When Josi Denise, disgusted by the fake front she had perpetuated as a “mommy blogger” decided to walk away, she did so in a way that left scorched earth behind her. Denise's method of coming clean about the blogging world's dirty secrets has made her a few enemies.
As Business Insider reports, Denise began her “American Mama” blog in 2013 and rapidly became known as an “influencer” in the world of mommy blogs—that is, a blogger who can earn thousands of dollars (plus paid trips and products) through sponsored and paid posts.
A former marketing director, Denise started the blog as a stay-at-home mom. At its most popular, “American Mama” had a monthly readership in the tens of thousands and generated $12,000 in its first six months alone. However, it didn't take long before the fake-but-cheerful front she presented began to chafe.
In an interview with the New York Post, Denise describes how family events would be staged weeks ahead so that the post could go up on time, with more effort spent getting the perfect photo than actually enjoying time with her family.
“I was playing [a board] game with [my family], but I wasn’t really there,” said Denise, who admits that there came a point where she would plan family activities around advertiser requests. “I was watching and thinking about how I was going to caption the photo I’d take. It all took away from real time with my kids.”
After the birth of her third child, Denise had an epiphany. Already struggling from postpartum depression, Denise was also going through a divorce. She decided to move back home and put blogging on hold for a life that didn't revolve around selfies and Instagram.
When she returned to her blog months later, it was to shut it down. And she did so with a defiant post that took on what she saw as the falseness and self-delusion of an entire industry.
“Nobody is reading your s–t,” Denise wrote in a post entitled “Dear Mommy Blogger.” “You are not being helpful, and you are not being interesting."
Denise goes on to excoriate her fellow bloggers for cliche and generic posts, being unrealistically happy, getting manipulated by big brands, and wasting their money on professional advice. But she saves her harshest words for product reviews, revealing that many bloggers are afraid to tell the truth about the items they get paid to write about.
In a follow up post, she even cataloged some of the responses she received. In them, she gets called an “attention whore,” “insecure,” “whiny,” and “jealous.” Some took exception to the way Denise appeared to lump all bloggers together while others accused of her creating clickbait.
“You demand respect and yet you treat others this way? No wonder you never got far. Ugh. You’re a sick sick person and I feel horrible for your children,” commented one fellow blogger.
Denise tells Good Morning America that she's much happier now and finds it a “relief” to be able to be her authentic self. She says she didn't intend to attack an industry, just to show that there was a better way to live. The last words of her epic rant are a plea to learn from how her blog nearly robbed her of the chance to be a good mother.
“Just quit,” she writes. “Quit now before you get burnt out and feel guilty. Quit before you realize you wasted years of your life writing bulls*** about your kids’ childhood and your relationships instead of being actually involved.”
Independent Journal Review reached out to Denise for comment, but she was unavailable.