Being stuck at an airport for 20 hours with a two-month old baby sounds like an excruciating experience no parent should ever have to face. That happened to 29-year-old mother of three Molly Lensing, and then it got even worse when another passenger posted a photo of her to the Internet and she became a viral meme about the dangers of cell phone use and idiot parents, even though she hadn't done anything wrong.
According to Today Parents, Lensing was stuck at a Colorado airport about a year ago. There was a complete shut down of Delta's computers, and nobody could go anywhere. Lensing had been carrying two-month-old Anastasia around in a baby carrier in an airport for a whole day. She needed to sit down and rest, and the baby needed to stretch out. So Lensing laid a blanket on the floor of the terminal by her feet and put the baby on it so she could kick her feet and look around. Lensing was on her phone telling panicked family members where she and the baby were, what was going on, and why they weren't home yet.
While she was doing that, however, a smug jerk spotted her, took a photo without her knowledge, and then posted it to his Facebook page to call her an idiot. People love making fun of "idiot mothers," especially if the perceived transgression involves cell phones or social media. The photo started going viral, and it was shared by millions of people for nearly a year.
"Albert Einstein said, 'I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity. .. the world will be populated by a generation of idiots,'" wrote one guy, who seems oblivious to the fact that he used his phone to share Lensing's photo and post it to social media. He also seems oblivious to the fact that Einstein never said that.
People in the comments tore Lensing apart. At some point, the photo was connected to her name, and then she started receiving terrible personal messages calling her a bad parent.
It had been 20 hours. Nobody can hold a baby for 20 hours straight. Lensing needed a rest and the baby needed to stretch out and wave her arms and legs a bit. She was only two months old, too. A baby that small can't roll over or move away or anything. The baby was perfectly safe lying on a clean blanket on the floor by its mothers' feet.
Lensing got tons of terrible messages, and she was legitimately worried that she'd lose her job when the photo started to go viral. Fortunately, her employers and coworkers seem like sane people, and Lensing did not get in trouble.
Now the tone of the comments seems to have turned. Mothers are coming to Lensing's defense. They point out that she didn't do anything wrong, and the mom-shaming hypocrite with the cell phone should have put it away and minded his own business.
Every once in a while the meme starts to make another round and the nasty comments start turning up again. But Lensing tries to ignore it.
"I ignore the photos and the comments and lean on those close to me who know the real me," she told Today Parents. "I am powerless compared to the internet, and I know that I am the best momma to my girls and I know that I cherish them and am raising them the best I can."
(Facebook / Christian Naniot)