Twitter's main character today is unquestionably Taylor Lorenz for her Libs Of TikTok exposé, but an amusing B-plot has developed around a foster mom who took to Twitter to vent her frustrations with fostering an 18-year-old boy.
"Holy shit parenting an 18yo is terrifying and difficult. They can make decisions??? That are bad???? And I can only say "dude that is a VERY BAD decision"??" wrote @herong at the beginning of a thread that caught Twitter's attention. What started as a fairly innocuous complaint about parenting an 18-year-old soon veered towards cringe in the eyes of many Twitter users in a pair of tweets that read:
I also washed the 11yo's hair tonight. (We're doing the curly girl lifestyle!)
THE AMOUNT OF EMOTIONAL LABOR I'VE PERFORMED IN THE PAST TWO HOURS HOLY FUCK
How do I tell the 18yo that using me as a therapist and a crisis counselor isn't healthy for either of us? He has no consistently supportive adult voices in his life except ours. But I'm conscious of the femme labor paradigm it's reinforcing that I'm the "parent" confidant.
The citation of "emotional labor" set off a wave of eye-rolls from Twitter users. "Emotional labor" was originally coined as a term to define how employees are expected to act a certain way in front of customers (e.g., acting "happy" for a customer even if you are not). Over time, the term has morphed into a sort of catchall for any unpleasant emotional experience. As Mel Magazine defined it in 2019:
On Twitter, where there isn’t so much concept creep as concept hyper-acceleration, the term now essentially means “women expending energy on some unpaid task.” Reminding your boyfriend what star sign you are? Emotional labor. Explaining your tweet to a Reply Guy? Emotional labor.
@herong's tweet comparing parenting to "emotional labor" was a straw that broke Twitter's collective back at the constant misuse of the term, and many vented their frustration at her thread.
taking care of your kids isn't "emotional labor" and listening to your son isn't "femme labor" that's literally not what those words mean holy shit
— Thibaut Nicodème (@TalysAlankil) April 19, 2022
Referring to the act of parenting and emotionally supporting your own children as “emotional labor” is blood curdling
— Yassified Vlad Tepes Portrait (@baalhisses) April 19, 2022
Honey, not now, mommy is busy posting about you being an emotional burden that she despises on twitter.
— gav, but 2021 (@BrookerHG) April 19, 2022
as if the foster system in this country weren't bad enough imagine making your way through it to become a legal adult only to be adopted by someone who says tommy need drinky type stuff on twitter dot com
— "Daddy Magic" Kath Barbadoro (@kathbarbadoro) April 19, 2022
Literally every day with this. Parenting is hard! pic.twitter.com/42pY1gYV15
— ben "gritty arthur" flores (@limitlessjest) April 19, 2022
This is the kid that lady adopted and is now complaining about pic.twitter.com/1StZOyWJU6
— Will 🦥 Menaker (@willmenaker) April 19, 2022
My niece wants me to be her therapist and crisis counselor!! Tired of the emotional labor she expects me to put into upholding this femme paradigm. pic.twitter.com/dVUwFPlaDt
— Grace Freud (@GraceGFreud) April 19, 2022
Why is this kid* talking to me?
— Salad Rater (@RateMySalad) April 19, 2022
Online, parenting is often the subject of some of Twitter's best riffs, and @herong's thread contributes to a long line of parental self-owns on the app. Gamely, she said she would take the L and mute the thread, but shortly after she tweeted that, her account went private.