Mom friends go to battle for each other. So I’m going to battle for one of my mom friends.
You’ve watched that recent viral video of a Los Angeles reporter who “made the pre-Kindergarten kid cry” on the first day of school? She’s one of my mom friends. I’ve even written about her on this blog.
Yes, Courtney Friel of KTLA-5 is a friend of mine. She also happens to be a mom of a 4 year old boy and 3 year old girl (same ages as my kids) and can throw an epic My Little Pony birthday party while wearing pink pigtails and serving a homemade chocolate cake with massive sprinkles action.
Contrary to what many have posted about and attacked her for on air and online: No, she is NOT ‘mean.’
I won’t call it war, but when all kinds of strangers attack your mom friend it turns into a different kind of mommy war…
Who would ask a question like that? She should be ashamed of herself! I don’t understand why she asked him that?!? Guessing the reporter is not a mom?!? How stupid can you be? The Facebook comments go on and on… and some of the emails she’s received from viewers have been WORSE…. calling her all sorts of 4-letter words beginning with c- and f- and, well, use your imagination. (I know because she sent me one of them… it was one of the most shocking and horrific things I’ve ever read. No matter what you may think of her as a viewer, that’s not cool. Not cool.)
Stop waging war on this single working mom.
For starters? Watch the FULL segment (not just the part that went viral) and get the full perspective.
And after you’re done watching the full clip, please stop attacking someone who showed up and did her job the best she could that day. Have any of you ever tried interviewing kids on air? Not as easy as it seems… especially when you’re in a high-anxiety mess of the first day of school and all kids are giving you one-word answers while your superiors back at the station are expecting a kick-a$$ story about the first day of school.
Yes, reporters are used to high-pressure situations. But they’re also regular people at the end of the day who happen to also sometimes have less-than-stellar days at work. We don’t have to be mean about it. Being mean is a major fail.
You want the backstory? I’ll give you the backstory. How do I know it? Because Courtney and I were texting the other day when this whole mess broke — we were actually trying to coordinate a time to get together for a girlfriend catch-up session and then the convo evolved into work stuff… Here’s what happened that day: Prior to the actual question heard ’round the internet, Courtney had been talking to the little boy (on camera) for about 5 or 6 minutes, asking him all kinds of things and joking and laughing. Unbeknownst to what we all saw online, she kinda had a bit of a friendship with the little guy prior to ‘that question’. And then ‘that moment’ happened. Just like that. On camera. In the Internet age. According to Courtney, the little boy’s mom was standing right next to him (off camera) and was seemingly unfazed by the debacle.
Do you honestly think that she purposely wanted to make that cute little kid cry? She’s a real woman and a MOM — her heart broke when things went awry and she immediately wanted to hug him but didn’t know what to do since the mom was standing right next to them (she told me). And, I will mention just so it’s on the record: What makes it to air isn’t always the sole decision of the reporter… I’ll leave it at that.
People are ripping her up and down because of what? A single moment. A MOMent. A moment in time that all parents can relate to. It’s not like she endangered a kid. It’s not like she made him say a bad word on air. It’s not like she compromised any kind of moral code. The boy’s mom was (reportedly) not angry or upset, KTLA-5 got a viral video that made it to every single major network news outlet and boosted their visibility online (which will then increase their ad revenue in some indirect way thanks to massive hits to their site), and an adorable little boy had a most honest and tender reaction caught on camera that will forever be ingrained in the memory of parents who drop their kids off for the first day of school.
Let’s check our jaded and accusatory personalities at the door. It was a sweet, innocent moment. The reporter did not have ill intentions in any way.
The added insight that I will offer, as her friend, is this: Courtney is very anxious about dropping off her own kids at school in a few weeks. And whether we can admit it or not, sometimes our mom-lives bleed into our work-lives without us even realizing it. It’s an inescapable circumstance of being a mother. I’m no psychologist, but maybe — MAYBE — that question came from a most deep, emotional place that even she didn’t know existed. And for whatever reason, it made it to our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds for us all to see and feel in a most real way… as moms, kids and parents only can. Maybe, in the big picture of our own lives, we needed that video to reconnect our own dots to remind ourselves of what a special milestone it truly is to send our ‘babies’ to school for the first time. I know I’m there now. Too mushy for you? Bam. (Please know that I came up with this small theory on my own, just based on major life changes that I know Courtney is going through right now.)
So please, as moms/parents/viewers, stop ripping her a new one for the sport of it. (Your bit on E! News was entertaining and funny, but I’m talking to you, Will Marfuggi.) It was a moment in time. She feels awful enough as it is. And moms don’t have time to feel awful… we’ve got kids to raise and jobs to do. And Courtney has fabulous cakes to bake.