‘Reasons My Son Is Crying’ dad on wailing toddler pics as a parenting tool

One of Pembroke's sons was not happy while traveling to New York City to talk about the blog. (Courtesy of Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York)
One of Pembroke’s sons was not happy while traveling to New York City to talk about the blog. (Courtesy of Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York)

Greg Pembroke’s son was having a meltdown in a museum. Over cheese. A piece of cheese, torn down the middle.

“My oldest son just started to wail in the middle of this museum,” he remembers. “I’m like, well this is so over the top. That stuff happens all the time when you’ve got a kid.”

The Rochester, N.Y., dad of two snapped a pic of his son’s tear-strewn face, posting it to Facebook in an album that became a blog that spawned a book.

The creator of the “Reasons My Son is Crying” Tumblr blog, which went viral this month, is now penning the book. Parents from all over the world flooded him with submissions of their bawling babies, from New Jersey kids tumbling out of a hammock to a Chinese baby upset with his Superman outfit.

“It’s really funny to have accidentally found something that everybody can relate to,” Pembroke says.

Posting pics can be a parenting coping mechanism, he says.

“It’s easy to get bogged down and feeling upset about all the times your kid’s crying, because it makes you feel like a failure,” he explains. “Parents are wired to think that if your kids aren’t happy all the time, that you’re failing. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent just because you have to carry your kid screaming out of Disney World on your shoulder, crying the whole way. Which I did in May.”

The 33-year-old dad told us about posting pictures as parenting therapy.

What was it like to have pictures of your kids go viral?

It was so crazy. After [it appeared on Reddit], it started to spread so quickly. … It’s a little weird because, it’s easy to say this now, but we are pretty private. That week on the MSN homepage, there was a picture of LeBron James, Margaret Thatcher and my 1-year-old. It was absolutely surreal to see. It’s a little overwhelming initially, but the feedback was so overwhelmingly positive. … I think someone has visited my blog from every country in the world, except maybe North Korea. You can’t win them all.

Why do you think this has struck such a chord?

In general, the people that get it are people that have normal, healthy toddlers, who have been around kids. This is a phase they go through. It’s going to happen. …. Kids are going to cry. You can either pull your hair out, or you can say, “This is a little bit ridiculous.”

How has this helped you in your own parenting?

It really does help you see the humor side. This is a stage in childhood development, a stage in parenting. I know right now that I’m going to miss this when they’re out of it, and I think it’s a reminder to me to just kind of laugh about the insanity. It’s not always going to be this way. When they get older, they’re going to have problems that aren’t always as easily laughed off, and I think then I’m going to be a bit nostalgic.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison


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