Daycare Sign Shames Parents for -- Gasp! -- Using Their Phones


Facebook/Juliana Farris Mazurkewicz

As a working mom, I know the day doesn't really end at 5 p.m. Once working parents leave the office, we've got to put gas in the car, pick the kids up from daycare, get dinner started, and probably respond to a dozen emails and phone calls we missed while we were in meetings. It's hard to squeeze everything into those few free hours we get at the end of the day, and that's why this mom-shaming sign posted by a Texas daycare is rubbing so many working parents the wrong way.

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A mom on Facebook recently shared this photo of a sign posted outside her child's daycare. The sign hits parents with a major guilt trip about using their phones. It reads, "You are picking up your child -- GET OFF YOUR PHONE. Your child is happy to see you. Are you happy to see your child??"

The sign goes on to chastise parents for not being attentive enough at the end of their workday:

We have seen children trying to hand their parents their work they completed... We have heard a child say, 'Mommy, Mommy, Mommy...' and their parent is paying more attention to their phone. It is appalling. Get off your phone!

Yikes. Nothing like ending the day with an oversized serving of mom-shame.

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The sign has struck a nerve with parents on Facebook, where it's been shared an astonishing 957,000 times. Some commenters have argued that workers at this daycare have no right to lay a guilt trip on busy parents, but others actually agree with the sign's offensive message.

Parents on cell phones make that last commenter wonder why people even have kids? Seriously??

As a working mom, I can tell you the last thing I want to do is talk on the phone or read emails beyond working hours, but sometimes that's what has to be done in order for me to pay the bills and keep a roof over my kids' heads. That doesn't mean my children are less important to me. It just means that rush hour isn't the ideal time for me to stop and savor the moment.

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It's safe to say the majority of people who use daycare are working parents. For these parents, a 5:00 phone call might be their last chance to get important test results from the doctor's office before it closes for the day. They might be juggling a conference call and already dealing with the pressure of being the only person in the office who can't stay late. Or, maybe they had to leave early just to make it to daycare pickup on time, and they're trying to finish a project that simply can't wait.

I know rampant cell phone use is distracting and obnoxious. That's why grocery stores and fast food places often have signs asking people to get off the phone while they're paying for their purchases. The problem with this sign isn't the request to put the phone away. Rather, it's the way the message on the sign shames parents and calls into question their devotion to their kids.

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Working parents face judgment at every turn, whether it's from coworkers who think having a family means we're less devoted to our jobs, or a sanctimommy at the park who accuses us of letting a daycare "raise" our kids. Like all parents, we're doing the best we can with the circumstances we've got. The last thing any of us needs is to be told we're doing a bad job based on the 10 minutes of our lives people witness at daycare pickup.

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