No one ever said motherhood would be easy. Yes, it’s wonderful in a million different ways, but also overwhelming, and, often, pretty hilarious. Moms find comfort in sharing their trials and tribulations with other moms. Back in the day, this would take place at a neighborhood coffee klatch or a mommy-and-me group, but now online communities led by influencers such as Tara Clark, known for her Instagram account @modernmomprobs, provide an outlet and resource for the needs of many mothers.
Clark, known for her ability to see the humor in the parenting adventure, is also the author of the upcoming book, “Modern Mom Probs: A Survival Guide for 21st Century Mothers.” I asked her about her experience as a mom and about connecting with moms online. Here’s what she said.
The Epoch Times: What first inspired you to begin writing and sharing content about motherhood?
Tara Clark: Before my son was born, I worked in social media at Nickelodeon where I managed Nick Jr and Nick@Nite properties pre-Instagram days. So I have a background in content creation and media. I originally began my account for two reasons: one, to find a creative outlet since I was a stay-at-home mom, and two, to connect with other moms. I didn’t have a lot of mom friends to talk about my experiences as a mother.
My son was 3 when I started the account fully in the throes of that tantrum phase—glad that’s over! So I was looking for a way to connect with other mothers online and make them laugh with memes. Sometimes, the content creator needs to laugh even more than the audience. Over the years, the account evolved to embrace the realities of modern mom problems while maintaining an upbeat humorous voice. Now it’s really the perfect marriage of humor and community.
The Epoch Times: Your @modernmomprobs Instagram account reaches over half a million followers. Why do you believe the content that you share has resonated so strongly with so many?
Ms. Clark: The content on @modernmomprobs is universally relatable. It’s about the everyday occurrences we experience as parents. The neverending laundry pile. The comedy of errors that is distance learning. I’m an observant person who notices the little funny things that happen through the day. Also, I make an effort to not make any jokes on the backs of other people—sometimes myself but not other people. My comedy is not so heavy that it becomes dark or alienating. Between the comedy and the empowering message for mothers, many people all over the world relate to it. That’s how they know they are not alone in their motherhood journey.
The Epoch Times: What “problems” or challenges do you think modern moms face that are different from what moms of previous generations experienced?
Ms. Clark: Modern mom problems are frequently discussed on my platform. Sometimes they can be as frivolous as the obnoxious traffic at the school pick-up line, or something serious like postpartum depression. Some of these modern mom problems include the lack of an in-person village, information overload, mental load, the concept of “balance,” social media perfection, judgment from others, mental health issues, loneliness, and financial pressures.
Calling something a modern mom problem isn’t whining or complaining. It’s identifying areas in our lives that require our attention. Naming something a problem is sometimes the first step in solving it, like the crushing weight of parenting during a pandemic. We don’t have all of the answers, but at least we’re not alone in our experiences, unique as they are. One of the benefits of social media is that our generation is able to talk about these issues. We are normalizing the conversation by talking about it together.
The Epoch Times: What stage of parenting are you currently in?
Ms. Clark: Right now, I am currently in my favorite stage of parenting. I have one 8-year-old son, who is learning to be independent yet he’s still a love bug. For us, the age of 1 1/2 to age 3 was really challenging with tantrums. This age is a beautiful balance of independence and maturity, but needing cuddles, snuggles, and a lot of love. Age 8 is logging onto your Zoom call and popping out of the classroom to grab a hug from Mom.
The Epoch Times: What have you found to be the best and most challenging parts of being a mom?
Ms. Clark: The most challenging part of being a mom was when my son was experiencing tantrums. My son struggled with tantrums and regulating his emotions for about two years. It was an all-consuming time. Maintaining your calm while trying to be a supportive rock for a little person who was not at all at his center was a real struggle. I wish there were as many resources as there are now available when my son was younger. One excellent Instagram account focusing on toddler tantrums is called Big Little Feelings.
The best parts of being a mom are having shared experiences with your children doing the things you love, whether it’s playing outside, cooking a meal, or just cuddling up on the couch and reading a book. Watching them develop from these tiny beings to walking, talking (and never stop talking) interesting people is such a gift. Sometimes I will steal a glance at my son while he talks about his interests, and my heart just melts.
The Epoch Times: You have a knack for finding the humor in mom life. What’s one of the funniest experiences you’ve had as a mom so far?
Ms. Clark: Motherhood is full of funny and endearing moments. Just this week, as I was tidying up my son’s virtual classroom workspace, I noticed that he had several Google tabs open featuring adorable, fluffy gray kittens. When I saw them, I said: “Sweetie, why do you have these tabs open? You should be focusing on your Zoom call.” He turned to me and said, “They are my emotional support animals and they help me get through the day.” It was the sweetest, most honest moment steeped in pandemic life.
The Epoch Times: One “modern mom prob” we’ve all been dealing with is, of course, a pandemic and the various measures that have been put in place in our society to combat it. From your interactions with your online community, how do you think moms are doing and what do you think has been the biggest challenge for them during this time?
Ms. Clark: Thanks to the Instagram polls feature and the living laboratory that is social media, I know how many of my mom followers are faring. They’re struggling. I recently posed the question, “What is one modern mom problem you are currently struggling with?” and received an overwhelming response. The answers ranged from challenges with remote learning to loneliness to lack of a village. All of those things except for remote learning existed before the pandemic but now they’re exacerbated by it. Some of the challenges mentioned repeatedly are loneliness, feeling disconnected, feeling the weight of the world, and the pressure from every direction whether it’s work, children, or home responsibilities.
The Epoch Times: What inspires you to continue to create content for modern moms?
Ms. Clark: Modern moms. Modern moms inspire me every day. How they are able to wake up each day and give their all to their families while maintaining their own sense of identity. Everyday life is funny when you just stop and look around to observe what’s happening. When I create a light-hearted post, it is about the things I see in everyday life that other moms experience, too. There’s a sense of commonality and community through shared experiences. For the heartfelt posts, I want people to feel connected and that there is a sense of community of modern moms who “get it.”