Mom Faces Backlash After Posting About Her ‘Least Liked’ Child On Instagram
Blogging has undeniably seen a huge shift in the last ten to fifteen years. While there are still blogs where the focus is on long-form writing, these days, internet users tend to prefer image-heavy content. In fact, some users have completely abandoned platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in favour of photo-centric pages such as Instagram.
Since it was launched back in 2010, the easy-to-use app has attracted as many as a billion users. That's a phenomenal stat. It has also launched the careers of many bloggers, influencers, and models who share photographic content with millions of people from around the world.
While, of course, not every user will achieve such a large following, it is an attainable goal for many to build a sizable fan base on Instagram, and it can happen seemingly out of nowhere.
Just ask Katie Bower, an Insta-famous mom, who has over 53,000 followers on her page and is practically flooded with comments and likes with each new post. Bower tends to post photos of herself, her five children and her husband Jeremy. However, one of the most recent posts on Katie's Instagram has exposed one of the dark sides of sharing your life on the popular photo-sharing platform.
This week, the doting mother-of-five posted a photo to commemorate her son's sixth birthday and included a very lengthy caption along with it. The caption started off just like any other loving birthday wishes a mother would write for her young child, but then it took an unexpected and very eye-opening turn.
Bower went on to explain that out of her five children, Weston, whose birthday it was, had always gotten the least number of likes and comments on Instagram. She went into further detail about her concerns that this would begin to affect his self-esteem once he had seen "the numbers".
"Guys I am gonna be perfectly honest... Instagram never liked my Munchkin, and it killed me inside," she wrote in the since-deleted post. "His photos never got as many likes. Never got comments. From a statistical point of view, he wasn't as popular with everyone out there. Maybe part of that was that the pictures just never hit the algorithm right."
"Part might be because he was 'the baby' for a very short amount of time before LJ came along... and then Max and then Ella," she adds. "And people like babies. I say all that because I want to believe that it wasn't him… that it was on me. My insufficiency caused this statistical deficit because obviously my Munch should get all the love, and squinty eyes are totally adorable. So can we do this right?"
"Because I truly KNOW that my munch deserves alllll the likes... whether or not a stranger gives it to them. And on his sixth birthday - I am thankful that I know that...that no matter what other people think of me or my kids or my marriage or my house or my life or my everything... that they are 10000000000x better in real life than any tiny little picture could hold."
"p.s. I wanted to clarify that I revealed this feeling because I know one day he will see the numbers and have to learn that his values is not in online approval. This is a hard lesson for anyone to learn and I'm thankful I have learned it. I hope you all can be understanding and not take things out of context or believe that this in any way affects how I see or treat my children. All comments and well wishes I read to the birthday boy. [sic]"
Soon enough, Bower's very candid words went viral on Twitter where many people expressed their understanding of the situation, but unsurprisingly, most expressed their disapproval and some their outrage.
Many Twitter users criticised and openly mocked Bower's parenting techniques, claiming that her need to broadcast her family on social media and pointing out statistics like this is much more damaging her children's self-esteem.
In fact, Twitter user Morgan Jenkins went as far as to describe Bower's parenting as "horrid" and that she felt bad for her children.
Even supermodel and TV presenter Chrissy Teigen, who is often very open on social media when it comes to her own parenting, voiced her concern, writing, "Oh. My. God. What in the hell??"
However, amongst the waves of criticism, there were those actually commenting their support for Bower's post - for one reason or another.
Rach Vicente tweeted out her feelings that people have always had these "narcissistic tendencies", and that Bower's comments help us to "recognise toxic patterns of coercive control".
And others like Amanda Mull appeared to stand by Bower, saying how it is a good thing to highlight just how "dark" social media sites like Instagram can be, and how it can be difficult for people to constantly keep up this facade that they are having a good time.
In response to the primarily scathing backlash, Bower archived her son's birthday message, meaning it is no longer public. She also posted a tearful Instagram story explaining her "personal growth", recalling her epiphany that her son’s number of likes is not important:
"I had to learn that the likes do not reflect much to me. That I had to choose that, because I work with brands that tell you the opposite."
What do you think of Bower's comments, and do you think it is really fair for other people to criticise a mother's parenting techniques? After all, Bower's children do appear to be very healthy and happy children. (Although, that is simply from what I see on social media, which, I guess, is part of the problem.)
There's absolutely no denying that Instagram, like many social media platforms, can pretty harmful as far as our self-worth is concerned. It's important to realise, however, that our worth does not lie in how a bunch of strangers on the internet see us. Only we, ourselves, can determine our true worth.