Skip To Content

    The Story Behind The Meme That Invited Us All To Mock Moms

    Why are we so mean to moms? (Yes, I'm talking to you.)

    Hi, I'm Morgan, and I'm a mom. But before I was a mom, I was a real live human being who was allowed to have opinions and stuff without causing a big eyeroll from "the youth." Sounds crazy, right?

    Morgan Shanahan

    That's me and my kid. She doesn't believe that I became obsolete the moment she squeezed through my birth canal. She thinks I'm awesome.

    A lot of us moms write and work online, and being women, we tend to get a pretty bad rap from time to time.

    Top: The Wall Street Journal, Bottom: The Atlantic

    Sometimes we get lumped together under the super empowering, and not at all condescending, umbrella term "mommy blogger" because well...we write, and have kids, so obviously.

    (Note that the illustration from WST was not intended as satire.)

    Earlier this week, like a lot of moms going about their interneting, I opened BuzzFeed to discover a quiz featuring a Tumblr-based #tagyourself meme identifying white suburban mom stereotypes. Maybe you saw it before it was updated.

    Jennifer Burg, Shannon Gurnee, Anonymous (with permission)

    Maybe it offended you. Maybe you laughed. Maybe you even tagged yourself. (For more on the #tagyourself meme, click HERE)

    The odd thing about this particular viral meme was that I recognized some of the women in it. They weren't stock photo models, they were real moms, most of whom are active on social media.

    You know. Mommy Bloggers.

    The Wall Street Journal / Via

    The kind of women who "shouldn't complain" about what happens with their web personas because they put them up on the internet for "personal gain" in the first place, didn't they?

    The New York Times

    The kind of women who have worked their asses off to create viable businesses for themselves in order to be available for their children while still earning money to put food on the table. Those greedy greedy working moms.


    Being a mom, a woman, and a Senior Parenting Editor here at BuzzFeed, my first instinct upon seeing our initial post featuring the meme was to reach out to the women involved.

    I've connected with 5 of the 6 women. Their reactions varied; some were willing to talk to me while others preferred not to comment on the record, but many echoed something similar: "Why is simply being a mom so worthy of being made fun of?"

    Author Shannon A. White — who appeared as "Jillian" — was irked by the message she saw in the response to the viral post:

    "I am the author of two books, a national speaker, and former TV news reporter. I have one child, not 50." White wrote to BuzzFeed.

    "While many young girls and women may say, 'I want to be [an author,]' not one of the responses to the meme has been to want to be Jillian. Why is that?

    "Sharon", actually a full-time blogger named Jennifer Burg, did her best to laugh it off.

    "Monday I was quoted in the New York Times, Tuesday I was the subject of an internet meme. At the end of both days I tucked my kids into bed knowing I had done the best I could that day," Burg wrote in an email to BuzzFeed.

    "Yes, I am a suburban mom — my blog is I take no offense to the title or my role, I have clearly embraced it. I am not ashamed of myself or my life, just sad people find the need to make fun of it. "

    Lifestyle blogger Erin Henry was billed as "Helen."

    Erin Henry / Via

    "It's true. I am a mom. I wrangle four active kids, but I'm also so much more. I am a wife and business woman. I hold an MBA." Henry, who blogs at Suburban Simplicity, told BuzzFeed.

    "I think it's those who have no idea what a day-in-the-life of a mom looks like that tend to poke fun at our role. Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, working mom or somewhere in between, raising a family and managing a household is a ton of work."

    For some of the women, having their likeness stolen was the most troubling aspect of the experience. Shannon Gurnee, whose name is NOT "Pam," never gave permission to have her image used in the Tumblr post. Neither did any of the other women.

    Shannon Gurnee

    "Much of my issue with the original meme was that my photo was taken without my permission or knowledge and used without proper credit," Gurnee, who owns and operates The Mommy Files, explained. "As a blogger, it takes time, effort and money to create the photos we use on our blog.. It is a huge misconception that any image placed on the internet is free to use."