plenty more opportunities to find a story, I suspect we have reached our height as a generation and a people. It is evident that it is all downhill from here.

What I’m saying is that as a society we have reached our apex, so my story will have to be the one about the day the Internet, and subsequently the world, lost their fucking minds over the color of a dress.

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You would have thought something really crazy happened, judging by how people responded to that photograph.

As for me, I saw one person post about it in the mid afternoon, then went about my day. Read a book for several hours, made dinner, and went to my library book club.

When I got home, everyone had gone completely insane. Videos of families fighting over the color of that dress had gone viral. Parody comics were posted. Then the scientific analysis began. “The science behind the dress.” Some people are color blind. Some people have their screens adjusted differently. It’s an optical illusion.

Legitimate news sites were posting serious articles debating theories about that goddamned article of clothing. All within the span of about 12 hours.

It carried on into today, and I have sat in utter disbelief over how an ugly dress has caused such an uproar for several hours. Like, literally, just sitting here – perplexed. In my bathrobe, hair still slightly damp from the shower I took several hours ago. Completely shocked.

How are people so up in arms about this thing?

I only kind-of-sort-of get it when things go viral. The dancing babies and the screaming goats – they’re funny. Glozell’s Cinnamon Challenge and her cereal in the bathtub thing. I understand the heartwarming things that trail their way around the Internet too. The husband with the pink tutu campaign; the kid with cancer that wanted photos of dogs to cheer him up.

I get it, these videos, photos, stories – they are entertaining or heartwarming, or we relate to them. Maybe not so much eating cereal out of our bathtub, but there is still an appeal there. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s there. It’s funny or it means something to us in some strange way.

But the color of a dress? What. the. SHIT?

What’s next? What color is this towel?

We have a set of dark pink bath towels, that are pretty old. I’m fairly certain they came from my father’s home when he moved in with us; nonetheless they are – somehow – still a part of the regular rotation when the towels are changed in all the bathrooms.

Every once in a while, I’ll hear my dad call for someone to get him his brown bath towel. Maybe he’s spilled something and forgotten we have paper towels and cleaning rags too, or he doesn’t realize I’ve changed the towels in the bathrooms and that he is actually – gasp – allowed to use whatever bath towel in the house he likes. He is not limited to his brown bath towel.

But wait a second, I said it was pink. And it is pink, a dark pink – almost like a magenta. And I know this for a fact, because it says “dark pink” on the worn tag.

And yet my dad calls it brown, and on several occasions we have asked the opinions of others, taken and texted photographs for opinions, and gotten mixed responses. Brown, pink, magenta, red…one time my dad said it was dark green, and that is when I seriously started to question his sanity because he had been defending the towel’s brown-ness for years prior to then.

So if I post a photo of this towel, will it go viral too? I mean, yesterday was a huge day for Net Neutrality. Leonard Nimoy died today. But surely the color of a dress or a towel is what’s really important. Right?

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Credit: The Oatmeal

So – regrettably – this is the defining moment of our lives, people. The dress. This is the story I will tell when I am an old lady, rocking in my chair. Surely they will make a feature-length film about it as the recipient of my story will pass the tale on and find meaning in it.

What meaning could there possibly be, you ask? Well when you’ve reached rock bottom, you can only go up from there. Arguably, we are there. The. Color. Of. A. Dress.

So I can see it all now.

The movie will be about the end of an era for humanity. The dress will be symbolic for the crumbling of society as we know it, which it clearly is a sign of. Hopefully someone like Michael Fassbender or Bradley Cooper will be cast as the savior of humanity. Who will rebuild society from its crumbled, intellectual ruins. As the future Angela Lansbury plays me, rocking in my chair, refusing my rest; determined to tell the story of the dress that destroyed everyone’s minds once and for all.

We will rebuild, people. And by the way, the dress is white and gold.

Internet Memes

And the Internet has screwed us (intellectually) again.

I have to tell you, I am not really a fan of Internet memes… in fact, I didn’t even really know what they were until recently.

Well, a few days ago I saw a cute one about writers, then a similar one about stay at home moms. Then all of a sudden everyone was posting them about their stupid goddamned profession – nurses, doctors, postal workers, you name it. It was that six box “what society thinks you do…” “what your mom thinks you do…” meme that quickly became an Internet sensation.

I can’t take it anymore, though, so I’ve created my own meme in response. I recognize the irony (or, more accurately put, the hypocrisy), but I’ve seen so many of these things in the last few days I am beyond the point of caring.