Behind the picket fences and bay windows of America's affluence, a war is raging. Parents are locked in a heated battle with each other that is somehow ugly, vicious and spectacularly boring all at the same time; it is the fight over who can love their kids the hardest. The battle grounds are parks, play dates and birthday parties where Moms and dads wield violins, Latin Language DVDs and thousand dollar strollers like weapons built exclusively to shame and belittle anyone else who has the audacity to call themselves a good parent. And just like any war, the only real winners are the arms dealers. Toddler clothing boutiques, and asinine product manufacturers have no allegiance except to profit, and they will forever spit out new products that offer conspicuous superiority for the parents who can afford them. Oh, and for kids. They are also for kids.
The newest addition to this arsenal is the lunchbox letter. Some parents have been putting notes in kids' lunchboxes for decades, presumably to remind the other children in the cafeteria what real love looks like, or to teach their own child the fundamentals of taking a punch. But until recently, parents were using this method to embarrass their children for free. Not anymore. Pottery Barn, Target and a handful of small vendors have alleviated mothers and fathers the hassle of loving their kid on paper by doing it for them. They've compiled hundreds of benign phrases like "You're so creative!" or "I love how smart you are!" and printed them on card stock which parents can cram between thermoses and carrot sticks regardless of how untrue they may be. These companies have stolen what was once a spontaneous act of affection and used it to perpetuate the status competition between parents instead. I cannot abide.
"When you're at school, don't forget I exist!"