Influencer Mario Mirante doesn’t have children. However, he does have strong opinions about parenting.
In a now-viral TikTok, Mirante shared a story about a mother and son he recently observed at a park.
“The kid is just playing quietly, not being annoying. I don’t hear a peep from him, he's just doing his thing on the playground,” Mirante said. “The mom the entire time is on her phone, staring right down at her screen. Doesn’t look up one time.”
Mirante said as he was walking by, he noticed the little boy sitting at the top of slide.
“I hear, ‘Hey mom, watch. Watch, Mom,’” Mirante recalled. “And at the top of her lungs, shrieking like a Velociraptor, this mother screams, ‘One second!!!”
Mirante noted that the sound of her voice stopped him in his tracks. According to Mirante, the child looked “terrified,” and also confused as to what he had done to upset his mom.
“He wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Mirante said. “Mom never looks up from the screen as the kid goes down (the slide).”
Mirante noted that he is most definitely “judging” the mother off of what he saw in those few minutes.
“When your kid isn’t doing something wrong, or in danger, you probably shouldn’t scream at them. It might have some traumatic effects in the future,” he declared.
“Are you guys that attached to your phones?” Mirantes demanded.
Mirante’s clip inspired many reaction videos, including one from content creator Abby Eckel. Eckel, a mom of two, pointed out that moms are often the default parent
“A default parent is typically one who is ‘first in line’ when it comes to caring for children, child-related responsibilities, or home-related tasks,” clinical psychologist Amber Thornton wrote in Psychology Today.
“If you have never been the default parent, and you don’t know what it’s like to be constantly needed all day, every day if you’re not the one consistently and constantly regulating your child’s emotional needs while also having to regulate your own, which also likely means that you’re having to relearn how to do that because you weren’t taught that as a child,” Eckel said her in TikTok video. “ I think it’s wise if you pipe down.”
While speaking with TODAY.com, Eckel said her heart goes out to the mom in the park.
“She is carrying around a mental and emotional load that men will never understand,” she says. “As mother’s we get judged so harshly. You know, dad takes his kids to the grocery store, he’s such a great father. Then mom takes her kids to the grocery store and she’s such a terrible mother because she can’t control her children.”
Though Mirante was widely criticized for his video, he also received praise.
“Am I the only one who thought that someone could have snatched the kid while the mom wasn’t looking?” one person wrote in the comments.
Added another, “I am a single mom, I 100% agree with you. Kids remember who is actually PRESENT with them, not glued to their phone, the TV etc etc.”
Another common response: “I thought the same way as you. And then I became a parent. Until you become a parent, you do not understand the struggle.”
In 2016, a photo of a mom named Molly Lensing went viral. In the photo that was captured in an airport, Lensing is shown staring down at her phone, while her infant rests on a blanket on the floor. The picture was taken without Lensing's permission and it quickly went viral with shaming comments.
“We had the unfortunate luck of being stuck in the middle of the Delta computer shut-down,” Lensing told TODAY.com in a 2017 interview. Lensing's flights were delayed and re-booked so many times that she spent more than 20 hours sitting in airports with her baby.
“Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch,” Lensing added. "And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were.”