There really isn’t anything like a good SMBC cartoon to give you a laugh.
God damn Zach Weinersmith (if that is your real name) you definitely know exactly what it’s like.
Have you ever had those moments where you just question everything you’ve ever done? What am I saying, of course you have! This is your life now. Every second of every day I doubt myself, or question myself, or second guess myself. I call it the Parenting Paradox. The never ending questions I have about raising Stormaggedon, and how well I’m doing, circle around me at every moment. Do I give him enough attention? Am I providing enough physical contact so as to make him feel secure. Or am I hugging him too much, thereby taking away his sense of dependence. Do I do too much for him, or by giving him his freedoms will he develop anxiety? Is he watching too much TV, and will he develop ADHD from it? Am I helping him build a strong character by saying no when he wants to sleep in my bed, or am I contributing to his eventual abandonment issues? Should I praise him more or will that fill him with a sense of over achievement and entitlement? Am I raising him right, or am I just screwing up at every turn?!
Inevitably, my view of the future is of a son who never speaks to me, has either developed severe mental health issues or has turned into a psychopath, has dude-bro entitlement issues, and will think of no one but himself. And that’s even without the normal every day fears like “what happens if he starts taking drugs” or “he might choke on a grape and die!”.
Yes, I am a nervous wreck, and will frequently indulge in the “worst case scenario” game. Anyone else who is just in the slightest exactly like me will understand just how exhausting living our lives like this can be. But live this life we do. And as exhausting as it is, will still manage to function. We still manage to claw our way through the day, making mistakes, making up for them, getting terrifyingly mad at ourselves for the way we acted or behaved when dealing with our children, finding the courage to forgive ourselves, then doing it all again the next day, and every day, day after day, for years to come.
So it may come as no surprise that when I come across things like this on the internet that I get a little mad:
And no, not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not judging this woman, but judging why this photo was taken and shared in the first place. This particular image was attached to an article, where the mother in the photo described having to defend herself to the world after the picture went viral, with a caption attached to it: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”- Albert Einstein.
At first glance you could say that it was normal to jump to the conclusion that she had no interest in her child and would have much rather been looking at her phone than looking after her baby. But take a moment to think about what the story behind the photo may be, and you realise not everything is as straight forward as it seems.
The photo was taken at Colorado airport in 2016 after a major computer malfunction. Hundreds of passengers were stranded. The women in this picture had been told at first her flight was delayed, then cancelled, then re-scheduled, then re-scheduled again, and so on and so on. In total she spent up to 20 hours at the airport, just sitting and waiting not receiving any help from anyone. She was alone and exhausted. She had been carrying her baby in her arms for hours. The baby was 2 months old, so how heavy do you think that would be? Six maybe seven kilos? I’m sure we all know what it’s like to carry a baby around for hours on end. What at first seems as light as a feather quickly turns into a lead weight as your arms begin to tire. So spare a thought for the exhausted mum who decided it would be a good idea just to let her baby stretch out on the ground as she texted her family to let them know what was going on. In the meantime some creep decided to invade her privacy and the privacy of her child by taking a picture of them without her permission, then splashes it all over the internet for the world to see with some stupid high-and-mighty quote THAT EINSTEIN NEVER EVEN SAID!
Holy crap it is exhausting being a parent. Not only do you have all those doubting, nagging thoughts of your own to contend with, but now you have to be on your guard every second of every day just in case some jackass with a smart phone decides to record you at your worst possible moments. Did this person even think for one second “Maybe I should go over there and see if she needs or wants help”? Obviously not. It was far easier for them to just take a picture and smugly post about how “this generation today doesn’t know how to interact with each other thanks to technology”, doing so ironically with their smart phone and social media platform.
You know how a picture can paint a thousand words? Perhaps try to remember that the next time you see the split second snapshot of a moment, you should think about what the story behind it is first before jumping to conclusions.