“Momfluencer's are just like us, except they aren’t. They are mothers, yes. They are also marketing strategists, content creators, lighting experts and advertising executives. The momfluencer is a construct, created by real mothers, in concert with tech companies and consumer brands, as a way of making a living on social media.”
Sara Petersen, ’Momfluenced’ (2023).
Open Instagram and we will likely find ourselves looking at a ‘momfluencer’ post or story shared with 'ad' or ‘gift’ typed in the corner. Thumb scroll after thumb scroll, this personal, almost hourly updated content could be likened to modern day infomercials.
Mindlessly, we are viewing posts and stories that reveal an insight into the life of a mother through the guise of entertainment.
This presented lifestyle might be enjoyable, (or a subconscious form of escapism), but it is likely unattainable and the more we are distracted into believing aspirational bed linen could make our experience of motherhood less challenging, the less we address the fractured systems making motherhood so hard.
The momfluencer culture has become excessively focused on materialistic pursuits and followers. We now look to these profiles for advice on wellness, parenting and to shop the latest 100% organic cotton fashion. With an overload of consumerism, we are losing authenticity and motherhood as we know it is discount codes, brand promotions and ‘day in the life’ of reels. This public performance of mothering is absorbing our time, diverting our attention and shifting our priorities.
Momfluencer’s have become our modern day village, an influenced village with discrepancies between sponsored content and the day-to-day reality of mothering. Instead of shared wisdom, we now look to women who promote brands and services in hopes that owning what they are using will help us to feel better or to make mothering easier. We are constantly being sold the dream of motherhood itself and the glorification of the ideal mother.
I do want to be sensitive to those who work to make a difference with genuine content - not all momfluencer’s monetise their influence, however, we are at our most vulnerable during our pregnancy and postpartum period and the majority of these accounts can so easily lead us to feel overwhelmed with endorsed information, or cause feelings of doubt or comparison.
It has become so hard to define motherhood for ourselves when social media is defining motherhood for us. What we need is foundational education, honest discussions and authentic community connection and it is time that we encourage a more accurate and diverse depiction of how the life of a mother truly is.