Motherhood in America Is a Multilevel Marketing Scheme

Stay-at-home moms can’t hold this pyramid up much longer

Meg Conley
GEN
Published in
6 min readDec 7, 2020

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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

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.”

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Meg Conley
GEN
Writer for

✒️Women’s work, economic justice and the home. Work in Slate, GEN, Medium + my newsletter, homeculture. Subscribe at megconley.com