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Moms, Quit Trying to Sell Each Other Stuff

Girlfriends trying hat and laughing in fashion shop
Photograph by Getty Images

True confession time: If I get invited to one more Stella & Dot party, I might scream.

I completely understand needing a flexible way to earn money as a mom, but there has got to be something better than this new wave of Tupperware-style pyramid schemes. I don’t need a bunch of overpriced jewelry, essential oils or body wraps—I need friends who aren’t trying to sell me stuff.

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It’s hard to forge a real connection with someone who's trying to recruit you. You meet a new mom at the park and she seems so nice. You’re totally excited about setting up another time to meet, until she suggests that the meeting involves you inviting all of your closest friends over for a trunk show. Or your old friend from high school reaches out—and while I’m sure they are genuinely interested in catching up—the conversation quickly turns to how they make so much money as an Arbonne ambassador.

A party is a great time to vent and laugh and catch up. If that party includes an informational presentation and shopping with a hard obligation to buy, it’s no longer a party.

Social media simply amplifies the problem: Facebook invites appear regularly; your favorite blogger now posts twice a week about the amazing healing powers of essential oil; and your old friend’s Instagram that used to be full of smiling kids is now full of before-and-after shots. Since the main goal is to sign up other people to sell, the market is dwindling and the invites are growing exponentially.

I absolutely love getting together with my friends to drink a little wine and eat a little cheese. A party is a great time to vent and laugh and catch up. If that party includes an informational presentation and shopping with a hard obligation to buy, it’s no longer a party. I refuse to ask my friends to attend a party where shopping is required. I want my friends to know that I care more about our connection than scoring a free hostess gift. And to my friends that sell, I totally want to help them out, but it will have to be in some other capacity. I don’t have the time or energy to throw a pseudo party and I don’t have the cash to buy what they're selling.

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This multilevel marketing is preying on women who are desperate to earn money and stay home with their kids. But it’s causing them to alienate their friends—the same women who want to help but are often in a similar situation, needing their expendable income for more pressing items than bangles and cellulite cream. So, let’s stop marketing to each other, and find a better way to earn income and a better way to support one another.

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