How the rise of the ‘momfluencer’ affects maternal mental health and parenting

Dr. Mona Amin is an In The Know parenting contributor. Follow her on Instagram for more.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what a “momfluencer” was until I joined social media to offer education for parents.

When I became a mom, I realized I was becoming one, too — an influential mom with a strong social media platform — and I tried everything in my power to change the narrative on what it meant to be a momfluencer.

In my opinion, the rise of the momfluencer has impacted our maternal mental health, which can subsequently trickle down into how we value ourselves as mothers and show up emotionally for our children

So what is a momfluencer, and what information can they give?

Mom influencers add tremendous value to social media and brands. They can share things like parenting advice, recipes, marriage tips, products they love, vacations they take, outfits they love, etc. 

Keep in mind that yes, they share their lives — but it’s also the highly curated version.

Social media, especially Instagram, highly values things that look “pretty.” And for quite some time, that’s what got more likes, shares and engagement.

But is life always so pretty? Not quite.

Sharing ‘real’ life

As mothers, we go through a good deal of ups and downs. Social media is often a place to escape, but what happens when everyone you follow seems to have a perfect life? Their kids are well-behaved and wearing matching outfits. Their vacations go perfectly. Their children always do what they’re told.

It can make you feel inadequate when your intention was to go on social media to be inspired and learn something.

I think the momfluencer holds a very powerful role — one that can inspire and educate fellow women. By sharing ups and downs, the momfluencer can bring authenticity to motherhood and raising kids. 

Why does this matter to parenting?

Well, when we start to compare ourselves to someone we follow online, we can set ourselves up for disappointment in our own lives, about what we have or how we parent our own children.

Why are their kids excelling at so many things? Why do they always seem to be traveling? How do they have all this time when I’m barely keeping up? And how the heck did she get all five of her kids to sit for that photo?

When you follow momfluencers, you begin to think of this person as your friend, largely because they are allowing you into their life. They share mostly the good stuff, and you can be left feeling that your life is so hard or wonder why your child doesn’t behave like this “friend’s” child.

This can foster feelings of inadequacy and largely affect our mental health

Social media’s side effects

The social media algorithm also rewards us for constantly being “on.” The more you post, the more you engage and the more visible you are on social media, the more people you reach. But, sometimes, we all need a break. 

As moms, we are told to take a break and look out for ourselves, and yet we see momfluencers “doing it all,” seemingly all the time.

However, momfluencers know that if they take a break from posting, social media stops sharing their stuff, engagement drops, and they risk losing their momfluencer status (and potential advertising deals). 

So, how do we navigate this? How do we decide whom to follow? Well, it really matters about each individual. Every mother is entitled to share whatever she feels fits on her platform, but it’s your responsibility as a follower to decide which of those moms you want to follow.

Which accounts should you follow?

It’s important to follow momfluencers who inspire you but also balance sharing the good with the bad in a healthy way. You may prefer momfluencers with curated feeds, and that’s amazing, but I encourage you to always check in and ask yourself a few questions about the people you follow on social media:

  1. Do I like this person? And if not, why follow someone you don’t like?
  2. Does this person give me value i.e. tips and/or education about a topic/niche I’m interested in? 
  3. Does this person inspire me to be a better person without judgment?
  4. Does this person seem relatable to me?

It’s important to recognize these qualities in the person you follow because our goal on social media is to leave feeling more empowered and more in love with who we are as a mother and as a person.

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