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Never Judge a Mom by her Poolside Pics

Recently, I overheard some folks talking about this post - . While it's not new, it's recently gone viral and making it's way around the new outlets and peoples' feeds. If you are unfamiliar - it is one person's interpretation of what happened when a mom was taking staged photos of her daughter at a local pool.

The people I overheard found it so easy to judge “the mom” and talk about how social media is creating problems for “real moms” and how it's all so fake.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought that how we digest and interpret social media content really says just as much about ourselves than those posting it – so I wanted to share a little bit more that Jen and others didn’t know about the mom at the pool….

The mom Jen saw that day is Missy. She’s a single mom of three kids. “Little One” is Molly.

Missy was working her way up the ladder for a marketing firm where she loved her job and was great at it. But after her third child was born, Missy and her husband had a nasty divorce.

At 5 years old, Molly is the oldest and she endured the worst of things and was very negatively affected.

Missy knew she couldn’t keep working full-time if she wanted to be there for her kids the way they needed her to be.

Missy unceremoniously left the company where she’d worked the past 10 years and set out to create a life where her children would have a fulltime parent in their lives.

With marketing being all she knew, Missy dove head first into a new career as a digital marketer.

During the rare overlapping nap and in between nighttime feedings and the frequent nightmares Molly experienced, Missy slowly grew an online following and business while her savings depleted.

Even though times were tough, and even though she felt guilty at times for spending time photographing and posting with her kids, Missy was grateful to be able to schedule her day around her kids needs and incorporate their activities into her work.

When Jen saw Missy at the pool, Missy had just gotten a call that a kids sunscreen brand needed new digital content and needed it right away.

Knowing this was a rare opportunity, Missy begged her mom to watch her two younger kids and spent more money than she should have to get everything she needed to create the perfect content.

With a lot on the line, Missy was so nervous that on the way to the pool she called her friends to help calm her nerves. Missy and Molly pulled up to the local pool with Missy’s best friend on the phone doing all she could to calm and relax her friend.

Working as quickly as possible, Missy used everything she bought to stage a colorful and creative photoshoot – carefully placing the items so she could return some of the props she knew she really couldn’t afford. Molly, who loved being a part of her mom’s work, posed for a few photos, and at the end, an anxious and nervous Missy called her friend back to let her know that everything went well.

As they rushed off to make it to Molly’s therapist appointment, Missy thought about the hours she’d have to spend editing photos after the kids went to bed in order to make the client’s deadline – another sleepless night.

With Molly out of earshot in the therapist office, Missy called her mom crying. She wondered if she was doing the right things for her kids, she was scared that she might not be able to make it on her own, and she didn’t know how much longer she could keep going - and that she'd be home soon and not to worry, she had dinner planned for the kids.

As Molly emerged from her appointment, with puffy crying eyes that matched her mom’s, Missy pulled herself together.

They drove to the local ice cream shop where Missy and Molly enjoyed a peaceful moment together before heading back home where she would make dinner with her kids, snuggle on the couch before bedtime, and then work through the night to meet the client’s deadline and so she would have the next day to spend with her kids.

One of the biggest negatives we see from social media is not the creating and sharing of content, but the willingness people have (an in some cases a sick joy) to judge and harshly criticize strangers without the full picture.

As Jen mentions, social media is not the full picture – it’s not intended to be.

Jen goes on to mention how bad Missy's posts might make other moms feel. Seems that if we negatively digest social media content, that is not the content creators fault, but something internal we should examine and take responsibility for?

What is it saying about ourselves that we see fun photos of a kid at a pool and jump to an article's worth of negative assumptions?

Instead of finding guilt and blame when viewing Missy’s posts, why not find inspiration?

Take it as a reminder of how fun it would be to spend some extra time with our kids? Or a great idea of how to spend Saturday afternoon?

And of course, a reminder to buy the sunblock – because after all, we know how important it is to block out harmful crap from our lives!

As an aside, I'd like to thank Lisa at Northern Roots Wellness & Coaching for her recent communication workshop where we spent a lot of time learning to take the time to be see things through other peoples' eyes and become curious instead of judicial - it seems more critical than ever to take a moment to understand where someone is coming from and get the full picture before jumping to conclusions.

Brought to you by Think Baby Sun Screen:


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