Toxic Comparison Culture: Why #MOMGOALS Needs to Go

I know you’ve seen it. I know you’ve FELT it. That insidious cancer that invades you when you get sucked into the toxic comparison culture that is social media currency.

Mamas, don’t fall for it.

#MOMGOALS is a myth perpetuated by social media influencers. And I blame influencer culture for 83654249% of our mama guilt. Pardon my french, but EFF ALL THAT NOISE.

Did your kids wake up this morning? GOLD STAR! Did they make it to school on time? GREAT JOB, MAMA! Did they eat today? HUZZAH!!! Did they play? laugh? smile? not die? DING DING DING! MAMA, YOU WIN!!!

Mamas, if you did not make themed lunches or create arts and crafts activities for them to do or decorate your house for the latest holiday, you are still a good mom. Your kids will not remember what activities filled their days, but they WILL remember how you made them feel.

When you know better, you do better.

Over the last two years, I’ve made it my mission to be authentic in my social media presence. For every beautifully composed image and accompanying post, I make sure to include a disclaimer and pullback image. When people started complimenting me on my #momgoals, I felt guilty for presenting perma-sunshine and rainbows. At that moment, I knew that I needed to be as authentic as possible in my online presence as I could be. I owed it to all the mamas that I knew out there.

True story: If the grass looks greener, it’s because it’s FAKE. Y’all, I could sit here all. day. long. and post curated, editorial images of my life, but it wouldn’t be reality. I get paid to create an illusion, but reality is imperfect, messy, BEAUTIFUL. LIFE is imperfect, messy, BEAUTIFUL.

Sometimes, I fall into the #MOMGOALS trap – I get sucked into mom guilt when I see stay-at-home moms doing ALL THE THINGS. I’m not trying to disparage the moms who are EXTRA as long as their intentions are well-meaning and their actions are authentic. If that’s you, then YASSSSS, QUEEN.

But if you are playing the influencer one-up-manship game, I gotta say that I’m disappointed in you. We mamas have it hard enough as it is without playing the “I’m a better mom than you are because I did all of these extra things” card.

Now before y’all start picking up your stones to throw, let me present you with an honest-to-goodness question for you to reflect on, something I want you to REALLY ask yourself: Is what you are posting to your audience an accurate representation of REAL life, or is it a polished highlight reel? And if it isn’t real, then what is your motivation for presenting it as such?

I am here for #MOMWINS all day, every day. I will always be the BIGGEST cheerleader for that, but I am unafraid to be a voice of opposition for toxic #MOMGOALS comparison culture. Being a mother is hard enough without us competing for the award for Who Can Do The Most. I want to celebrate the reality of motherhood- the imperfect, the messy, the beautiful. I want to lift up the mama who is finding the shiny in a shitty mom-situation. I want to recognize those moms who, sometimes, are JUST managing to survive.

In that spirit, drop your #authenticapril #momwin in the comments. I’ll grab my confetti and champagne to celebrate with you.

Julie Lee
Julie is a mama, wife, teacher, writer, photographer, designer, and basket case—jack of all trades, master of none. She lives in Ascension Parish with her husband, her two hooligans, and her quarankitties, Stella and Luna. She’s an English teacher by day, and a lover of words by destiny. Her favorite word is schadenfreude. When she’s pretending she isn’t too busy to breathe, you can find her curled up in her hammock with a book.


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