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Dear Angry Dad In My Town Facebook Group

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Dear Dad on my Town FB Group,

Please stop putting up petitions and notices for protests outside of the city center to open schools. Seriously. No shit, Sherlock. I know you are feeling powerless and frustrated and you have probably had to actually engage in actual hardcore childcare while working, or made really questionable decisions which impacted your child’s development in order to stay in a meeting so you could pay the mortgage and not be homeless. Yeah … welcome to the game, player.

Welcome. Welcome to powerlessness. Welcome to uncertainty. Welcome to the relentless lack of knowing. I’ve tried to bargain with this. I’ve tried to read articles, speak to other mothers, childcare experts, teachers, psychologists. I’ve yelled, had sticker charts, rewards, driven thirty miles for a Minecraft figurine. I’ve walked away, had patience, endured humiliation on an hourly basis. I’ve kept going, stopped trying, taken “me time” and stayed present. I’ve listened, I’ve kept to the schedule, been flexible and gotten over the hump. I’ve had great moments, and I’ve curled up in a ball. I’ve tried to schedule therapy appointments for myself for the past eight years, only to be so overwhelmed by the scheduling and insurance that I found it more traumatic than any trauma I was going through. And this was before the pandemic.

Here’s what I want from you. Just stop. Stop telling everyone to go back to their desks. The fucking building is about to collapse. Put your anger down. We are all angry. We are all bathing in how unfair this is. Nobody is having an easier time. Nobody is doing better than you. Nobody is ahead of you. Nobody is falling behind. We are all free-falling. Nobody can take it anymore. Nobody is living their best life. Everyone is derailed. We all have to get off the train and start walking. Stop trying to recruit everyone to get back on the train; it crashed. We all need to work together to get back to town. Are you helping to carry someone’s luggage? Are you carrying a child? Are you caring for someone who is hurt?

Are you motivating tired travellers to keep walking? Are you helping to lead a song to keep people awake? Are you helping with the map? Are you looking for the best route so we don’t freeze to death at night or get eaten alive by alligators crossing a river? Can you just tell a damn joke?

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Do you know who is? Our superintendent, our teachers, our principals, our nurses, our doctors, our grocery store workers, our first responders and everyone else who makes it possible for you to safely work from home.

We all want what you want. We all hear you. We all can’t sleep because we are so desperate for that to happen. But you know how that is not going to happen? By having a rally. By pretending that the rules don’t apply to you. By pretending that none of us are in any danger. By demoralizing and minimizing people who could just quit. By turning those who are trying to save you from the alligators into the enemy. There’s not going to be a school to go back to if you keep it up.

If you want a warm and supportive environment for your kids, try being warm and supportive. We all want socialization, but socialization also means cooperation. It’s part of it. The greater good is all good. Socialization means being part of society and adhering to the rules: “The process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.”

Our society’s rules are changing extremely rapidly, and I understand that you are lost. I really do. I hear you and I hear all your anger, entitlement, and feelings of powerlessness. You want to use your skills to get us out of this by starting a group who is enraged by our current situation. I am begging you, please use your skills to just stay at home as much as possible and work with the cards you’ve been dealt as much as you can.

You live in a house. I do not. You have your own situation that has become ruthless. I hear you, but you also live in an extremely affluent community that gives you a voice. You probably even know someone important, which made you feel like you had a right to post that petition, but here’s the thing — if you had time to organize that rally and write that petition, you had time to help your kid with remote learning. If you had time to organize that rally and that petition, you were not doing laundry, keeping the kids engaged, helping to plan their school project, researching library books, picking up library books, planning a remote birthday party, doing dishes, repairing the sink and all the painfully mundane and stressful life tasks that you have come in close proximity to.

You can’t hack this. I will do you this favor. I won’t tell you that you are crazy and need to calm down. Go ahead, scream into the abyss.

One more quick thing. I promise. You keep listing the super affluent communities surrounding us. Why are they open? Well, my friend, we all know the dirty little answer. Their taxes are higher and they have way more power. Just deal with it. The next CEO of Amazon lives there. If there is a budget gap for any protective requirements, someone just writes a check. You want to really help? Raise some fucking money for the school.

Let me womansplain this to you. Get in line; you are just like us now, invisible and unacknowledged. Sit down and get to work. Stop it so we all can get back to school in the fall. We all want that, and none of us can have it if you keep being a dick.

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