A photo of pregnant mom in the woods with her kids and a sign board went viral. She says her 'heart drops' over criticism

·4-min read
Influencer Brooke Raybould tells Yahoo Life that her
Influencer Brooke Raybould tells Yahoo Life that her "heart drops a bit knowing that the message" in her viral "into the woods" Instagram post was criticized. (Photo: Getty Images)

A photo of her mom holding up a sign with her kids before going "into the woods" has gone viral, and not in the way she originally intended.

The photo, which was originally posted on May 19 to the Instagram account of influencer Brooke Raybould, aka @southernishmama, features a visibly pregnant Raybould in cut-off overalls and red lipstick, wearing knee-high rain boots. Her three young sons are alongside her in a creek in coordinating outfits, and she's clutching a board that reads, "Into the woods we go, because kids won't remember their best day of television."

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The photo, which is a sponsored Instagram post for Claritin, was recently resurfaced on Twitter and reactions were swift — and intense.

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"I very specifically remember a day watching a Partridge Family marathon on VH1, sitting in my bean bag chair, eating peach yogurt, and thinking life doesn't get any better than this," one person tweeted. "That was just one day watching a Partridge Family marathon."

"I love the idea of this dipshit having to lug that sign around the entire time just for one single mommy blogger Instagram post. Like she did this for the clout not for her kids," another wrote. "Something about seeing a manufactured Instagram moment about disengaging from technology feels dirty," someone else said

Even Raybould's earring choice wasn't off-limits. "Independent of the woods being involved, who wears 3 inch hoop earrings that close to a grabby toddler? Ma'am, you are in so much minor danger," one person tweeted.

But others defended Raybould. "Y'all will really shame moms for ANYTHING... Let her have her fun and take a picture with a sign, she's not hurting anyone. And she's right kids these days spend an OBSCENE amount of time on technology its awful," one person wrote. Another called commenters "terribly judgmental," adding, "the message is simple. Get the kids off TV, phones, and video games. Get them out in nature. My kids are at the beach almost everyday."

Raybould tells Yahoo Life that yes, she's aware of the criticism. She was on a family vacation when she heard her post, which was part of a campaign for Claritin, went viral. (Bayer, the parent company of Claritin, did not respond to Yahoo Life's request for comment.) The comments in the original Instagram post, which includes information and statistics about screen time and kids, have been turned off. 

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Raybould says that her "heart drops a bit knowing that the message was criticized, but I haven't allowed myself to look at them." Instead, some of her friends and followers have sent her screenshots. She says that it's "not a positive headspace to be in, and I try to keep my mind and my family in a positive space."

"While I know that people parent differently, my intent wasn't to criticize screen time," she says. "My intent was to focus on the positives of getting kids outside to play, while sticking to promoting the Claritin campaign, which I also think is a very positive message for children and families."

Raybould uses letter boards in many of her Instagram posts, something that she says "can be both a powerful way to get a message out, and the Instagram algorithm has historically favored these kinds of images." Posts featuring her board, she says, "allow me to focus on one message during the day and structure my content around that message," adding that she's "found it to be a nice prop to discuss certain topics."

Raybould's posts have included her family and the board at a pool in Disney World, in her kitchen and in a field.

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Raybould says that the viral photo was shot near her home. "We often go to the woods in the image that is located near our home, and I had been contacted by Claritin to do this campaign, so we decided to shoot the images there," she says. "The boys love to walk in the water and explore the trails."

Critics are "absolutely entitled to their own opinions," Raybould says. But, she adds, she had good intentions with it. 

"This post was meant to focus on the benefits of outdoor play for children, not to criticize parents," she says. "We all understand that technology is a useful tool — I use technology to run and grow my business!— but I do believe that there certainly has been an influx in the amount of screen time that children are getting on the regular. Myself, along with the messaging of the Claritin campaign, simply wanted to highlight some of the more recent statistics, while providing some great ways to get kids outdoors."

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