Your kids may not listen to you ever, but maybe they’ll read one of your passive aggressive notes on their lunch bag?
Blogger Whitney Cicero was getting fed up about feeding her kids — and also a lot of other aspects of parenting. Instead of flipping out, she started taking her feelings out with a black Sharpie on her kids’ paper lunch bags, and the results were so hilarious that her kids, their friends, and the internet all demanded more.
While it started as stress relief, it was a joke that everyone, including her 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, appreciated.
“I first started writing passive aggressive notes on my kids’ lunch bags because it was either that or poisoning them,” she wrote on one of her Instagram posts. “My daughter convinced me they were funny and told me to start posting them on Instagram. I did and the response was overwhelming.”
The bags take on aspects of tween and teen life that many parents grapple with, from Fortnite addiction to retainers to hygiene, and they’re all a tough-to-come-by mix of loving and snarky.
“I don’t know why your locker smells,” one reads, while another says, “Get off your phone.”
Now, the pictures on Instagram have gone viral, and Cicero has even started selling the bags on Facebook and through her blog, The New Stepford. The bags are $10 for a 10-pack, and each month comes with new passive aggressive messages for your kids. She even offers personalized messages if you tell her a little about your family.
“It’s imperative to have humor with your kids,” Cicero told TODAY Parents. “We joke about everything — sex, drugs, politics, their bodies — I don’t want them to think anything is taboo. Humor is a great segue into having meaningful conversations and it helps break the tension of things that can be kind of awkward. And, if we don’t have a sense of humor about parenting, we will literally lose our minds.”
What was going through her mind when she wrote on the first bag?
“It was one of those mornings where they’re just complaining and driving me crazy,” she tells Scary Mommy. “They were really steam of consciousness as I was packing lunches. It was fun for me – I think people like trolling their kids a little bit.”
Cicero is still kind of baffled that her kids enjoy them, and that people want to buy the bags for themselves–but she’s more than happy to supply them. Of course, she can’t recreate all of the passive aggressive lunch bag ideas for others.
“You know how they get those obscene amount of school pictures? I sometimes just staple the extra ones onto his lunch.”
Cicero plans to sell the bags through the holiday season and beyond – she’s even had requests to do a series for husbands’ lunch bags. Throughout the process, she’s been having fun.
“It’s been fantastic,” she says. “It’s been wonderful. People say, thank god, this is how I feel.Thank you for saying this out loud. I get that a lot.”
Her kids still enjoy the bags, too.
“In a way, it’s bringing an inner dialogue out, and for them, they like it,” she says. “And they’re used to having an embarrassing mom. It’s part of their journey.”
This article was originally published on