Good Moms Have Bad Days Archive posts
Here are the blog posts along with resource links from the old website of Good Moms Have Bad Days. Thanks for your continued support!
Teen Mom Resources
Did you know teen moms - ages 15-19 - experience postpartum mood disorders at a rate DOUBLE that of "adult" mothers? That means up to 40% of teen moms are facing these disorders along with things like graduating high school, dealing with judgmental parents/friends/community, lack of resources, co-parenting with another teen or being a single mom, applying for college, working a minimum wage job, etc., and there are SO FEW resources for them to deal with them. Even if a teen mom gives her child up for adoption, I can't imagine the pressure and chances of developing depression/anxiety is any less. If anything, it could make it worse.
I think some must think that teens are just being teenagers when presented with the idea that a teen mom is struggling with adjusting to life as a mom and therefore don't bother to build resources specifically designed for them. And I think others must think we should treat teen moms like any other mom. But the problem with that is judgment does exist among mothers - even to mothers of the same age - I've never felt more judged in my life than when I became a mom - and these moms need someone they can relate to. Someone they can see and speak with who can say, "I've been there, it sucked, and here's what I did to help me through it."
This issue was brought to my attention last week during my text shift for the Postpartum Support International warmline (503-894-9453) (we don't handle crisis situations - except they do sometimes come up) where we match women with local coordinators who can help them find counselors/psychiatrists/support groups in their area. This line is staffed by volunteers from around the country/world - so we don't always have someone on, but normally, so reach out anytime and someone will be in touch with you within a few hours.
Anyway, last week, during my shift, a 16-year-old new mom reached out who was dealing with baby dad issues, mom issues from her mother, judgment from her church, distancing from friends, etc. and basically she was feeling judged and isolated and just down. Who wouldn't? Being a teenager is hard between the hormones, the peer pressure, and the fact that most things happening around them are out of their control. Add pregnancy hormones to that, then postpartum hormones and I feel like it's a recipe for disaster. Especially when there's so little for them to turn to for help and acceptance. This is when I realized "why the fuck didn't I write about this in my book?! Why didn't I know this was an issue" and I felt really bad about it - so this is me trying to rectify that a little.
I did some research online yesterday and sadly I didn't find much.
One website I found is "Teen Mom NYC" but it's a blog that hasn't been updated in two years ... but there are still some good resources on there and you can at least read about the experience of teen moms.
-Here's the link to their "helpful links" to other teen-based resources they found.
-Here's a Teen Mom Facebook group - it doesn't look too active right now, but worth a shot.
-Here's a more active FB group.
Seni.org was apparently developing a teen initiative, but when you click their link, it looks like it didn't really go anywhere, or they walked it back - hard to tell.
Unbelievably that's it. That's all I could find in about 2 hours worth of searching. That's insane. And so sad. We can do better, we need to do better.
If you have any resources that you think a teen mom could benefit from, please share them in the comments or email me at goodmomshavebaddays.com and lets help these girls get the help and support they need, doing one of the hardest jobs there's ever been!
(A note about the image ... this was the Degrassi Jr. High episode my health teacher showed us in 7th grade to have the sex talk. In the episode Spike has sex on her period convinced if you have sex on your period you can't get pregnant. Clearly that's false and she ends up pregnant. Great lesson on how things work, but there's nothing in the rest of the episode or series about what pregnancy means for her as a human - what it does to her hormones, her identity, only what it means for her socially, her parents etc. and that's not OK. I know that was from the 80s/early 90s but I don't think we're doing much better now. The times have changed, but the way we treat teen moms has not and it's high time it did.)
Good Moms Suffer from Postpartum Psychosis
Covid lockdown has brought back a lot of not so deeply recessed feelings for me, and I’m sure for a lot of you.
For me it brings back the newborn phase and the start of my postpartum mood disorder journey – being stuck inside with no one else around, just you and the kid(s), husband maybe home but still working, cooking endlessly, piles of laundry, stuff everywhere, literally only leaving the house to go to the stor ... It makes my heart beat quickly just typing this. So needless to say, it’s been hard.
For 1 in 7 women, we know that postpartum mood disorders is a reality and for the first time in their lives, the majority of the population is getting a taste of what some of us have gone through.
One thing this lockdown has also made me realize is that I very possibly could have actually been wrestling with postpartum psychosis, not depression and anxiety, immediately following the birth of my children. With hints of it right before delivery.
I only had this epiphany tonight when listening to the podcast Red Handed – an excellent British true crime podcast. I’m listening to old episodes - as I just started following them - and tonight’s episode (listen here)was about Andrea Yates – the woman who made postpartum psychosis front page news in the 90s. However, because the diagnosis was and is so misunderstood and misdiagnosed/mistreated, she was villainized in the media, and to a degree still is if you talk to the wrong people. What’s sad, and what Red Handed did such an amazing job of, is that Yates went through hell and back before ever committing her final act. She tried to take her own life, several times, before ever turning on her children. She was let down grossly by her husband, her family, her church and the “system.”
This brought to mind an eerily similar case here in Texas (Yates was also from Texas) where a Plano preacher continues to brainwash his parishioners into believing medicine is wrong, mood disorders can be prayed away, and sin is bad unless he’s the one committing the sin. This preacher and his “teachings” led another Texas mom to taking the life of her child in a horrific way (you can read about it here) because she was told she wasn’t sick and she just needed to pray. So despite being diagnosed with psychosis and her husband taking the steps to get her help – her husband was also a bit of an enabler, probably just due to ignorance (and I don’t mean that in a mean way, just not knowing what to do), and social workers being involved – this preacher’s voice was louder than all the others and his words took over, she stopped taking her meds and killed her daughter. This story gives me nightmares so read the D-Magazine article with caution.
While I know these are just two extreme cases of Texas women having been let down and ultimately committing horrific acts against their children, I have a theory that these are just the two most well-known cases, because the year my daughter was born, another Plano mom with a young daughter was suffering from Postpartum Psychosis, her church and her family told her to pray it away, and she ended up dead, facedown in a puddle after crashing her car in a single-car accident. That one set me into a tailspin. I was so heartbroken for the mother and her daughter she’d left behind; and furious at her church and her family.
In the south, and the deep south, religion rules all and in the land of free speech, preachers seem to get away with an awful lot of bullshit. People look for reasons, for answers, for help, and largely they’ll take it where they can get it. And if people are stressed, lonely, scared, broke, etc., they’re going to listen to whoever tells them there’s purpose in what they’re going through and that through prayer things will get better. It’s not rocket science. Cult leaders have preyed on the vulnerable for centuries and churches (in some cases) aren’t much different. (Please don't turn this into a debate about religion - I know not all religions are bad, just like not all women with postpartum psychosis are going to harm themselves or their children.)
And I mention this some in my book, but you cannot pray away postpartum mood disorders or any mood disorder. We moms who suffer with one or multiple postpartum mood disorders are one missed medication dose, one missed appointment with our psychiatrist away from becoming Andrea Yates or Dena Schlosser.
I think it’s fine, even healthy, to believe in a higher power, a higher purpose. But if that higher power is telling you to not take your meds, DON’T LISTEN.
And if you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms of postpartum psychosis, call 9-1-1 or call Postpartum Support International’s psychosis coordinator (more information below) and they can help find the best resources for you where you are – even during a global pandemic.
Like other postpartum mood disorders, postpartum psychosis is treatable, but it has to be diagnosed and it has to be treated with meds.
In Texas however, which is where I’m currently living despite the back of my book saying we’re in N.C. (we were supposed to be but Covid halted our move) the maternal mortality rate is dismal, especially if you’re a mom suffering from a postpartum mood disorder.
The Texas maternal mortality rate is estimated at 14.6 per 100,000 live births, and for black women it’s 27.8 per 100,000.
Dr. Carla Ortique said in an interview with PBS that 55 percent of women who give birth in Texas are covered by Medicaid. Most lose that coverage 42 days after delivery – because the state/federal healthcare funds only the child – not the mother. (Don’t even get me started on this.) So most of the higher incidences of death occur after that 42 day mark once the mother loses access to her healthcare coverage. Not only are these women not getting the necessary gynecological follow-up care, they’re also not getting mental health care, so suicide, drug use, etc. are all contributing factors. And the death rate has not improved since 2016 when a task force was created to make Texas a safer place for mothers. Largely because the Texas Republican-led legislature has refused to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, and, if we want to get stereotypical, the legislature is made up of mostly old, white, religious men, with zero understanding of maternal health – mental, physical or otherwise.
So, what can be done? I don’t know. But we have to keep talking about it. We have to normalize this for the women suffering with these disorders and we have to make it OK for them to get help. A mother experiencing intrusive thoughts should be able to tell her doctor without fear that her baby will be taken away from her or that child protective services will be called – which is what happens in the southern states pretty frequently and it’s terrifying for mothers and children, not to mention adds to the psychological trauma they’re already experiencing.
We have to continue to lobby congress, our state legislatures, plead our case to insurance companies and support the organizations that do this on our behalf, to make sure women’s health and maternal mental health become and remain top priority. Because without us – women, mothers - the whole ship sinks, and we all have to help each other out to keep things afloat.
Covid is isolating, having kids and being a parent/stay-at-home/work-from-home, mom/dad etc., is isolating but dealing with mental health issues should not be. So speak up, reach out, and help/get help.
Sending you all kinds of love and strength during this chaotic time. Below is information straight from Postpartum Support International regarding symptoms, psychosis coordinator contacts, emergency help, etc. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
In an Emergency
Call the emergency hotline 1-800-273-8255. Emergency Hotlines are available all the time. It is very important that you reach out right now and find the support and information you need to be safe. Call for yourself or someone you care about; available 24/7.
Postpartum Psychosis is a rare illness compared to the rates of postpartum depression or anxiety. It occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately .1% of births. The onset is usually sudden, most often within the first 2 weeks postpartum.
Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:
Delusions or strange beliefs
Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
Feeling very irritated
Decreased need for or inability to sleep
Paranoia and suspiciousness
Rapid mood swings
Difficulty communicating at times
The most significant risk factors for postpartum psychosis are a personal or family history of bipolar disorder, or a previous psychotic episode.
It is also important to know that many survivors of postpartum psychosis never had delusions containing violent commands. Delusions take many forms, and not all of them are destructive. Most women who experience postpartum psychosis do not harm themselves or anyone else. However, there is always the risk of danger because psychosis includes delusional thinking and irrational judgment, and this is why women with this illness must be quickly assessed, treated, and carefully monitored by a trained healthcare perinatal mental health professional.
Postpartum psychosis is temporary and treatable with professional help, but it is an emergency and it is essential that you receive immediate help. If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. Call your doctor or an emergency crisis hotline right away so that you can get the help you need.
PSI also has two Postpartum Psychosis Coordinators to provide additional assistance to women and families who are not in an emergency situation.
Michele is currently on leave. Please contact Felice in her absence.
You are not alone
It’s suicide prevention month/day and I know it’s been ages since I’ve written anything, but I thought it was important to stop for a second and remind you – whoever needs to hear it right now - that you are not alone.
Whether you’re dealing with chronic depression/anxiety/any mood disorder/postpartum mood disorders … you are not alone. What you are going through is not your fault and with help you can get better.
I know it doesn’t feel like it and I know the light at the end of the tunnel can feel far away, but it’s there. Trust that. It’s like Santa, God, whatever entity you believe in, you don’t have to be able to see it to know it exists … trust your heart. Anxiety/depression are big fat liars who live to tear you down. Be louder. Tell those niggling voices to fuck off, then get a therapist, a psychiatrist, whatever you need to feel supported while you get yourself back to you.
You’re not doing this for anyone else, you’re doing this for you because YOU MATTER. The world needs you, you’re here for a reason and what you are doing is important. So stay strong, reach out for help and speak your truth so others going through the same thing can find their strength.
I’m not trying to hype you up as someone who hasn’t been through this because I have. After my second child, I cried in my therapists office “why does it have to be so hard,” like sobbed, ugly cried, I just didn’t see how I was ever going to cope with everything and how I was going to get better because it just felt like it was taking so long.
I took the medicines I was prescribed and still ended up crying on the floor of my closet wishing for the end, for a way out.
I don’t know what stopped me, honestly. My kids, probably, and the fierce love that was greater than my own suffering? I don’t actually know. And probably my husband, who kindly yelled at me to find a better psychiatrist instead of one whose prescriptions just kept making me worse. Whatever it was, it worked, and I’m here. And I’m grateful.
I still struggle with depression and anxiety, it’s not an easy road and for me there’s no quick fix. But with therapy, a great psychiatrist and getting better at practicing self-care and making times for things that make me happy, I’m doing better and I will continue to get better.
You are worthy, you matter, you are important and you can do hard things. You’ve done hard things.
And on the hard days, just know you can get through this, and here are some numbers to call when you need a little extra support:
-The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
-The Crisis Text Line: Free 24/7 support at your fingertips US and Canada: text ‘CONNECT’ to 741741 UK: text ‘CONNECT’ to 85258 | Ireland: text ‘CONNECT’ to 50808
-The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ+youth): 1-866-488-7386
-Postpartum Support International:
-Text: English: 503-894-9453
-You can also reach out to me directly if you need a friendly ear … firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with me via DM on Instagram @goodmomshavebaddays.
No one should have to walk this path alone.
Good Moms Get Scammed into MLMs
***This is the script for this week’s Good Moms podcast episode. If you’d rather listen to it - just head to Apple or Spotify and search for “Good Moms Have Bad Days”
The stories and experiences in this episode are my own and those of women who have shared their stories with me for the purposes of sharing them on the podcast. I am not here to start anything with any of the companies that I will only allude to - because I am in no position to be sued but I think it’s important we talk about this because it’s an industry that preys on moms and young women. So, without further ado, here we go … Good Moms Get Scammed into MLMS.
It is the topic du jour and has been since LulaRich came out at the end of 2021 and worked us all up into a frenzy about the insanity that is multi-level marketing. The chaos continued with another documentary on Discovery + The Rise and Fall of LulaRoe and I’m sure as they’re currently still in business, and there’s now a Canadian mlm that is eerily similar to LulaRoe, the content will keep on coming.
(The Dream podcast is another great podcast on the damage mlms can do)
What we learned from that documentary, and others about mlms, are that they are targeting women and moms in particular and preying on their desire to contribute to their families financially while also being a full-time, stay-at-home mom for their children.
A Motherly article I read in preparation for this episode called “Amazon’s LuLaRich proves MLMs thrive because of how badly our society fails mothers” by Cassandra Stone states “American mothers who can’t afford chidlcare, who are reliant on their husband’s income, who want to stay at home with their kids but have something for themselves too are the perfect target for MLM recruitment.”
Stone writes “So why do these shady business practices continue to thrive in the U.S.? Because of the idyllic lifestyle they’re selling, not the product itself. You don’t need a village to help raise your kids - you can do it yourself. You just have to spend a few days week selling leggings (or essential oils, make up or diet shakes) and you can spend all the time you want with your family.”
What they don’t tell mothers is that they’re first putting their family’s into debt with the “buy-in” and every penny someone makes, they’re encouraged to re-invest into the business by ordering more product and then eventually people stop buying, they’re stuck with stock they can’t sell and out of money. And instead of investing in themselves and starting a business that is truly their own and really building their independence, they’re still working for “the man” and driving themselves into debt and living a life that is not sustainable. Between conferences, must-do webinars on the latest sales tactics, latest products, pep talks from the higher-ups, etc. your time is not your own. And the products aren’t anything you can’t get somewhere else - like a legitimate big box store, where if you worked you could also have things like health insurance and paid time off (Depending on the store). It’s just maddening.
And while there are dozens of people out there now - maybe hundreds or thousands - advocating for people to get out of their MLMs, it’s hard to find people who are willing and able to coach these women on how to build their own business (without also scamming them out of money and leaving them without a plan to actually start a successful business), file and pay their taxes, do their accounting, and whatever else they need to do in order to have their own successful business. This is what moms need - not shakes, and workout videos and ‘free swag’ that they actually end up paying for.
Another thing I’ve learned while watching these documentaries, reading these articles, etc. about MLMs is that if it calls itself a family - if it has an ‘exclusive’ conference every year that thrives on the whole FOMO thing for those who can’t attend, and an initial buy-in in the hundreds or thousands (and some are trying to get in there right at $99, but don’t be tricked, it’s still a scam) - and an MLM and you’d be wise to steer clear of them.
Officially, here are the 10 main things that make an MLM an MLM:
1- no or low-qualitly product or service
2- outrageous and unfounded product claims (life-changing, game changing, etc)
3- high pressure sales tactics
4- pressure to buy and stock inventory
6- poor company communication
7-expensive and ongoing training or other business items
8- poor BBB rating
9-Deceptive advertising practices (when you’re not really sure what they do)
10-crypitc job interview
**if it gives you an unsettling feeling - it’s probably a scam or an mlm
***if it gives off cultish vibes and calls itself a family - it’s an mlm or a legit cult
***there are a lot of businesses out there now that operate similarly but get around being classified an mlm because they’re set up just different enough to not be - sometimes using franchising as their way.
And that last bit is where my experience with this crap comes in.
Now, the way a traditional franchise works is you pay something like $20k-$100k or more especially if it’s a restaurant franchise like McDonalds or something. Once you buy the franchise, you model your business off of their proven business model in an area that won’t be in direct competition with an existing franchise. They also have a menu and business model that you are supposed to follow, including uniforms, menu items, what the building should look like (with some wiggle room) etc. But it’s pretty much once you make the investment, the money is there to be made.
Now, these new MLM/franchises are taking this model and putting people in the hole. The one I witnessed and had first hand experience being a part of was a mommy boot camp - i won’t say the name but to my knowledge there are only so many because they’ve sued each other over the names of these companies, so you can probably figure it out pretty quick online … anyway.
This boot camp i was a part of in Texas was one of those stroller mommy and me ones, where you franchise from the parent company, anywhere from $3-7,000 dollars THEN you have to pay additional registration fees to take the training classes required to teach the licensed classes through the franchise. All instructors - who I believe are mostly unpaid or very minimally paid- also have to pay to get certified and pay to keep up their certification with the HQ company. These aren’t classes put on by certified physical health agencies and have no real credentials - they’re just trained through headquarters. They’re trained to get us moms in shape, but they have no real instruction on how to treat or ID mothers who have diastasis recti or hip/lower back issues following delivery or during pregnancy - they also aren’t trained to help women with postpartum mood disorders but I’ll get to that in a sec.
So in addition to paying for the franchise and the training, they also have to pay for the branded gear and it all has to be approved by HQ if they print their own with their location, etc. on it. You don’t really have a lot of autonomy. Then the equipment you’re encouraged to use are also all branded from the parent company and you can only use equipment approved from them and approved companies.
Then, they charge moms by the class or by bundles. You can do one class a week, two a week, or unlimited. Then you also pay a play date fee to cover supplies for playedates they host once a month for moms and their kids which usually revolve around a craft activity of some sort and are fine if your baby is old enough to participate. Then there are also moms night outs and couples nights outs, and a run club that is apparently not free (anymore). All of these things are scripted. Nothing about any of these activities is organic. No real relationships are being built. It’s like a sorority without the networking opportunities.
Not only that, but the owners of these franchises rarely if ever make a profit and continue to have jobs outside of this. My leaders were working in chiropractic health and hair styling. The majority of the other moms in this group - trainers and otherwise - were selling crap for other actual MLMS. We had moms who sold 31, Amelia Jane or whatever that clothing one is, Norwex, Usborne, Monat and more - I don’t even remember the rest but only two of the moms I knew had their own actual business on the side of being a full-time parent, the rest worked part-time jobs, were MLM moms or stay at home/really involved in volunteering at church and stuff.
I am not judging these women for wanting to make extra income. Not in the least. I am fuming at these companies who prey on moms, especially during vulnerable times in their lives, and lie and trick them into spending money they don’t have for money they will never earn.
It’s disgusting and it should be illegal.
My issue with the mommy boot camp, in addition to it being toxic with programs that dare say “body back” (they’ve changed it in the last two years after getting pushback from folks), they create cliques that are worse than high school, they create an environment based on FOMO and try and craft that instagram image of what motherhood is supposed to look like, so when a mom shows up who is truly struggling and in need of strong social support, she leaves feeling worse than she arrived. It happened to me, and I watched it happen to others before i left the group. They also offer NO diversity.
It also created judgement from moms outside of the group. Many moms in the group relied on screen time to keep our kids calm in the stroller while we worked out. Granola moms who came to try out the class and did not allow their kids screen time, left annoyed and pissed off that was the only way they could work out with their kids. I even tried to convince one of these granola moms to give it another shot one day when i saw her at the park, and she was not having it, and her disdain for it was probably the first time i questioned what i was spending my time and money on.
Shortly after that encounter is when my postpartum anxiety and depression went off the deep end and I was not functioning well. I tried to confide in two of the moms that I thought maybe I was friendliest with (and one who had briefly mentioned her battle with PPD as a way to lure women to come work out with the group) and i was horribly and hurtfully rebuffed with toxic positivity, a shake of the head, and no further discussion. It was shocking. I didn’t go back after that day. And only one woman checked in with me after I left and it’s only because she found out my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I am still social media friends with some of the women i met during my time with this group, but we don’t talk, we aren’t friends. I think they’re perfectly kind and good people, they just weren’t my people and i didn’t fit their idea of what a mom was - depressed, anxious and kind of a bitch!
I was also alone and in a state where i had no support other than my husband and some neighbors, so I had felt at the time like i needed this group, which was why their dismissal of my mental health issues hurt so damn bad.
So, if you find yourself longing for sisterhood and wanting to be a part of something that can help lift you up as a mom, i would argue against these kinds of artificial programs. Start your own group that has nothing to do with body image, trying to get something done while your kids are with you (like working out) etc. I don’t have a magic answer for this - making friends when you become a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but in my experience these groups aren’t the answer.
Physical Therapist Briana Battles agrees and says these groups are also really bad for your postpartum health and fitness because 99 times out of 100 the mommy boot camp you’re doing is not run or trained by people in the needs of postpartum bodies. She does interview one boot camp founder on her podcast that says they’re all certified in these things and are certified by legit agencies/classes (I did look them up and it did seem legit, but it also has a completely different franchise set up than the one I went in on and it’s a much smaller, more manageable group, but still not my cup of tea.) If you want to learn more about fitness in the postpartum or even prenatal phase, check out Briana Battles podcast and her website Briannabattles.com - she even has some free resources on there for moms so check it out.
One of the articles I found about a franchise owner of the bootcamp group I mentioned says “I built my entire business without any child care because i got to bring my kids to work with me. This franchise enabled me to do that and I gained so much more than an income. I truly believe you have to have passion for what you’re doing. The quote do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life sums it up perfectly.”
There are SO MANY RED FLAGS in this article.
Red flag one: gained more than income … because she’s probably just breaking even
Red flag two: that quote about working - it’s a bunch of bullshit to guilt people into working and working insanely hard for very little gain and is an MLM fave.
I do what I love every day - being a mom, and artist and a writer and it is all hard and it is all work.
I tried to find income disclosure statements for the franchise, and while I couldn't’ find any - which is also a red flag I’ve heard mentioned by a lot of anti-MLM advocates, especially Roberta Blevins, whose podcast life after MLM is a must listen. But in their franchise agreement, I did see that if a franchise doesn’t make any money, that’s not the HQ’s fault and there’s no protection for the owners. It states in the franchise agreement, which you can find online but it takes some hunting … says franchise owners must make minimum franchise technology and other payments, regardless of your sales levels. Your inability to make payments may result in termination of your franchise and loss of your investment. (An abbreviated breakdown of the agreement here: https://www.franchisedirect.com/fitnessfranchises/fit4mom-franchise-13399/ufoc/)
It even states in it’s agreement that the state of michigan prohibits some of the “unfair provisions” sometimes in franchise documents … so make of that what you will but to me it sounds like some of these things might not work out in michigan.
They’ve also been in litigation in the state of Maryland because they allegedly “violated the registration, disclosure and anti fraud provisions of the Maryland franchise law involving the offer and sale of said company licenses, which constitute franchise and denied under Maryland franchise law. The lawsuit goes on to say that the company sent promotional materials to people in Maryland including sample budgets containing representations of potential gross revenues and income. And without agreeing or disagreeing to whether or not they were in violation, the company agreed to cease licensing franchises in Maryland. Cool.
Here are costs licensees have to pay in addition to the franchise fee which is anywhere from 4-12k.
Founders course: $149
Basic stroller class cert: 149
Mom and baby class cert: 149
Body back cert : 149
Format class: 229
Barre cert: 149
Another class cert: 149
Another new class 149
RUN CLUB 149
Monthly franchise fee: $200-400
Monthly systems accesss fee: 120-140 a month
Monthly royalty: 4 percent gross sales
Brand fund contribution: up to 3 percent of your monthly business gross sales
And anytime you want to expand your footprint of the franchise it’s an additional
$2,500 plus an additional monthly franchise fee
There’s also an annual membership fee of $25 person per instructor, which comes with a $75 late fee!
And then … the cherry on top … the “optional” national conference or regional summit which ranges from $160-$1000 per person
The most recent agreement i found said that in 2020 the company’s total revenue was 2.5 million from the “sale of our services” including training fees and retail products to franchisees total 305k which represents 12 percent of the revenues.)
They estimate the on boarding program is a total of 19 hours. The instructor training courses are 46 hours. YOU’RE PAYING. You’re paying this money to do this training that will not be applicable anywhere else but within this company and this program.
In 2020 they had about 250 franchises. Give or take a few. Which is down 15 franchises from 2019 - probably due to COVID.
There are uniform requirements in the franchise agreement that say “you will require instructors to wear “branded” logo apparel and other standardized insignia during classes and comply with programs.
They also “strongly recommend” each manager, instructor or employee sign a NON DISCLOSURE and non compete agreement!!!! I have only ever heard of having to do this if you work for a large corporation where there’s a lot of money and client information on the line - this is not that kind of gig. They even offer examples of ones they can use in their franchise agreement.
The company did also file for and receive a PPP loan during COVID. How many small businesses didn’t but this one - and so many other MLMs did - it’s freakin’ insane.
I looked up a couple of the women who once owned franchises of this company and with a little light facebook stalking I found that a couple have opened their own fitness studios and received legitimate personal training certificates that can be used in any setting - unlike the training they received through this company which can only be used for these specific classes. Another former owner is now a photographer and insurance salesman and all of their accounts have little to no mention of their days as an owner/instructor with this company! To me that blows my mind, because if you know anyone that even works out with this group, their facebook and instagram are covered in images about run club and early morning workouts and whatever group activity they’ve been to that day/week with said group. It’s bonkers. And to me, another sure sign that it’s eerily similar to an MLM and, let’s say it, cult.
I looked up what makes a bad franchise, and here’s what I found in an article from Forbes:
1- a lack of franchise or overall experience in the type of business the franchise operates should prompt a closer review.
2-litigation - too many lawsuits is a bad thing.
4-If the total of continuing franchise fees is higher than comparable franchisees, find out why. It’s not unusual for a successful franchise to charge higher fees, but make sure to confirm it’s successful.
5-territory: little or no territory protection and no details on how territories are established and defined could be an indication of potential future disputes between franchisees and the franchiser.
6- high number of franchisee turnover, more outlets closed vs opened, and the number of franchisee transfers.
7- UNLESS A FRANCHISE IS IN growth mode, a franchise that’s been in operation for several years with more than 100 locations, that earns most of its revenues from initial franchise fees is a red flag. This coupled with high franchisee turnover is a major red flag. To ME, this is where the alarm bells go off on this particular mommy boot camp company.
Where does their money come from? It’s not from us moms who take the classes, because the average membership cost is .. $65 MONTHLY FOR UNLIMITED VISITs, $80 for the body back class which isn’t body back anymore, and omg the run club is $135 which includes one visit a week for 8 weeks. YOU CAN RUN FOR FREE. And the prenatal fitness classes are anywhere from $180-$270 for two to three visits a week for just six weeks. That’s so much money. Alternatively you can pay $300 every six months to workout unlimited at any of their classes. That doesn’t include your fees for play date and whatever else. That’s just for the classes. But given the fees we know the people have to pay for their franchise, I don’t know how much money they’re making. The class like this in my current area, I’ve seen maybe has a dozen women. The one I went to in Texas, had about 12-25 per class, depending on the class and it was usually the same group of women. So, yeah, and I know that while there may be low turnover with franchisees, there’s high turnover in memberships because a lot of women go back to work, a lot of women spot the bullshit and go to a gym or workout on their own, and a lot of people just can’t keep paying that much money to feel bad about themselves.
The other thing that freaked me out when I started working out with this group and the thing that freaks me out now knowing what I know about how MLMs and other scammy groups operate is you can’t just show up to workout, like you might at a gym. You click on your location of classes that you want to go to on their website, and you have to fill out a form that has your email and zip code and you have to click like 5 things before you find out the price. You also have to reach out to the instructors before going to the class. It’s so wild to me.
The other thing that freaks me out that, again, should have freaked me out a long time ago, is the owner of this company is like a guru to the franchisees - she’s all about “mamas” taking time for themselves and prioritizing themselves and putting themselves first, but keeps sharing her message with us “mamas” by asking us to pay for her classes, her books, etc. I just got an email the other day saying, why don’t you sign up for a $65 class for the month of March to learn about better time management. Um, I know i can save myself $65 AND an hour a day by not signing up for your class, so thanks, you’ve taught me something already. This is grafting at it’s finest. If you want to do good for moms, just do good for moms.
My husband asked me the other day if I wasn’t doing the same thing, which really offended me because I didn’t write Good Moms Have Bad Days to make money, I didn’t start this podcast to make money, I don’t VOLUNTEER with PSI for money - i do it because this work is important and this stuff needs to be shared far and wide and we have to start putting moms and families first. IF I happen to make money along the way from either ad revenue or someone throwing a book deal my way, sure, fine, great, but I’m not in it for the money. If I have a message to share with people, I’m going to share it and not charge people to hear it. I am after all a journalist by study and trade and I didn’t make shit as a journalist, so why should that change now!
Another thing this bootcamp (and all mlms) tries to sell women on is the idea of community and a village to handle motherhood with. But are they really your village if you are PAYING them to be your village? No, because as soon as you stop paying to exercise with them, they’re gone.
Ok, back to the Motherly article. Stone writes “It’s not uncommon for MLMs to have ties to Christianity (which the mommy bootcamp also does) … In the series LuLaRoe is presented as the ideal way for a woman to find empowerment - it allows you to work without threatening the patriarchy. And because in many faiths, women aren’t able to achieve institutional power, those who are part of more traditional household faiths could see an MLM opportunity as a win-win.”
Stone also reminds us that the US is the only industrialized country without a paid maternity leave mandate. Forcing mothers back into the workforce before they’re physically and emotionally ready impacts both maternal and child health.
According to Motherly’s 2021 State of Motherhood survey, 92 percent of mothers feel society doesn't do a good job of understanding or supporting motherhood. This is a sentiment that has grown in strength every year Motherly has conducted the survey - from 74 percent in 2018, 85 percent in 2019 and 80 percent in 2020.
To help folks not fall for these traps, social media companies have promised to not have MLMs on their platforms, TikTok being the main one, but so far, that’s been all talk. Roberta Blevins of LuLaRich fame and her great podcast Life after MLM says that so far anyone who has tried to report an MLM account has been told “they aren’t doing anything wrong” and the accounts have been allowed to remain active. If you’re into drama, check out the anti MLM movement on Instagram and TikTok - they’re pretty active and have some juicy gossip on the toxic nature of these types of companies.
Oh, another tidbit from the motherly article is that 73 percent of people who participated in MLMs lost money or made no money at all.
The Federal Trade Commission published a report where they estimated over 99 percent of all people who join MLMs will fail to turn a profit. And yet somehow this shit is legal - it’s worse than gambling!
I put out a call for stories on my instagram and here are some of the tidbits I got …
Kelly wrote that homeschool co-ops are filled with MLMs moms. She said “I ended up getting Juice Plus vitamins for at least a year. I never got pushed to sell though. One of my better friends sold Young Living essential oils and convinced another friend to join her team. She didn’t even try asking me since I said essential oils were not safe to ingest and some weren’t safe around kids or pets.”
Sarah wrote: “I got talked into an MLM for fitness when I was maybe 3 months postpartum and still deep in postpartum OCD. The main selling point was you can sell this and stay home with your baby” right when I went back to work (which was a pretty toxic work environment). I WAS TOLD TO GET A TARGEt audience and share my story (basically how exercise and community helped me to continue to heal from PPD which was kind of tru but pretty much was mostly my therapist), my target audience should be “moms similar to me” (Read, moms with pPD). I quite when Tthe company issues an ad that blatantly targeted new moms with PPD.
MLMs are looking to target moms and a LOT of the products being hawked by them and other companies are marketed toward mom guilt and the mixed emotions we all feel when we transition from single woman gettin’ shit done to mom and carer and doer of all things. It’s hard and there's no rule on how to process that change and these companies and individuals are 100 percent taking advantage of that, and the laws keep them “legal” because “this is just capitalism” or something. It’s gross. And the more of us that are aware of these practices and these companies, and know what to look out for, the less these companies will thrive - hopefully.
This episode could be five hours because there’s just so much tied in with MLMs and their cultish behavior and how they try and manipulate the actual way we think, the things we believe etc., but we don’t have the time to get there - but I do recommend doing your own research and own reading on this topic if it’s something that interests you. Some of it is truly eye opening.
Ok, to wrap this up, I did want to give you all a list of alll the companies that are registered with the Direct Sales Association which is the national organization that “governs” all of these companies and lobbies for them in D.C. and keeps their shit legal. So the next time a “hun” drops into your DMs, you’ll know to just reply “I wish you all the best, but you’re in an MLM. If you ever decide to open your own business, p;lease let me know and I’ll be more than happy to support you.” This list is directly from www.dsa.org
Ok, here’s the list:
4 Life Research
AdvoCare international LLC
Aeros LLC (formerly Electrolux LLC)
Aloette Cosmetics iNC
Argonne International LLC
Become international inc
Big Planet(Division of Nu Skin eNTERPRISES)
Cutco/Vector marketing Coproration
Damsel in Defense
Dudley Beauty Corp, LLC
Engaging USA Inc
Energetic GmbH and Co KG
Forever Living Products
Global Domains International
H20 at Home
Health-Mor (An HMI industries inc company)
Hey Cite, Enterprises LLC
Immunotec Research Inc
JAFRA cosmetics international inc
JOHN Amico Haircare Products
The juice Plus company LLC
L’Bri pure n’natural
Lemongrass spa products
NeoLife international LLC
New Earth Life Sciences
Nu Skin Enterprises
Omnlifie uSA inc
Pharmanex (Division of Nu Skin Enterprises)
PM International AG
Princess House Inc
Regal Ware inc
Reliv Inernational Inc
Rena Ware International
Rodman and Fields
Saladmaster (part of regale are inc)
Steeped Tea Inc
Tastefully SIMPLE inc
The Avon Company
Thirty One Gifts
Touchstone Crystal, Inch
Trades of Hope
USANA Health Sciences, iNC
Usborne Books and more
WineShop at Home
World book iNc
Doterra is also an MLM but is not listed in the directory. If anyone approaches you with one of these work from home opportunities that has a cost buy-in - look it up and don't fall for the guilt trips or anything promises they offer without doing your homework.
Also, Ayurveda is a thing i hear a lot about which is a bunch of holistic mumbo jumbo that is not cheap and while maybe not set up like an MLM, it’s still a scam so just watch yourself with these things - question everything and support local established businesses instead!
To wrap this up - if you’re in an MLM I’m not judging you, it happens to the best of us. Good moms, good people, smart people, fall for these traps. I want nothing but good things for all moms, all families, and I just want you all to be armed with the most helpful information to take care of yourselves and i don’t want you to buy into all of the mom guilt out there.
Oh, and since most of this was about the bootcamp episode, here’s my shout from he rooftops rant about fitness and moms: YOU HAVE YOUR BODY BACK - it hasn’t gone anywhere. It may feel like it’s not yours because there’s a baby clinging to you 24/7 and your boobs are being torn to shreds with breastfeeding and you feel gross yet also powerful and amazing at the same time and nothing fits right and it’s all just really weird. BUT it’s YOUR body and it will feel more and more like your body as you and your baby grow. I wanted my old pant size back and had a temper tantrum getting ready for church one day because i had no clothes that fit and i cried and it was awful, but the bootcamp did nothing to help that because it was only focused on how my body could look - there was nothing about building your confidence and being happy with the skin you’re in. Your body created a life and it’s kept you alive this far despite the world’s best efforts - especially the last two years - so your body is freakin’ amazing. You are freakin’ amazing. If what you want is confidence and a sense of self - start with therapy. Seriously. Once you get your mind right, then start getting out for walks, runs, join the Y or a gym that offers childcare and get out there. But don’t fall for this bullshit that puts you in a position of comparing yourself to others in order to keep you paying the membership fees, and creating a false sense of sisterhood that you will lose the second you prove yourself “undesirable” to the group because of your postpartum or life struggles.
You are not alone. Your body is freakin slammin’ and you will find yourself again. It just takes work and filtering out the noise that social media makes so much louder. You’ve got this and there are a ton of women out here cheering you on. If you ever need a pep talk, a rant, whatever, please feel free to message me and i will be your cheerleader. I know this motherhood stuff is not easy. But you’re doing great.
Thanks for following me down this wild rabbit hole today, I hope you all liked it. Moving forward this season I’m going to dive into more topics that affect moms like this, including how we are protrayed in the media, etc.
Thanks as always for listening and for showing up every day for yourself and your families. Have a great week, and remember to just say no to MLMs.
For more info about Good Moms Have Bad Days, visit www.goodmomshavebaddays.com and follow me on Instagram @goodmomshavebaddays and email thoughts, suggestions for future episodes or questions to email@example.com. If you or someone you know is in crisis, text HOME to 741741 to reach the crisis text line or text the Postpartum Support Internarional helpline ‘HELP’ to 1800-944-4773 or call and leave a message and a trained volunteer will return your message shortly. You can also access more resources through PSI www.postpartum.net
Black (and BIPOC) moms matter and resources to learn more
Here are the resources mentioned during this week’s podcast episode, including a link to the recordings from the Black Maternal Mental Health Summit from PSI Georgia. If you have any questions, please reach out!
Link to PSI Ga BMMH Summit recording: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf_X7PF8KC0fEEU0wTWgNl3ffbecBPKBV
And here’s a link to all of the post-conference resources: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Lcp8J9HPROzPhj8UYi5AXAs78J2NgSg8/view
Working Moms Against Guilt: https://www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com
Path Forward : https://www.pathforward.org/
*WombWisdom podcast : https://soundcloud.com/wombwisdompod
Jameelah Nelson MD: https://drjameelahnd.com/
**We live for the We (Book) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G7537TW?ref=KC_GS_GB_US
Grady Trauma Project: https://www.gradytraumaproject.com/
Mothering while black : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MPQ3FMF?ref=KC_GS_GB_US
Expectful App : https://expectful.com/
**Irth App: https://irthapp.com/
National Black Doula Association: https://www.blackdoulas.org/
Black Womens health Imperative : https://bwhi.org/
Black Mamas Matter Alliance: https://blackmamasmatter.org/
Shades of blue project : https://www.shadesofblueproject.org/
Postpartum support International : postpartum.net
**Reproductive Justice: An Introduction - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XB7Z8ST?ref=KC_GS_GB_US
**Killing the Black Body: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IBZ5ZME?ref=KC_GS_GB_US
**Reproductive Injustice: https://www.amazon.com/Reproductive-Injustice-Pregnancy-Premature-Anthropologies-ebook/dp/B07JK5GK5V/ref=sr_1_1?crid=266D9606J60K4&keywords=reproductive+injustice&qid=1647350100&s=digital-text&sprefix=Reprodu%2Cdigital-text%2C68&sr=1-1
Good Moms Have Bad Days (and abortions)
Here are some resources for those seeking an abortion, those who are recovering from an abortion, and any other resources I could find/think of. Stay safe, be well, and be sure you’re registered to vote.
Here’s the New York Times article I referenced in the beginning: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/14/upshot/who-gets-abortions-in-america.html
Prochoice.org has a referral line and help line
Post-abortion support group through PSI: https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/psi-online-support-meetings/#toggle-id-27
As always, if you or someone you love is in crisis, you can text the National Crisis Text Line ‘HOME’ to 741741
For non-emergency help and resources, reach out to Postpartum Support International at 1-800-944-4773 or text ‘HELP’ to 800-944-4773
You can also call the National Maternal Mental Health HOTLINE (For emergencies and non) at 1-833-943-5746
If you have questions, concerns, need someone to vent to or want to share your story on the podcast, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on Instagram @goodmomshavebaddays
To follow Torrey, see her on Instagram @troublesomegirlstudios for all her amazing mothering stories and insanely amazing pins, prints and other goodies.