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Mom Who Says She'd 'Rather Die' Than Play With Her Kids Gets Suspended From Twitter

Photo: @EmilyVanDuyne/Twitter, Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock.com
A child flying a kite in a meadow beside a screenshot of Emily Van Duyne's tweet about not wanting to play with her kids

Anyone who has kids or has cared for them knows the appeal of their child-world can wear thin pretty quickly. 

Sure, they're cute and funny and imaginative, but sometimes you just hit a wall and need a break, or something more interesting, or even just a moment of adult conversation, right?

But for one mom on Twitter, writer Emily Van Duyne, playing with her kids is an actual chore—one she hates so much she tweeted she'd "rather die" than do it. 

Of course, lots of parents are probably like, "same." Keeping a kid entertained is hard and often thankless work! 

But many, many people on Twitter weren't feeling empathetic—Van Duyne's comment sparked such an uproar that the mom ended up getting suspended from the platform.

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Van Duyne argued that playing with her kids is not her job and is "boring beyond acceptability."

Her tweet came in response to one by fellow writer Lucy Hubel in which she hit back at moms who shame other moms online for letting their kids have too much screen time. 

Photo credit: @clhubes/Twitter

In her since-deleted tweet, Huber aired her frustrations about parents who brag about cutting screentime out of their family.

Huber notes that "barely any parents actually have time to play with their kids 24/7," a situation most parents can surely identify with.

In response, Van Duyne wrote that not only does she not have time to play with her kids, but she'd also "rather die" than do so. 

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Photo credit: @EmilyVanDuyne/Twitter

Van Duyne justified her refusal to play by reasoning that she talks to, reads to, feeds and comforts them, and "they have friends to play with."

She also reasoned that in addition to all of those other tasks, she also "work[s] to pay for their lives"—and it was that line that seemed to upset Twitter users the most.  

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Van Duyne's tweet sparked a major uproar on Twitter as people accused her of being a bad mother. 

Van Duyne was not without her supporters, of course.

One mom wrote, "thank you, this is the honesty and humor we need!" while a dad confessed, "if I’m being frank, I agree with you. I really don’t enjoy playing with my small kids. At all."

But most people were appalled by Van Duyne's tweet, especially her line about "work[ing] to pay for their lives"—since, you know, that's... kind of a parent's job and all?

As one tweeter put it, "it's *literally* the *least* you can do."

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Others wondered why Van Duyne had even had children in the first place if she hates playing with them so much.

And several took things a step further, warning Van Duyne that she was actually damaging her children.

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Many tweeters dragged Van Duyne by telling her to be prepared for her kids to resent her for the rest of their lives.

One user wrote, "Emily’s children are gonna put her in the worst, grimiest, most abusive nursing home and you know what, @emilyvanduyne will 100% deserve it."

Van Duyne was undeterred by the backlash, of course.

Photo credit: @prairiegirlssk/Twitter, @EmilyVanDuyne/Twitter

Even when an expert, a play therapist, tried to gently warn that "play is the language of kids," Van Duyne doubled down, calling the advice "self-important trash."

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Van Duyne eventually walked back her tweet, but it did little to quell the backlash.

That intense backlash quickly escalated to misogynistic threats according to some tweeters.

In a follow-up tweet, Van Duyne laughed off the uproar, saying "LOLZ I am so prone to hyperbole. I would not, in fact, rather die than play with my children."

But she added that, "I stand by the truth of its boredom, however."

And it's hard to argue with that. As one mom wrote, Van Duyen's critics "need to get real for once in their lives. Playing with children is boring."

But it sounds as if the backlash got truly out of hand. One user called out Twitter owner Elon Musk for suspending Van Duyne "after SHE was the recipient of misogynist harassment."

In the end, it seems like this whole thing was a bit overblown, especially since Van Duyne further clarified what she meant in another follow-up tweet.

Van Duyne wrote that she's very engaged with her kids, but just doesn't have time to "put on a costume and pretend to be a superhero or whatever."

Whether this constitutes actual neglect or is just a working mom placing boundaries on her already limited time is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. 

But you can always count on social media users to take any and all opportunities to shame moms. That is what started this whole conversation in the first place, after all.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.

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