Taking a photo of a stranger and plastering it all over the internet is never a good idea. Even if you think you’re being clever, you’re not. You’re invading someone’s privacy and a personal moment. Mom of three Molly Lensing knows all too well what it feels like to “go viral” for all the wrong reasons, thanks to an asshole with a phone in an airport.
Lensing wants to set the record straight behind a photo of her and her youngest daughter that went viral during the last year.
In the photo, we see Lensing sitting in a crappy airport chair on her phone while her infant daughter is sprawled out on a blanket on the floor near her feet. Some guy (because of course it was a guy — most fellow moms would never) shared the photo of her on his Facebook page to shame her and refer to her as an “idiot” for being on her phone while her baby was on the blanket.
Immediately, Lensing was shamed by thousands of people she’s never met, who don’t know her or the story behind the photo that never should have been shared in the first place.
“We had the unfortunate luck of being stuck in the middle of the Delta computer shut-down,” Lensing told TODAY Parents. She said her flights had been delayed and re-booked several times, and she was forced to spend more than 20 hours sitting in airports with her then two-month-old daughter, Anastasia.
Almost nothing sucks as much as being stuck in an airport sucks. For several hours. WITH AN INFANT. If you think a squirmy little baby would be content to be held for 20 hours straight, you’ve obviously never had a baby. They grunt and they fuss and sometimes, they just want to stretch out and have their own space. My daughter spent hours on a blanket on the floor in those days.
“Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours. My arms were tired. She needed to stretch,” Lensing said. “And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where the heck we were.”
A few months later, Lensing said she saw the photo of herself making the rounds online. She was quickly identified and, naturally, harassed by strangers who shamed her for the photo.
“I absolutely feel as though my privacy was violated,” she said. Lensing works as a pediatric nurse, and was worried her boss and co-workers would see the photo and it would jeopardize her job. “Thankfully, this never happened,” she said.
Image via Molly Lensing
Because anyone who’s raised kids or spent enough time with kids in general knows not to be an asshole and judge a mom in a situation you know nothing about. Thankfully, a lot of fellow moms supported Lensing after the photo went viral. Next time you feel like judging, let this serve as a big ol’ reminder for you: don’t do it.
“The positive support have been relieving,” she tells Scary Mommy. “It affirms what I always knew about the situation- I did nothing wrong and my baby was perfectly safe.”