Motherhood in America Is a Multilevel Marketing Scheme
It took me a full decade to realize I was part of a multilevel marketing scheme. I should have seen the signs: the business model was unclear, my participation was so costly I fell into debt, and when I needed help meeting quotas, I was forced to rely on family members and recruit other women. It didn’t feel like multilevel marketing (MLM) at first; I never had to sit in an arena and listen to Rachel Hollis tell me to clean my face. I wasn’t selling “butter-soft leggings” or shilling Amway — I was a part of Motherhood in America.
Motherhood in America is a scam. We’re told if we work hard enough, raise our children well, and faithfully support the American dream, then we’ll end up on top. No one ever mentions how the hierarchy of success is shaped like a pyramid. A few mothers get to the top. They give TED Talks and write self-help books. But mostly, we’re the cracking base of a condemned structure. America has never really cared about mothers. If I wasn’t certain of this before, 2020 has made it abundantly clear. The pandemic hit mothers the hardest, yet no one came to help us. Instead, we’ve been asked to dig deeper, push ourselves, and invest more of ourselves in this “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
These vague promises of untold prosperity are likely familiar to anyone who’s had a friend try to recruit them into an MLM scheme. As it happens, many of the MLM distributors who’ve pitched me in recent years are also moms. Many of them believed in what they were selling. Some of the products were even good. But independent distributors can only make meaningful money if they build a “downline,” an expanding, branching collection of people selling products beneath them. Many scrape by on the false hope they can work their way up the pyramid, but inevitably, they are weighed down by a system that’s rigged against them.
MLM schemes are a pyramid, not a pie. They don’t work if everyone is getting an equal piece.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for over a decade and spent much of that time fully bought into Motherhood in America. We’re susceptible to pyramid schemes because we’re…