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Dear Moms caught in the social media light

I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that you have to raise your children in fear of being judged by strangers.

When I had my older girls, there was no social media. When I had my other two kids, it was brand new. I’m so incredibly thankful that I had my kids before the firestorm of social media. But I could still be a victim.

My heart goes out to any mom who has had their picture taken by a stranger. My heart aches for moms who have seen their pictures shared all over social media having complete strangers judge them in situations that the person taking the picture wasn’t in. That person couldn’t know what the mom was going through. The people judging the mom certainly didn’t know her situation.

A couple of years ago I took my kids to see Santa. I procrastinate every year and it was down to the wire. I accept responsibility for that. However, I had the flu. But I couldn’t disappoint my kids so I dragged myself out of bed and headed for the mall. Yeah, I know, I took my germs to the germ infested mall. I stood in line, shivering, until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I left the kids with their 16 year old sister and ran to the car to see if there was a jacket or blanket. There was a towel. I didn’t care. I wrapped the towel around my shoulders, found the kids and sat in a chair close by, where I could see my them. I wanted so badly to close my eyes for just a few minutes but I knew that the second I did, someone would take my picture and share it on social media labeling me a lazy mom who can’t even stand in line with her kids.

That is wrong.

The picture that tipped me over the edge on this growing phenomenon of entitlement to every person who owns a cell phone was this one-

I had the decency to block out her face as well as the woman next to her.

We don’t know this woman’s story. Maybe in her eyes she placed her baby on the floor to stretch his legs after a long flight. Maybe she was taking a picture to show her husband they’d made it. Maybe she’d held the baby for hours and needed a break. We don’t know.

But it was wrong for someone to take that picture AND it was wrong for it to be shared all over social media.

You are a stranger. Why do you think you have a right to take a picture of someone you don’t know then blast them on social media? You do not have that right. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Former Playboy Playmate, Dani Mathers, learned the hard way how wrong it is to take a picture of someone without their knowledge and share it to social media. Hers is an extreme case since the woman was naked but the picture was taken without her consent. But it was still wrong.

I’ll admit that I’ve taken a picture of a stranger. I probably shared it. I’m ashamed of myself. Most of us are guilty of doing it. Hell, a friend of mine had a section on his blog for funny pictures of strangers. But that was several years ago before social media blew up with Instagram and Snapchat, etc. That was before pictures like the one above got shared thousands of times and got picked up by news stations. That was before nasty, judgmental people slammed moms, and every day people like themselves, for having a weak moment, bad day or were doing the right thing in their eyes.

Enough is enough. We need to take a stand. We need to say that it’s not okay for you to take my picture without my permission. It’s not okay for you to post my picture on social media. It’s not okay for you to allow thousands of people to judge me- especially not knowing my situation. It’s not okay.

The next time you see something funny, strange or something you don’t agree with and take out your cell phone, stop and think- if it was you who was the victim, how would you feel? Put yourself in their shoes, even if you disagree with what they are doing. You are not a judge. You are not God. You do not have my permission to take a picture of me to ridicule me.

It’s wrong. And it needs to stop.

By the way, I support the woman in the picture. She placed her baby on a blanket, out of harm’s way, while she waited in an airport. In my eyes, from what I see in this one moment with you, I see a good mom.

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