Most Instagram users with children will thoughtlessly snap and upload a picture of their little tot building a sand castle at the beach, or gleefully running around at the park while the sun sets in the background. Offering followers perfect slices of our otherwise messy lives is, after all, the point of the photo-sharing app.
But recently the community of chic mothers who post endless pictures of their adorable kids wearing designer clothes, being perfectly well-behaved at restaurants or playing with hand-crafted wooden toys – has grown considerably.
Increasingly, these ‘Instamoms’ are seen by companies as a good way to promote their products, and the rules of social media dictate that this should be indicated by using #ad or #spon when posting.
Judging by a social media study by London-based mothers app Mush earlier this year, many moms on Instagram have been left feeling a tad inadequate – especially as their own snot-nosed kids mess their breakfast cereal all over their Frozen pyjamas.
More than 80 percent of respondents to the recent survey Instagram “added pressure to be the perfect mum”.
If a recent thread on online forum Mumsnet is anything to go by, the app’s mommy community are not only fed-up of comparing their own lives to the carefully curated accounts of Instamoms but are also wary of the commercialisation of their ‘perfect’ family lives.
The Mumsnet user who started the conversation, posting under the username Hmmmx100, claimed that she was tired of the “shameless advertising and self-promoting” and “weary of the constant daily barrage of brand endorsements”.
“AIBU (am I being unreasonable) to feel a bit miffed that these people are using the idea of sisterhood to make money?” she ranted. “They're not our friends, they're just there to sell us stuff that we probably don't need anyway.”
It wasn’t long before several other fed-up Mumsnet users jumped onto the bandwagon.
“I completely understand where you’re coming from, I follow a lot of insta mums too and to be honest it started getting me down they are all so perfect with perfect houses and lives, with every child-related gadget going because they are given it to endorse,” ranted a user called Doozeldog.
“I follow a few but recently have found it really cringey when they're parading freebies around,” commented another.
Meanwhile, one mother added that she simply didn't like the “commodification” of their children's lives on Instagram.
Although many moms in the Mumsnet forum discussion spoke out in defence of the Instagram moms and the way they chose to make a living.
“Are people really so naive that they think these women are surviving on fresh air? They are self-employed business women that's all,” commented one.
“Let's face it, the reason they have this ability to attract brands who want to give them things is because of their huge following,” another wrote, adding that moms who don’t want to contribute to their success should simply click the ‘unfollow’ button.
The thread has provoked a massive response on Instagram, with some of the most prominent Instamoms responding either in posts or with short videos on the story section of the social media app.
Clemmie Telford told her more than 50,000 followers that she understood the "need for integrity, honesty and transparency", but that “female bitchiness is the lowest of the low”.
Susie Verrill, a mother-of-two with almost 54 000 followers also commented. “Slept terribly last night,” she wrote, “Partly because of the whole Instamum debacle over on Mumsnet.”
“The whole thing was mean-spirited and snippy; about women I’ve met in real life and don't deserve it. If I’m being paid by a brand I include the hashtag ‘spon’ or ‘ad’,” she continued. “I do this so I can contribute to my household and not have to ask my other half for his bank card when I want to buy some bread.”
Susanna’s post was caustically accompanied by a picture which read, “Many people do not know this but it is possible to read something you don’t agree with on the internet and simply move on with your life.”
The post was liked by almost 7 000 of the social media 'influencer’s' followers.