While on her way to pick up her daughter at a Hockley, Texas, daycare, Juliana Farris Mazurkewicz noticed something out of the ordinary. That item was a note from the center’s owner. And once Mazurkewicz shared a snap of the message online, the post ultimately sparked a heated debate across the internet.
There’s no doubt that parenting in today’s world can be difficult. Certainly, that appears to be the conclusion reached by a 2013 study by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, which found that those with children overwhelmingly agreed that raising their kids was harder now than it had been in the past.
And there are plenty of theories as to why moms and dads may feel that way. In a 2014 blog for the Institute of Family Studies, for example, Anna Sutherland asserted that parenting is tough nowadays because it has become a bona fide choice. Adults are no longer obligated to get married and start families in the way they have been in the past.
Plus, Sutherland wrote, there are now far more guides and hypotheses about how to best raise children. Trying to find the right method, then, could prove stressful. “It’s no wonder even the most conscientious parents are overwhelmed,” Sutherland added.
On top of all those decisions, parents have jobs to worry about, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Employment Characteristics of Families Summary, 61.9 percent of families with children reported that both parents worked.
And work often creeps into parents’ personal lives. Smartphones can keep everyone in the loop around the clock, after all, and that may certainly be seen as a double-edged sword. When parents spend time with their little ones, then, they may very well be distracted by notifications on their devices.
Those very distractions even found themselves at the center of an internet-wide debate, thanks to a social media post from mom Mazurkewicz. It all started when she went to pick up her daughter from daycare in their hometown of Hockley, Texas.
Upon reaching the facility, however, Mazurkewicz saw a sign tacked to the door that grabbed her attention. And the sheer audacity of the note took the mom aback. “I was surprised that they would be so bold,” she told ABC News in 2017.
The one-page message addressed the parents coming to get their children from the daycare – and it was clear that the owner did not appreciate some of their behavior. “You are picking up your child,” the note began.
Then, in a bold and underlined font, the owner wrote in all caps, “GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!!” And the missive also posed a stirring question to those glued to their devices. “Your child is happy to see you. Are you happy to see your child?” it continued.
The note went on to describe the smartphone-centric scenarios that the owner had apparently witnessed in the past. “We have seen children trying to hand their parents their work they completed, and the parent is on the phone,” the message said.
“We have heard a child say, ‘Mommy, mommy, mommy…’ and the parent is paying more attention to their phone than their own child. It is appalling,” the owner added. And the final sentence rather hammered the point home.
“Get off your phone!!” the note ended. Upon reading the message, however, Mazurkewicz grabbed her own smartphone to snap a picture of it. She then uploaded the shot to her Facebook page, where it has racked up a whopping two million shares since being posted in January 2017.
And, of course, many people had opinions about the daycare owner’s action. Mazurkewicz, for one, told CNN in 2017, “I was a bit shocked [about the poster], but I didn’t feel any negativity towards the daycare. I know that the staff has the best interests of the children in mind – even to the point where they are willing to offend the parent.”
Ultimately, though, Mazurkewicz appreciated the daycare’s message. “But I also liked [what the note said]. I thought it was on point,” she told ABC News. A fellow parent from the Hockley, Texas, center appeared to agree with her, too.
Coley Sloan Jones’ stepchild attended the daycare at the time that the missive had been put on the door. Of the warning to parents, she said to ABC News, “I thought it was a valid reminder to parents to be aware and attentive to their child or children. Sometimes other things can wait, including a phone call.”
And Mazurkewicz noticed that those who had seen her post appeared to be divided. “Half the people are saying [that] it’s not the daycare’s business what paying customers do, and the other half are saying that it’s great they are looking after the children’s well-being,” she said.
One commenter, for instance, reminded others that calls could be important – and that this could mean that some parents are attached to their phones. “This is ridiculous. Who is anyone to tell a child’s parent not to use their phone? They might be working? Or have an emergency or anything else that’s none of their business,” they wrote.
Another Facebook user, on the other hand, concurred with the content of the message but disliked its delivery. “I am appalled that a daycare would post this. I agree fully with the statement but abhor shaming,” they explained.
However, Mazurkewicz did notice one trend among commenters that made her glad she had shared the message. She said to ABC News, “There are a few [people] that said, ‘I need to work on this,’ which I think is pretty cool.”