Sean Spicer is many things: a father, a husband, White House press secretary, a comedic goldmine and a yes-man when it comes to aiding and abetting a commander in chief so childish The New York Times has called him “the middle-school president.”
But behind any middle-schooler who adopts the attitude that whatever happens, it’s someone else’s fault, is an enabling parent. And that’s where Sean Spicer — the world’s worst mom — comes in.
Consider Trump’s impromptu press conference yesterday, at which appeared wildly unhinged—lashing out against the “fake media” and falsely claiming to have had the biggest electoral win since Ronald Reagan — like a child crying out for attention.
“When a child carries a backlog of unresolved emotions, they tend to have a low tolerance to stress and even small requests, challenges or obstacles can feel overwhelming to them,” writes mommy blogger Genevieve, who offers courses for peaceful parenting. “You might need to take his hands, restraining him as gently as possible and say, ‘I’m not going to let you break anything.’”
But Sean isn’t a good mom, nor is he a proud mom. He’s just scared. Like the parent who walks away when their kid is having a meltdown in the middle of a Costco, Sean was nowhere to be found on Thursday. Later, he told CNN’s Michelle Kosinski that he thought Trump did “very good,” and praised him for using the presser to have, “a direct conversation with the American people.”
But a good mom knows that when your child demonstrates alarming behavior — like bullying other kids on the playground, lying, cheating or torturing animals — you don’t have to defend their actions. “We parents have a responsibility at home to teach our kids the right way to behave, the right way to treat our friends. The right way to apologize and to actually mean it,” writes Brenda Janowitz, author of Recipe for a Happy Life, of finding out that her son was bullying kids on the school bus.
Spicer is a “yes mom,” like parenting expert Bea Marshall, who allows her two boys to do anything they want, including ice cream for breakfast, not doing their homework or swearing back at her.
When the White House accused acting attorney general Sally Yates of betrayal for not defending Trump’s executive order on immigration, Spicer did what any yes mom would do and doubled down on his use of the term. Like Farrah Abraham, who defended her daughter’s urge to connect with strangers on Snapchat, Spicer turned on accusers upset by the president’s failure to mention Jews in his statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And like Pam Koehler — the mother of a 10-year-old boy who chanted “Take the bitch down!” at a Trump rally in Ashburn, Virginia, who blamed her son’s language on “Democratic schools,” — Spicer took a page from the yes mom playbook by blaming the media for his troubled teen’s use of a different b-word: “ban.”
But even Sean is starting to realize that being a yes mom has its limits. Daily leaks from the White House indicate that Trump isn’t too fond of mama Spicer’s parental style. And the president’s decision yesterday to forgo the proper media channels and hold an unscheduled press conference to show his mom how it’s done is yet another indication that this mother has lost control of her baby. Because ice cream for breakfast may be good the first few times—but after a while a kid needs structure and oatmeal and firmly being told that “no means no.” Otherwise, that child could end up turning into a raging sociopath whose idea of a nutritious meal is a bucket of extra-crispy. Oops, too late.