A sweet snapshot of a couple juggling the demands of parenthood has gone viral for its authenticity.
The moment was captured by dad blogger Clint Edwards who posted a photo of the family on his Facebook page No Idea What I’m Doing: A Dad Blog on June 24th.
“I’m at the Spokane airport waiting for a flight to Portland…But I can’t help but notice this couple. I’ve watched them for awhile,” he wrote. “I hope they don’t mind me posting this, but these two deserve to be noticed because they are parenting champs. They have two small children, possibly twins. One is crying, and the mother is giving the baby comfort. The other needed a diaper change, so the dad is diving in. He didn’t hesitate. Before that, both kids waddled off into the restaurant. The mother caught them, while the dad was busy breaking down the stroller.”
I'm at the Spokane airport waiting for a flight to Portland. I was speaking at a conference. This is one of the few…
He continues, “They look a little frazzled. Their flight is about to leave. But they are handling it. This is what parenting looks like. If you two are out there, reading this, I want you to know that you are kicking ass. Taking kids to the airport sucks so bad, and yet you are working as a team. I’ve been there sooo many times, and I know that it can feel like you are loosing it. That you are failing at this whole parenting gig. But from my opinion, as a father of three, you are doing it.
“As parents, I think it’s good to hear that you are doing something right. And nothing can feel more wrong than taking small kids to the airport, or out to dinner, or to the mall, or to any other number of stressful parenting situations. And in that moment, when you’re knee deep in a steaming hot public toddler meltdown, it can feel like you are failing. But you know what, you’re not. If you are there, and you are caring for your children, you are doing exactly what you should.
“So parents kicking ass at the airport in this picture, I hope you had a safe and fit-free flight. And I hope you realize how awesome of a job you are doing.”
Edwards’ post was liked nearly 7K times and received hundreds of comments and shares from parents who could relate to the family’s experience. “From one mother to another (10 month old twins!) Way to go mom and dad!” wrote one woman. “Maybe one day we will get brave enough to fly with our littles!”
Another woman added, “The struggle is real, we travel a lot and as a single mom its hard, as I want my children to be on their best behavior. Our last flight…a mom and dad with 1 little one came up and touched me and said I’m doing a great job, I honestly was frazzled but it grounded and humbled me so I relaxed a bit and tried to enjoy my well behaved kiddos of whom sometimes I expect too much from.”
And: “I hate the judge-y posts of people that take a candid picture and go on to say how everything is wrong…to the mom at the airport who wasn’t watching your kid…blah blah blah… we need to see when people are doing right…”
Christie Bienemann, the mother in the photo, wrote on the viral message, “Thank you for the post! This was my husband and I with our almost 14 month old twins! Traveling with little ones is definitely NOT easy and we were pretty exhausted, not gonna lie! Appreciate the encouragement!”
Bienemann, 32, also tells Yahoo Beauty, “I think this moment resonated with people because it was so real — it’s so easy to post perfect photos on social media but that’s not real life.”
“It’s absolutely true that a moment like this is an accurate depiction of parenthood and one that should be acknowledged,” Sharon Silver, a parenting expert and creator of the upcoming webinar Why Do I Yell and What Can I Do Instead?, tells Yahoo Beauty. “However parenting requires people to peel back layers of themselves — if you’re not actively caring for your children, what are you doing?”
There’s truth to the cliche that it “takes a village to raise a child” and there are certain areas of parenting to which men simply can’t contribute (pregnancy, breastfeeding), but with modern-day fathers putting triple the amount of time they used to into childcare and struggling with work-life balance, according to data by the Pew Research Center, Silver cautions that singling out men who participate in parenting sets a dangerous precedent, unless the same praise is also bestowed on mothers.
“That said, these parents are clearly doing their part,” says Silver. “Both of them.”
Bienemann agrees, telling Yahoo Beauty, “I’m fortunate to have an involved husband but we rarely hear from male parents who are so glad their wives are helpful. Teamwork is key.”
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