Grab Your Pitchforks, Sanctimommies! Because A Breastfeeding Mother Dared To Get A Spray Tan

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that any time something funny happens on the Internet, some assholes must show up to ruin it.

According to Yahoo Parenting, Gemma Colley of Leeds, England, posted a photo of a hilarious and harmless photo of her son to Facebook recently after she had a bit of a screw-up with a fake tan. She had gotten herself spray-tanned, and then she breastfed her baby. The tanning solution was still wet when the baby put his face against it, so he wound up with a 5 o’clock shadow spray tanned around his face. Oops!

After she saw what had happened, Colley posted the photo to her Facebook page as a cautionary tale, and her friends thought it was so funny she posted the photo to a public Facebook group called The Unmumsy Mum, warning:

“From one mum to another, I’d like to let you know about my epic fail of fails. Yesterday I had a spray tan, a few hours later I breastfed my little boy. Cue 5 o’clock shadow and a very guilty mummy. Lesson to you all. Don’t do this.”

The photo started going viral, because it involves a cute baby with a 5 o’clock shadow. The only thing that could have made it more appealing to the Internet is if the baby were being photobombed by a cat.


However, once it started going around, the sanctimommies came out, and they were mad. They were so mad a person would think that Colley went all Tan Mom and took her baby to get him a spray tan of his own, instead of just getting one for herself and having it accidentally rub off on the baby.

In a post on her blog, Colley says she got, “A number of people telling me I shouldn’t be allowed to be a parent, I was selfish for getting a spray tan and should spend my time with my boys, I’d intentionally poisoned my son with chemicals, I’m the worst mum in the world, I was a f*&%ing whore, and I’d given him cancer.”

It’s like a perfect storm of mom-shaming. There’s slut-shaming, excoriating a person for caring about her appearance, accusations of abandoning children for the 20 minutes it takes to go get a spray tan, and a whole bunch of people who think “chemicals” are out to get us. Does anyone have Sanctimommy BINGO yet?

Full disclosure: I breastfed after getting a spray tan. I had not originally intended to get the tan, but I was in a wedding and the bride felt very strongly that I should get one or it would make  her photos look weird. (She had a point. I am ghost-white and the bride and all the other bridesmaids are very, very tan.) So I did. I checked with my doctor first, but he said it was perfectly safe.

OK, I did take some precautions that Colley might want to consider for next time. I put tape over my chest when I was being sprayed, and then used alcohol wipes to clean off the area immediately afterwards so the baby wouldn’t eat the tanning solution or get a big spray tan splotch on her face. But that’s just because I’ve had a lot of spray tans over the years and have left spray tan splotches on many things, so I knew from experience that a new tan will transfer to other people.

So those might be good ideas to keep in mind for next time, but Colley’s baby is fine. No parent is perfect. We’re all going to screw up from time to time. If giving her baby an accidental 5 o’clock shadow is the worst screw-up Colley ever has, she will have been a lot luckier than most of us.

(Photo: Facebook)