As I settled to scroll through my Instagram, a nightly ritual that has somehow become a part of my sleep hygiene, I noticed the familiar bloggers and influencers who usually occupy my feed.
I was happily looking at stories of all these bloggers where the tiniest events were documented in the greatest detail. Kudos to human creativity that some of us make going to the store an adventure that merits some form of social media moment and has its own spot on the internet.
I then started scrolling through the posts. Most of the people I follow are moms. Most of these moms are young. Most of them have more than one child.
But what is this? Almost all my favorite bloggers who had been posting about parenting bliss and unconditional love and a lifelong commitment to the sainthood of motherhood have posted about how hard it has been. That they’re tired, alone and haven’t taken a bath in days. I saw one blogger complain about it, then the other one and now it’s the fifth similar story that I’m reading. They were all so happy last week. What happened?
Mom bloggers are abundant on the internet. This is probably a genre of blogging that has unlimited relevance and is richer in terms of the content it generates because if you are a parent then material keeps presenting itself. Just a cute incident with an appropriately selected picture from our photo gallery is usually enough to create a never-ending litany of compliments and commiseration. Originality isn’t really something that mom bloggers always focus on.
But let’s stop and think about how a mother expects to impact her audience, who sometimes may be in numbers of thousands.
Motherhood is hard. There are no two opinions about it. It’s not all fairytales and unicorns. It tests the best of us. I’m a mother. I know. I have very little hair left.
The first time a mom blogger talked about burnout and exhaustion I felt relieved and even, a little sad. That motherhood was trying for two people was a sad concept. It was sad because I always thought that I was doing something wrong and someone was going to come along and save me. A more savvy mommy would save me. So that bubble didn’t last for long.
But then I saw the entire internet, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter swarming with unhappy moms. Unhappy moms with every hair in place. Unhappy moms with well-curated blogs about unhappy motherhoods. Unhappy moms who had loads of vacations and trips to share with the rest of the world.
You know there was a time I used to give people the benefit of the doubt. Slowly I started feeling cheated because of my innocence and gullibility. I started becoming more critical of how I invest my time into these so-called struggling moms. I started to pick out the pretend mom bloggers.
And it’s not hard. You’ll see that not all moms do this. But there is a subsection that rides on others’ coattails. And quite successfully at that. A woman will share her story of postpartum depression. She will get a thousand likes. If she uses the right hashtags she will even gain a few followers. We will feel bad for her. We will likely not see a recent photograph attached to the post. She probably hasn’t had time to take one.
But then her fellow mom bloggers will see this. Unimpressive bloggers they may be but the algorithm game and the copy game and jumping on the bandwagon game are some of their skills. They hone them all day long. This is how they get ahead. They have better pictures to go with their posts. Soon they are ahead.
Authenticity is rare in the world of social media and blogging and influencing. It’s very easy to influence people using a pretty face with a nicely written blurb. It’s painless to travel to Greece and post cool pictures of your vacation while complaining about burnout, exhaustion and fatigue. I unfollow these folks.
Some mom bloggers are proud of keeping it light and breezy. They are not ashamed of enjoying a motherhood that probably doesn’t come to everyone. They’re effortless in how they keep themselves fit and healthy while raising healthy and smart, grounded kids. These women are my real influencers.
But my realest influencer is the woman who talks about it first of all. Who doesn’t complain about motherhood everyday because everyone else is talking about it and she has to weigh in too. She is the woman who deliberately doesn’t follow the herd. She stands out. When people talk about where to get maternity clothes from, she tells us how to organize ourselves during pregnancy. When others are talking about where to take our kids for their Sunday trip, this woman talks about a S.T.E.M project that she has devised with minimal resources. When others talk about visiting a restaurant on weekends, she talks about how to keep it hot and happening with your spouse when you share your room and sometimes even your bed with your kids.
So that’s the mom blogger that I find authentic, inspirational and worthy of a follow, like and save.