Josi Denise was a popular “mommy blogger,” writing about her picture perfect life on “The American Mama,” but she made waves – and earned backlash online – when she quit the blog in a scathing final post in which she panned the entire mommy blogging culture.
“I was a mommy blogger and it consumed my life,” the 27-year-old mother of three told ABC News in an interview that aired today on "Good Morning America."
Denise, of Evansville, Indiana, says she started out blogging to make extra money. She said she had up to 50,000 unique viewers per month and made up to $1,500 per blog post.
Denise revealed that she would stage every moment of her life for posting on the blog, including her children’s birthday parties and family vacations. She said blogging was squeezing the joy out of parenting and her marriage.
Her life wasn’t nearly as perfect as it appeared to be in the photos she posted on her blog, she said.
“I was posting photos that were happy because I needed that post," Denise said. "If it was a sponsored post especially, I needed the happy photos! If I had deadlines to meet for sponsored posts, and we weren't actually having a great time I still needed to get those photos."
That’s what happened when she was paid to post about a tea company, she said.
“There was one instance for a Father's Day post that was sponsored that we needed to tell a story about grilling out in the backyard and we needed to have the photos of the family grilling, and everyone having a good time ... You're not really having a good time in the moment with the people that you're spending your time with. It's just a photo shoot,” she said.
Feeling as though she was living a lie, she quit the blog with a final post titled “Dear Mommy Blogger,” in which she harshly criticized the world of paid posts.
“[Ninety percent] of the fake nonsense I used to share on the internet as a mommy blogger writing about my fake life and oh-so-happy marriage, they are pure bulls**t,” Denise wrote in the lengthy post in which she also said she didn't think anyone was reading the blogs, and that the bloggers were wasting their money to keep themselves in the industry and had confused goals.
She also questioned why other mommy bloggers put "an exclamation point at the end of every sentence," writing that she didn’t think they were as happy in their everyday lives as they made themselves out to be.
“Nobody buys it," she said. "And if they do, you're just making them feel bad about themselves.”
Denise said the backlash that she has experienced since she published her final blog on May 13 has been “mostly personal in the negative sense,” adding, “they said things ranging from ‘I feel sorry for your children,’ to ‘you’re a horrible person.’”
Ericka Souter, editor of Mom.me, told ABC News that Denise’s views about the insincerity of her own posts was “a problem with all of social media."
“Most of us only put our most perfect moments in the spotlight,” Souter said. “Of course, that is far from the full picture. Real life has just as many messy moments as it does fun ones.”
Denise says she’s happier now without the burden of the blog.
“I feel better about myself," Denise said. "I don't have the constant insecurity and need to post constant cheerful, positive messages online ... It's definitely a relief to be able to be authentic."