Masthead header

So apparently everyone is up in arms over a recent instagram photo of plus-sized model Robyn Lawley. And by “everyone,” I mean my Facebook newsfeed, where photos of abandoned cats have suddenly given way to angry diatribes about Robyn Lawley’s bikini selfie, and why she has the nerve to call herself a plus-size model.

Here’s the thing, though. She never called herself a plus-size model. Her IG caption read: “New sexier cuts coming to #robynlawleyswimwear that still offer the same support”

Annnnnd that’s it.

The term “plus-size” came into play when the media collectively decided she’d done something “brave” by sharing an unretouched bikini photo. But they weren’t calling her fat. They were calling her a plus-size model. Because, um, that’s her job description. In fact, for the past few years, she’s been one of the most successful plus-size models in the industry.

Here’s a shot of Robyn for Vogue Italia, and the recent bikini photo.


Obviously she’s gotten a little leaner between the two photos. (Leaner, as in muscle, not thigh gap.) But until she announces she’s becoming a fitness model or a swimsuit model or whatever, her title is “plus size model.” It’s a term with no real meaning outside the modeling industry, so why get enraged over it? Michael Jordan hasn’t played professional basketball in awhile, but would you be furious if someone called him a basketball star?  Who cares how the modeling industry labels her? And why are people attacking her, personally, for the way her promotional photo was covered by Fox “News”?

If she lost a few pounds, that’s her business. She went into plus-size modeling because she couldn’t conform to the impossible ideals of runway modeling. And rather than seeing the positive in that, we’re fuming that she doesn’t conform to our ideals of plus-size modeling. Maybe we should stop creating imaginary benchmarks for women and just see this instagram for what it is: A comfy-looking pink bikini.

I give her credit — she rocks her stretch marks so well that she has the Internet Comment Army seeing red and declaring war. Someday I hope to rock my own stretch marks that well.

A few months ago, I photographed an engagement session at Independence Park. While I was angling the bride and groom to avoid having a ton of tourists milling around in the background, it hit me: People had traveled from all over to see this place, and here it was, practically in my backyard, and I hadn’t been there to visit since middle school. I’d shot a couple of weddings and e-sessions, but hadn’t actually walked over to the Liberty Bell, or stopped by Constitution Hall. There are so many local things I’ve been “meaning” to do, so I want to see how many of them I can check off the list this year! I’m including links for anyone else local to Philly/South Jersey/the Jersey Shore.


[ ]  Go to Longwood Gardens. We have a membership I haven’t used in six months!

[X]  Do an art project on “second Sundays” at Philly’s Magic Gardens.

image from

image from


[ ]  Walk through Batsto Village.

[ ]  Get Indian food at Shamong Diner. How have my kids never eaten at a Jersey diner?!

[ ]  Hang out on the nature trail and draw whatever we see.

[ ]  Go “swimming” in Rubbermaid bins. (Stealing this idea from my resourceful friend Jamie.)

[ ]  Go “treasure hunting” in a block of ice.

[ ]  Visit Independence Park and actually see the Declaration and the Bell!

[X]  Walk the High Line in NYC.

[ ]  Go to the Top of the Rock. I saw a Jimmy Fallon taping at Rockefeller last year thanks to an awesome childhood friend with an extra ticket, but I’ve never gone up to the roof!

Top of the Rock

photo by Flickr user prinsrichard via Creative Commons


[ ]  Make smores in our fire pit. We’ve owned the pit for four years and haven’t made a single fire yet!

[X]  Pick your own berries. This is a freebie because we do it every year:)

[ ]  Go camping. The boys went without me last year — I want in this time!

[ ]  Camp in our own backyard. I mean, we live in the woods, right?

[ ]  Go to the FunPlex water park.

[ ]  Go to the Smith Memorial Playground in Philly and slide down the big wooden slide.

[ ]  Do “Boo at the Zoo” at the Philadelphia Zoo. The boys loved this last year.

[X]  Go back to “Day Out with Thomas” at Strasburg Railroad and Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Ronks.

Dear Ms. Ruddy,

Hi! I know you’re a busy mom of three, but do you have a minute to play a fun imagination game? Okay, great.

Imagine for a minute you’re a dad, taking your 4-year-old daughter to her dance class. At the end of the class, you buy her a Yoohoo for one of the following reasons — maybe as a bribe, maybe as a treat, or maybe you promised her chocolate milk and Yoohoo was the closest thing available. Whatever. Either way, a day or two later, you see this horribly (and unapologetically) judgmental headline on the front page of Yahoo:

“The Parenting Move I Couldn’t Help But Judge”

So out of morbid curiosity, you click on it and see that another mom in your daughter’s dance class has boiled your parenting skills down to a 30-second glimpse of you giving your child a sugary beverage. How are you feeling right now? Pretty awesome? Warm and fuzzy?


Here’s the thing you may have overlooked in your rush to judge, mama. That dad probably works hard to pay for his daughter’s dance classes. (They’re not cheap!) Or he stays home with his daughter while mom works to support the family. And he actually takes her to class — he’s involved, he’s present, she knows he cares. But he buys her a beverage other than filtered water or organic rice milk or whatever’s on your approved  post-ballet beverage list, and you put him on shout. Not to his face, of course, but ON THE FRONT PAGE OF YAHOO.

Good for you. You make smart beverage choices. You’re the best!


Along with all its inherent rewards, parenting also brings dozens of daily micro-opportunities to berate, belittle, and second-guess ourselves. And you plucked one of his choices out of context and used it to define his parenting in a very, very public forum. I assure you, no parent needs a holier-than-thou dance-mom belittling their choices on one of the world’s biggest search engines.

But that’s what you did. 

How do you feel about your decision? Was it kind? Was it helpful? Was it supportive?

No. It was judgmental. You know that — it’s right in the headline.

A few months ago, you wrote an article about your rock-bottom parenting moment. Considering that 16 million children live below the poverty level, it was laughable — and insulting — to see that your rock-bottom moment was that you’d let your oldest child feed your infant while your middle child played on an iPad. Let’s rephrase that epic humblebrag: “Oh, my rock-bottom moment was when my oldest child acted responsibly, my infant acted cooperatively, my middle child used my $300 toy, and I was able to get ready for a fancy outing.” I’m sure that was a terrible time for you, as evidenced by that heart-wrenching photo of your three kids sitting peacefully on the floor (is my sarcasm font working properly?).

Sarcasm aside, I want you to know that wasn’t your rock-bottom parenting moment.

Your rock-bottom parenting moment was the moment after dance class, when you saw a dad and his daughter having a sweet (literally) moment together, and instead of waving or striking up a conversation or even just minding your own f***ing business, you raced home so you could say mean things about him on your big internet platform. Thank goodness for that Shine account, or you might have had to sit at home, silently stewing while another parent gave his child a beverage high in fructose.

The problem is twofold and cyclical. Parents feel it’s okay to publicly shame other parents for their choices, and “news” sites feel it’s okay to hand those judgmental parents a megaphone. And then, in turn, parents feel validated about being judgmental.

A can of Yoohoo isn’t front-page news. It’s not child abuse. It’s not even bad parenting. It’s a sweet treat. (If you’re upset about the prevalences of HFCS in food, start blogging about food regulations for a watchdog group instead of blasting local parents on Yahoo. But because you specifically said you were judging a “parenting move,” and not a “food industry issue,” I’m going to assume you just like knocking other parents down to reaffirm your own choices.)

We need to stop using the internet as a forum for shaming other parents and start supporting each other. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Just raise your own kids. It worked for our parents.



And no, I’m not being sarcastic. Seriously, why do people freak out when someone looks pretty in a post-birth photo? You brush your hair, and suddenly you’re setting unrealistic standards for other women and failing your just-born baby by valuing vanity over bonding time.

Sorry, but…what?

This was the latest photo causing an uproar. Her name is Tamara Ecclestone, and she’s the daughter of an F1 billionaire something-or-other. But more importantly, she had the nerve (the NERVE!!!!) to have soda-can curls after giving birth.


The caption: “Welcome to the world Sophia, our beautiful baby girl, born yesterday 6lb 90z. Proudest day of our lives, never felt love like this. x”

Awww. Right? Totally relate.

But wait, apparently Tamara has already committed her first violation of the guidelines set forth by the New Mom Judgment Committee. A writer for Yahoo Shine sniped:

“Most people are too busy trying to get a baby to latch on and sustain skin-on-skin contact to even care about how they look. There is, of course, nothing wrong with caring about how you look in photos…but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be your priority.”

Okay. A few things.

1. If there’s “nothing wrong with caring about how you look,” why did this writer publish a several-hundred-word-long missive about how wrong she thinks this photo is?

2. Why assume it’s her priority? Maybe her baby took a nap, as newborns do, and instead of watching VH1 and raiding the hospital fridge for free pudding like I did, she took a shower and did her makeup. You’re hardly “prioritizing” just because you took five minutes to brush your hair.

3. Is there some correlation with how bad you look and how good you are at being a mommy? Is that why the writer spent paragraphs bragging about how utterly horrific she looked the day after giving birth? I looked like crap too, but it wasn’t a reflection of my priorities. I was just super tired and, again, there was free pudding.

4. Why does this writer feel she can accurately assess  Tamara’s feeding or snuggling choices based on the fact that she’s wearing mascara? Here’s a possible scenario: Tamara gives birth, feeding issues are sorted, skin-to-skin contact commences, and somewhere over the course of the next 24 hours, she manages to put on some makeup. This is newsworthy?!

In summary, MYOB. Someone’s pretty birth photo is not your problem. Move on.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin