Let’s Get To Know Some Mama Bears

I’ve made no secret of my burgeoning appreciation for mothers who identify as “Mama Bears,” so it’s high time I devoted an entire post AND a column to all the ursine mamas (and papas, though there aren’t as many on social media) who are out there ripping shit up on the daily. It isn’t easy being a mama bear, constantly sizing up the next person whose limbs you want to tear apart with your razor sharp teeth and your great, big paws, and yet thousands of women take on the role with a visceral fierceness. Their primal instincts raging, mama bears rise from their slumber each and every morning (there’s no hibernating when you’re a MAMA BEAR!), ready to take on the world and defend their babies against a myriad of both real and imaginary threats.

Whether it’s protecting a toddler from a grumpy cafe ownerbullying another child on the playground, or throwing a plate of food on a bride at her wedding, mama bears know that attending to their children’s well-being and survival is always of the utmost importance. Even if that means screaming in a stranger’s face because she parked in a “parent parking” space. Even if it means growling at a fellow department store shopper for literally no reason at all. The mama bear is focussed. She is alert. And she *will* kill you — or write a semi-crazy status update about you on Facebook — if you’re not extremely careful. 

Now, let’s get to know some mama bears! GRRRRRRRR.

 

1. A Mama Mumma Bear’s Mission Statement

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I’m guessing that before Jen had kids, she was one of those people who went around saying stuff like, “I’ll be your best friend in the world until you cross me or one of my friends. After that, you’re fuckin’ dead to me." That’s like the drama queen precursor to the mumma bear mission statement. If it sounds like Jen might be starring in a crime-thriller drama meets National Geographic documentary of her own design, it’s because she probably is.

2. LOUD AND PROUD AND IN CHARGE EXCLAMATION POINTS

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If you mess with the bull, you’re gonna get the horns. And if you mess with the mamma bears nest, you better watch out cuz she will fight back!!!!!! I mean, right?? This is like a slogan for a new generation. Amen!!!

Mamma Bear Erica appears to have many redeeming characteristics (spelling not chief among them), but being an effective communicator has to be her strongest trait. Do I believe that Erica is a nest-keeper and CAPS aficionado who loves her kids more than anything? Probably. Do I think that Erica’s version of “fighting back” involves permanent facial scars, shattered glass, busted tires, and light arson? Oh hell yeah. 

  

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Allow Me To Introduce You To Sean’s Sandwiches

Our story begins back in 2011 when a submitter started sending me random pictures of sandwiches. Sean’s sandwiches, to be exact, which were being delivered to the world via his mom Laurie’s Facebook page. Over the course of several emails, I got to know a wide variety of sandwiches in young Sean’s diet — of his own design — and boy, did they look tasty.

Every day, for god knows how long, Sean made himself a new type of sandwich inspired by both the culinary arts and his limited understanding of "foods" and “cuisines.” And every day, Laurie posted a picture of Sean’s sandwich du jour (aka his ‘SOD’, or ‘sandwich of the day’) on Facebook for her friends to see (and imagine eating / fear). A chef needs to start somewhere, and for Sean, his entryway into the food industry involved two slices of bread and a tiny amount whole lot of imagination. Also, several jars of peanut butter, as most dreams require.

I can only assume that by now, three years later, Sean is packing himself gourmet sack lunches filled with delicacies like Cajun turkey and aged cheddar roll-ups and homemade pop tarts with artisanal dipping sauces, but for today, thanks to Laurie’s unwavering dedication, let’s take a glimpse at the origin of Sean’s foodie journey. As was the case with BrendaMindy, and the ridiculous parent protests covered thus far on the blog, this post isn’t about scorning a parent for offensive wrongdoing so much as peering into a world of deep obsession. Laurie may be considerably saner than the parents who freaked out about the shortage of “Frozen” merchandise or the woman who lost her shit over her kid’s birthday party hat, but her decision to post literally dozens of photos of Sean’s mildly disgusting yet totally banal sandwiches (which are a far cry from Scanwiches, mind you) is a real testament to her intestinal fortitude.

 

Prepare to have your tummy rumbled.

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Something you’ll quickly come to learn is that Sean is a big fan of mixing breakfast with lunch, in sandwich form. Cool concept, except clearly no one has schooled Sean on the joys of a breakfast burrito or any other kind of proper brunch item. Forget about getting creative and using pancakes in place of traditional bread. Sean’s sandwich scope is so restricted, he just winds up with peanut butter, jelly, and “rabbit food.”

Fiber One® Original aside, this particular photo was posted during a brief window of sincere amusement in the process of building the official ‘Sean’s sandwiches’ gallery. At this stage, Laurie’s friends are still along for the ride and happy to contribute funny quips. But by the time Laurie posted the sandwich in the next example, her friends had grown impatient and repulsed.

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"Stay tuned" is the kind of thing you say to people who aren’t throwing up in their mouths in response your son’s latest inedible creation. I’m not sure you could pay any of these people to take a bite out of this peanut butter and scrambled egg sandwich, but I can tell you FOR SURE that it needs hot sauce. (And I suppose some cheese, like Emily suggested, but at the same time that sounds disgusting.)

Can you guys even handle what Sean made for himself on his birthday?

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Back-To-School Round-Up!

Back-to-school can be a complicated time for parents whose emotions, and Facebook updates, are pulsing with intense frequency. Not even on the most photo-heavy of holidays will you see such a constant stream of singularly-themed content — backpack after backpack, lunchbox after lunchbox — posted with so much pride and excitement.

Don’t get me wrong, the first day of school has always been an exciting occasion — for children. But I don’t recall my parents getting especially “excited” about my first day(s) of school, although I’m sure they were thrilled to be rid of me for eight consecutive hours a day. Not one “first day of school” picture exists of me or my brother, and when I called to ask my parents what they were “feeling” on my first day of school, my father’s response was, “What was I feeling? I was feeling like getting you out the door so you could get to the bus stop on time,” and my (retired high school teacher) mother’s response was, “It wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t take any pictures, and I’ve never seen any pictures in anyone’s house of their kids on the first day. I do remember that all the parents would gather at a house down the street after the bus took you guys to school, and we would have coffee and doughnuts and stuff. But that was more of a celebration. It wasn’t about the kids, it was about the kids being gone, FINALLY! And that was a longstanding neighborhood tradition!” Then she kind of trailed off and started listing the different types of foods they ate: coffee cake, doughnuts, muffins, fruit. And then she paused for a minute before saying, ”You had a very normal upbringing. Whatever’s happened afterwards is all on you. HAHAHA!!!!” and cackled loudly until we got off the phone. 

In other words, the “traditions”of yesteryear don’t have much to do with idolizing children or even showing them off in their cute outfits. You kind of couldn’t. What were you going to do, take a roll of film to the drugstore and get the photos developed right away so you could show every person you came into contact with twelve or thirty or even just one photo of your kid standing on the driveway (and likely not holding a fancy life-sized chalkboard detailing their likes, dislikes, bucket lists, and whatnot)? No. It didn’t make sense then. But who knows, maybe if the internet and digital cameras and Facebook had existed at that time, our parents would’ve done the same thing, just before celebrating the first day of school with coffee and doughnuts alone, on Instagram. God, that sounds depressing.

That being said, back-to-school is not a bleak time in 2014. It’s full of smiles and hair bows and trendy T-shirts, and social media is the perfect place for parents to express themselves. Unless, of course, they suck at it. And about 99% of the time that’s the case, it’s because the parent is some kind of helicopter mom-mama bear “fierce protector” hybrid. It’s how we’ve come to live in a world where memos like this get sent home to parents (this one from a school in Australia):

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"…these types of moves" makes me think of breakdancing, or twerking, or maybe dancing in a Satanic ritual circle with knives. Cartwheels, handstands, and other gymnastics "moves" performed by children just seem like "regular movement" for kids who are already bouncing off the walls with excessive amounts of energy. Kids can’t help that their natural levels of adrenaline often lead to intentionally falling down or diving off of tall structures or running and tumbling into cartwheels or handsprings. That’s just what they do. At this point, I’m waiting for the average PE class to consist of eating a Clif bar and sitting in a gaming room. 

Anyway, the point is — back-to-school has practically been elevated to holiday status, and lots of parents on social media have had a field day (of sorts) since the middle of August. They’re all somewhat obsessed with their children, and yet their reactions to their kids returning to (or entering) school vary. Let’s check out some examples and then put this special scholastic time back on reserve until next August. (Note to parents: If your kid gets a new backpack anytime between mid-September and May, try to refrain from posting a picture.)

1. Helicopter Mom Pride

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Little Issabella looks mighty excited and cute in these pre-k pictures — but is it a multi-photo gallery worth of cute? Could this album have been trimmed down a bit? Aw, who cares. Why take time to hate on something that doesn’t happen every day, right? You only start pre-k once, and Issabella is thrilled to have her picture taken by her mom. Plus, it’s not like Tabitha is going to force anyone to endure this level of documom pride on a daily basis. It’s a special occasion!

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Ah. Never mind. Poor Issabella. When will parents learn that most humans, even tiny ones, aren’t huge fans of having their picture(s) taken before 8 a.m.? By the time Issabella is done with pre-k, she’ll probably have “accidentally” broken her mom’s camera at least 20 times, and all of her mom’s Facebook friends will be extremely understanding about it.

2. First Day Of School Pics On The Second Day

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This is the same ridiculous logic parents use when they hold back their kid so he’s the oldest in his class instead of the youngest. Sure, the dad being described in this tweet may have received more “Likes” or algorithmically come out on top in his friends’ newsfeeds, but how many of them wandered over to another platform to mock him for it? (At least one.)

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