The Parenting World According to Twitter

Creator Chris Harris,  writer and producer for How I Met Your Mother

A UU religious professional shared the above tweet, with “and we can’t even move to Australia.”  I remember when life with a preschooler felt like this.

Staying home all day, every day with your children and/or partner, and/or pets and maybe grandparents isn’t ideal.  

But for parents, perhaps the following image flashing by every 20 tweets on Twitter, and on other social media, is the source of the angst. Daily existential dread of the first days is now replaced with achievement dread.

It looks so innocuous to this teacher-lady, but I suspect parents experience that small ad more like this: 

Even experienced homeschoolers, particularly in metro areas are in co-ops, so this responsibility might loom large as well.  Mix the DMV’s academic expectation high bar, and, yea, Kafka it is.

Reading about Fairfax County’s torturous experience with online learning (they will get there, it’s a great school system) plus the ominous warning articles put out by sadists….The Kids are Now Forever Falling Behind —well, parenting right now is really hard.

AND at the same time

on Twitter there are moments shared like this: 

  • Farhad Manjoo’s children wrote a ransom letter (notice the use of bullet punctuation – smile emoji here)
  • While McKay Coppins kids marched into the living room carrying protest signs and chanting “CAN WE WATCH A MOVIE?”
  • Another mom shared that her daughter and her neighbor friend spend a lot of the day sitting six (6) feet apart on the sidewalk, shouting compliments out at strangers who walk by like “YOUR SHIRT MATCHES YOUR DOG AND I LIKE THAT ABOUT YOU!” (Heart this).
  • Another well-known journalist shares that [he is] “Fondly remembering those naive early quarantine days, when we had an aggressive kid schedule mapped out for each day. Now it’s just “take the iPad and two pounds of crackers and go to the basement until bedtime.”

As these tweets filed in my memory, the shape of parenting life as documented in Twitter, seemed to have changed.  Before Covid19, women journalists rarely shared bits of their children’s lives. Men rarely did except for those newly parenting and anecdotally, in my own feed, non-white fathers too. Now alot tweet about parenting with no discernible differences in identity. This change is a keeper…it takes the edge off of Twitter some, which can be brutal.

I remain vigilant about children and other vulnerable populations during this extraordinary crisis & trauma, as do you. I also have great confidence in children’s ability to make meaning of it and integrate it into who they are. Amidst the frustration and the exhaustion that parents are due, maybe others can notice and raise up some hopeful opportunities.

These Twitter parents provided one:  “Our children take turns choosing a country, do some study, and cook dinner, 3 dishes from that country.”  They look up other info about the country and share it at dinner.” This “lesson” has math, reading, history, creativity, science! And if you add a soundtrack, music!

What a great way to supplement the good work of those in whatever school system you are in. (And blessings on whatever online learning you are getting at this point in time.  The sheer audacity of taking a spectacularly diverse 145K Kindergarten — 12th grade+ teachers, from an in-person learning system to online in two weeks+, is mind-boggling.) Talk about “skilling-up!”

“This is a reminder to breathe” as one of my favorite Twitter feed (@ConnieSchultz) tweets because what follows is also part of the day:

  • “One of the cuter teachers doing my 9 year old’s remote lessons had a mustache going and it was BIG news on the mom group chat.”

Followed by another mom retweeting…

  • “what happens in the mom group chat stays in the mom group chat.”  

No one is falling behind. 
Assure yourself and children of this.
Thank every educator you can; and
pick a country and invite your children to cook a meal.
Pat yourselves on the back.

Leave a Reply