How "slow down" momfluencer content reframes domestic labor as self-care
I find the momfluencer ‘slow moments’ profoundly alienating. The only slow moments I have ever had with my children are moments borne of utter exhaustion after some huge emotional meltdown on their part. They cuddle up for comfort as I try to bring my nerves back down off the ceiling.
I'm a grandma now, but I was a divorced, single mom from the time my daughter was 2, and she was born in the late 80's. My ex refused to pay child support, so I had to work 2 jobs most of the time just so we'd have a roof over our heads, food, health care, etc. I'm thankful there weren't momfluencers back then!!! I lived with tremendous guilt over the lack of time I was able to spend with my daughter, let alone quality "snuggly slow down time" (still do). There was definitely no sourdough making going on during that time period either.
Mm I’m too busy hanging out with my kids, doing work and putting away the one billionth load of laundry to pay attention to social media BS…so I definitely don’t find it inspiring and I loved the callout here re: if you’re posting content, you aren’t realllly being present.
And also fully acknowledging the privilege that allows me to enjoy my kids as much as I do, as the CEO of a company with a team.
And kids on parent’s social media make me cringe — whether it’s paid content or not — but ESPECIALLY influencer content where it is incredibly exploitative and IMHO, corrupting of their childhood experience. Not to even get into the reality of their later digital reality. But then I feel the same about kids in all media forms. 🤷♀️
Most of the “slow down” nonsense is from momfluencers who just want to eliminate competition. There is nothing “slow” about trying to make your IG account an income-generating business.
This type of slow down stuff is often pushed by the ultra-successful like Arianna Huffington and Emily Ley. Emily’s book drove me nuts on this topic. Her overall message is “I worked tirelessly for 11 years to build my business, BUT now that I’m super successful, make tons of money and have a team of people I can pay to do everything, I’m going to slow down. And I think everyone else should too.”
I am waiting for the day when some influencer kid sues their parents over stolen labor/wages/etc. It is bound to happen eventually.
I finished Angela Garbes' ESSENTIAL LABOR just before reading this newsletter, and at first I bristled at the concept of "slowing down" being gaslighting ... but then I pushed myself to think a little harder about this (while still finishing my first cup of coffee and attempting to encourage my five-month-old to settle down for her morning nap), and I realize it's the attempt at folding everything (food, pleasure, nurturing, physical comfort, etc.) into the existing capitalist structure that is the gaslighting piece. "We cuddle, life is cozy, but oops, even this mini-essay is also sponcon that makes this pretense possible!" This messaging is insidious and tempting and exactly what keeps mothers trapped in the hustle. As a freelancer myself who, like Angela, is doing some form of influencing through writing to keep paying the bills, it can feel impossible to extricate myself from the capitalist machine, but how do we share ideas without logging onto the internet to effectively promote them?! It's all messy, but I know when it feels right, I guess, and these momfluencers ain't it. Love this, Sara. Thanks for encouraging integrity and intellectual pursuit (while reminding me that I do NOT need to buy a sourdough starter).