How Consumerism Makes Motherhood Look Like an Expensive Job

by ParentCo. May 02, 2016

Happy young lady with shopping bags

Becoming a parent brings a million new things into your life: new priorities, new concerns, new interests, etc. Everything is new.

And even in the literal sense, parenthood requires new tangible things. Pregnant women everywhere sign up for baby registries, attend Mom-to-mom sales, and shop online for months to find the gear they need for their baby. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is necessary gear to acquire before becoming a parent. But the word “necessary” is easily skewed by momstagrammers and mom-bloggers. The list gets longer and longer the more you read these posts and you begin to worry that maybe you don’t have the money for all of these items. But just because you are becoming a mother that doesn’t mean you are suddenly rolling in dough, does it? So how come it seems like a huge part of motherhood is acquiring more or better things? When did shopping become such a huge part of becoming a mom? I ask myself these questions often because I am an avid mom-blog-reader. I follow tons of mom blogs and read tons of parenting pages and enjoy staying abreast of mom trends. The communications of parents on the internet is fascinating to me. Hence why I write for Parent Co. But I also consider myself a rather simple person. My husband works in construction and I am a stay-at-home mom who writes here and there. We live in a two-bedroom apartment. We don’t have a TV. We shop at Kroger or Trader Joe’s. We buy non-organic produce (gasp!). We are average people who work hard and do what we need to do to get by. When I became a mom and started following other moms on the internet I realized that "getting by" is definitely not the trend in motherhood today. Or at least in the way motherhood is portrayed.
I’m serious, this is momdom on the internet, people.
Indeed, moms all over Instagram are found sitting on the porches of their massive and somehow-eternally-tidy houses, feeding their kids exotic fruits (which their kids enjoy?), and trying to decide which (of many!) Anthropologie outfit they should wear today. I’m serious, this is momdom on the internet, people. Everyone is somehow extremely wealthy and living in some beach house taking photos of their kids in all organic cotton babywear. It’s too much for me. I cannot handle it. Almost every update from these moms is about a new baby product they have tried or a new toy they bought for their kid or new jewelry they bought for themselves. They compare products, they analyze products, they answer questions about products. It’s all about products! But wait, what happened to your kids? Your readers have completely forgotten about them now because they have spent the past two hours reading about different types of shampoo. It’s outrageous to think that mothers need to have the newest or most-natural or most popular items. Look at Lorelai Gilmore, beloved TV mom. She raised her daughter in a shed, for goodness sake! I mean, I know that these moms most likely get sponsorships for blog posts and have husbands who work full-time or whatever, but it just doesn’t even seem fair sometimes! I see these blog posts about why moms should spring for the $500 baby swings and I just cringe for those pregnant moms who are reading them because HOLY COW, IT’S A FRICKEN BABY SWING. And I know it’s super in right now to only want your kids to drink milk from cows who were given the freedom to walk around whole countrysides and use cleaning products that are somehow made out of absolutely nothing, but I just can’t stand the thought of soon-to-be-moms thinking that being able to afford a certain lifestyle is a necessary aspect of being a mom. Please hear me on this: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE RICH TO BE A GOOD MOM. You don’t. You just don’t. Moms on the internet seem to be pretty well-off across the board, but guess what? They don’t even have it easier than moms with less money because being a mom is a hard job no matter how much money you have. I just wish that expectant mothers could see the reality of baby “necessities,” because they truly do not require $500 swings, or even swings at all! Truthfully, babies need very few things for the first several years of life. They need food (of course), diapers of any sort (you can always grab used cloth ones!), a car seat, clothing, a place to sleep (crib, pak ‘n play, bassinet, whatever), and lots of love and cuddles from you! That’s pretty much it (tell me if I’m missing any actual necessities, mamas)! They do NOT need an entire themed nursery. They do NOT need their name engraved into anything. They do NOT need a $300 play tent. They do NOT need $100 crib shoes. In fact, they do NOT need any crib shoes. I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND CRIB SHOES. They do NOT need those weird bonnets that are hand-stitched by someone in a forest somewhere. You get the idea. Please, I beg you, new mothers, do not let the internet moms make you worry that you aren’t financially prepared for the job. Very few of these moms are posting about actual baby necessities, and when they are they aren’t always considering the many possible ways of acquiring these necessities. Check with other moms in your community about different opportunities for donations, swaps, used sales, or discounts. Get on a Facebook Mom-to-mom page in your area. There are so many ways to get what you need without pulling a bank job. I cannot say this enough: motherhood is not just a job for the wealthy. It is a job for a woman who is ready to love her precious child with all that she is.



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