STFU Parents: Funny Parents Who Are Making Things Slightly More Bearable Right Now
Another week, another onslaught of anxiety-filled news. I don’t know about you guys, but waking up every day and reading headlines about families being broken apart by ICE officials isn’t exactly my cup of tea. It’s depressing and bewildering. It makes me feel like crying into an giant bowl of soup. And it reminds me of just how important humor is right now for many of us who still want to get through the day with smiles, laughter, and a sense of peace and unity. Funnily enough, I’ve discovered much reprieve in my own STFU Parents inbox, and for that I’m very grateful. Some days, I just go through Mom’s Gold Star submissions for an hour to crack up and escape the insanity of, oh, I don’t know, a presser about our Attorney General lying under oath. And somewhat surprisingly, it helps. Sure, there’s always going to be good news to combat the bad — for instance, watch this inspiring video about a 9-year-old girl in India who runs a thriving library that serves the kids in her community — but lately, it’s been harder and harder to find the light in what has quickly become a rather dark time for America. Not to get too bleak, but shit is crazy, y’all. And that’s why this week, I think we need to laugh.
I used to kind of roll my eyes whenever people quoted Mr. Rogers, who once famously said, “If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope,” because frankly that line has been trotted out so much, it had started to lose meaning for me. But I’m starting to think about the depth of that advice, and how the definition of “helpers” can stretch to include an array of people in completely different contexts. Mr. Rogers was talking about the traditional model of helpers — people who are EMTs, firefighters, or just average citizens who assist strangers in a crisis. But in 2017, I’m starting to recognize my own version of “the helpers” also encompasses anyone who makes me laugh. Whether they realize it or not, they are actually helping people like me (and maybe you!) who are struggling to understand what’s happening in Washington and beyond. And it’s vital to getting through the next several years. When I see a tweet like this, it’s like a soothing balm for my soul:
Okay, so we can focus on this grown man’s sweatshirt and the fact that it, A) makes no sense, and B) seems kinda harsh for a day at “The Happiest Place On Earth,” or we can absorb that information, combine it with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and a hilarious caption, and laugh about the absurdity of it all together. That, to me, is helpful. And right now, in the throes of winter (or whatever we’re calling ‘winter’ now that we’ve had consecutive 70 degree days in the Northeast in February), I need all the help I can get. Make me laugh, parents! For the love of climate change, make me laugh!
That is one *special* snowflake! I’ve never seen one that looks quite like that before, but as we know, every snowflake is unique. This one just happens to be shaped like a dick and balls. And in Trump’s America, anything is possible. Has it been raining dicks and balls for the past couple of months? Honestly, it kind of has. Good work, Cal. Way to make an accidental political statement that includes both “snowflakes” and male genitalia. You’ve got a great career ahead of you.
But speaking of dicks and parents who make me laugh, can we just pause and reflect for a moment on the sincerity of this dad’s Facebook status?
Are social media updates like this not the medicine we all need right now?! Another common saying that makes me roll my eyes — “laughter is the best medicine” — is proving to be truer now than ever. Let’s try to keep that in mind on social media (I’m struggling with it myself) and use the following examples as inspiration to be “the helpers” that people need during this relatively low period of American morale. Sometimes it’s better to be funny than divisive, and while the internet certainly has room for both (and I plan on running a separate Mom’s Gold Star column about funny parents who are also #resisting), humor is a welcome respite from all the doom and gloom. Here are some bonus laughs to help get you through the day.
1. Fave Foods
Wow, R. has quite the palate! So much more refined than my list of favorite foods as a toddler, in which I substituted ‘paper’ for ‘dryer lint’ and ‘bacon’ for ‘raw hot dogs.’ Also, isn’t paper supposed to have like, a ton of nutrients in it? It’s *almost* one of the five food groups because it definitely contributes to a balanced diet. Have you eaten YOUR sheet of construction paper today? Does a body good!
2. The Legend Of The Sticks Speller
This made me cackle, and not only because my name is ‘Blair’ and for nearly 20 years I’ve been asked by people I meet if I’m a witch. (People are soooooo funny.) No, I just appreciate any parent who takes her kid’s crafty accomplishment and turns it into a joke about being a demented ghost who terrorizes innocent people in the woods. When parents are able to see beyond their kids’ “art” and laugh at their expense, it warms my cold, cold heart. This is all people want from their parent friends. Trust me.
3. Happy Six Months To Godzilla
Normally I block out faces, but the way this cute baby is smiling in that top photo at her mother — who just straight up ROASTED her child for being an eating machine — nicely complements the playfully ominous tone of the post itself. I’ve never seen a parent so expertly ridicule her baby like this, especially in one of those “anniversary” updates parents like to post so much (sometimes every. single. month. during the first year). I’m not saying I don’t care about a baby’s “favorite things” at different milestones in life, but this roasting technique is absolutely top notch. This is THE go-to model for how to get your Facebook friends to applaud your new role as a parent. Well-played, Anna. You’re fucking hilarious.
4. Parenting 101
Oftentimes I wonder how many parents play with their kids the way non-parents play with their dogs. If you think about it, most people played with dogs well before having kids, and well….we all know the intellect of an average dog is essentially that of a human toddler, so why not play the same games? Dogs and toddlers are both exhausting. That’s why parents like to play ‘Hide & Go Seek’ with their 3-year-olds — so they can chill in a closet and check Instagram while their kid roams around searching behind the sheer window curtains. My stance is, if your kid is still young enough to treat him/her like an overexcited puppy, why not take advantage?
5. “Stretch Your Drinking. I Mean Thinking.”
I love it when parents justify their kids’ “wacky” behavior with a brief, rational Post-It note to the teacher. “I can’t imagine why my son wrote the word ‘beer’ — it’s really a head-scratcher!”, Angela probably wrote while cracking open a new session IPA pulled from her Sub-Zero refrigerator, dedicated solely to beer, wine, and saké. “He did seem to get the math equation correct!” she thought to herself as she sipped her homebrew from a glass mug she likes to keep frosty in the freezer. “I seriously have NO idea where he got this ‘beer’ idea from when he could’ve just said ‘soccer balls,’ ‘bicycles,’ or ‘ice cream cones,’ but please let me assure you we are not a bunch of lushes in this house,” Angela wrote after she flipped through her latest copy of All About Beer magazine and bought tickets to the upcoming World Beer Festival in Raleigh, which comes just a week after her tour of the Top 5 breweries in North Carolina. “What can I say?! Grayson is quite a kid! He must’ve heard the word ‘beer’ on TV or something. You understand! :)”
6. Logan Is All Of Us
This is how I’ve felt for going on four months now, but now I have a picture that visually lays out my emotions. Thanks for the laugh, Elyssa. Most parents are so focused on showing off their kids’ biking/scootering/paddle boarding prowess, they don’t take the time to make fun of them when they fall off their equipment, as parents obviously should. Or perhaps they do the opposite — they post about their kid’s falls, but instead of writing funny captions and posting pictures like this one, they post a close-up of their kid crying, or an HD resolution image of their kid’s scraped knees. How about instead of showing off bloody noses or jacked up body parts, parents just post a distant, live-action picture like this and let us fill in blanks? Anyone who’s learned how to ride a bike knows that you’re bound to fall off a few times (especially if you’re practicing on grass), but you just have to get back up and try, try again. This is a good lesson for kids, and it’s a good lesson for adults, too. I’ll be keeping this in mind. And I’ll be sure to continue laughing as I do.