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Sara Petersen

In this Art of Sway episode, host Danielle Wiley and guest Sara Petersen examine the evolution of mom blogging and its fascinating evolution into today’s ‘momfluencer’ culture. Get ready for a vibrant discussion that digs into motherhood’s portrayal online, the nuances between ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ influencers (starting with the crushing societal expectations!), and the varying needs of content consumption at different maternal phases.

Sara offers a unique perspective on the allure and challenges of motherhood, exploring the evolving journey of being a mom and the saturation point of maternal roles. She also helps shed light on why the narrative surrounding motherhood is so entrenched in our culture — and how modern influencers are both reinforcing and challenging these norms.

Tune in for a refreshing, thought-provoking conversation that explores the cultural dynamics of influence, especially in the parenting realm. Be on the lookout for:

  • The much-needed cultural shifts in how we think about children’s privacy online
  • Beyond social trends, the importance and necessity of online spaces for parents to find community & support
  • The massive differences between how fatherhood and motherhood is mythologized
  • How marginalized groups have an even stronger need for validation and community
  • Why Sara’s favorite podcast is called “Poog”

About our guest: Sara Petersen is the author of Momfluenced: Inside the Maddening, Picture-perfect World of Mommy Influencer Culture. She’s written about motherhood and feminism for The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, The Washington Post, and more, and she also writes the newsletter In Pursuit of Clean Countertops, where she explores the cult of ideal motherhood.

Episode 44: Sara Petersen

Danielle Wiley: Welcome to The Art of Sway, the podcast that uncovers the power of influence and its impact on all areas of our lives. I’m your host, Danielle Wiley. Each week we’ll explore the many facets of influence through candid conversations with industry insiders from brand marketers to social workers, educators, leaders and more. Let’s dive in. Sara Peterson is the author of Momfluenced: Inside the Maddening Picture-Perfect World of Mommy Influencer Culture. She’s written about motherhood and feminism for The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, The Washington Post and elsewhere. She also writes the newsletter In Pursuit of Clean Countertops, where she explores the cult of ideal motherhood.

She lives in New Hampshire. My influencer marketing agency Sway Group was built on an initial roster of high-profile mom bloggers, so I am especially passionate about this topic. The industry has changed dramatically since then, so it was especially interesting to chat with Sara about this. I love the fact that she analyzes this industry through such an academic and philosophical lens. I felt smarter after talking to her and hope you all enjoy listening to this chat. Well, hi, and welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited to have you on and have this discussion.

Sara Petersen: I’m excited too. Thanks for having me.

Danielle Wiley: Great. I have so many questions I have to ask you, and I keep coming up with more. I listened to your interview with the ladies on Lean In Podcast yesterday during my walk, and that was super interesting. Then someone sent me a link to, I guess, there was some coverage of… I forget what offensive term they used about sharing, just mom influencers over sharing. I’m using their quotes-

Sara Petersen: Oh, sharenting, maybe? Sharenting-

Danielle Wiley: Sharenting, yeah.

Sara Petersen: Sharenting, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: … on Weekend Edition. That was a whole disturbing segment for a number of reasons, but I’m getting ahead of myself. So we should set the stage. So you, of course, are Sara Peterson, and you recently just published a book called Momfluenced. You also have a very awesome newsletter called In Pursuit of Clean Countertops. Would love to just hear about your journey to expert and chronicler on all things moms and influence and hear how you came to be so interested in this topic.

Sara Petersen: Yeah. So I didn’t start writing professionally until after I had kids, and even when I started, it was very much just me looking for some creative release. I just had lots of thoughts and feelings about motherhood. I had lots of identity issues when I became a mom, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that motherhood as it’s constructed in this country is a scam. So yeah, I started my career writing about motherhood and feminism, really started focusing on momfluencers as a way, again, to understand my own big thoughts and feelings. I first started following Naomi Davis who had a blog called Love Taza and was really entranced by her performance of a type of motherhood that was very fun, very colorful, very vibrant, seemed very easy, seemed as though it came “naturally” to her, big air quotes with naturally.

Yet, she personified the type of mother that I thought I would be before having kids. I started consuming her content probably when I had a newborn and a toddler. By that point, I knew that mothering is labor and that motherhood is something else. I still found myself caught up in these feelings of inadequacy, and I really wanted to figure out, are other people feeling like this, even if they, quote, unquote, “know better?” What does it say about our maternal ideals that we keep wanting to consume this same rosy tinted image of motherhood while structurally we don’t support mothers in this country? So yeah, that’s I guess, a long-winded way of saying how I got here.

Danielle Wiley: When was this? When did you have your kids?

Sara Petersen: So my first kid was born in 2012, but I don’t think I-

Danielle Wiley: Okay.

Sara Petersen: … discovered Taza and others until 2015, 2014, somewhere around then.

Danielle Wiley: Yeah, it’s so interesting to me because I got into the whole mom blogging space in the early 2000s. So my daughter was born in 2001, and that was all message boards actually, that was pre-blog. Then my son was born in 2005, which is when I started my blog and started reading all of these mom blogs, and it was the total opposite for me. It was just all I was feeling like completely overwhelmed and exhausted and filthy and not on top of anything and questioning my identity and, “What the hell am I doing?” I remember my sister-in-law saying she called my mother-in-law crying like, “Is she ever going to be the same again?”

Sara Petersen: Yeah. Yeah.

Danielle Wiley: “What happened to…” Right? It’s so hard. Then I found these women who were sharing the same feelings and going through the same stuff, and still sometimes recommending a product because they would-

Sara Petersen: Sure.

Danielle Wiley: … find something that helped out or you’d see them use something and it looked cute or it looked helpful and you would ask. But for me, it’s so sad that it has turned in this way, ’cause for me, it was a lifeline and a community, and it’s people I still… Like our writer at Sway Group, my agency, her son was born a month after mine, and I found her through blogging. I am still in touch with a lot of these women, and it feels a little bit weird to say ’cause I feel like my company is part of the problem because we help monetize. We help these women monetize what they’re doing. I have so many complicated feelings about it ’cause why should we not be able to monetize-

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: … this thing?

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: Yet at the same time, as soon as money gets involved, things get icky and weird and performative.

Sara Petersen: Yep.

Danielle Wiley: All this to say that it’s just, it’s a bummer that some of that community has been lost along the way.

Sara Petersen: Yeah. Well, and even, first of all, I wish so badly that I had known about those early bloggers when I was going through postpartum depression and that crisis of identity because without a doubt, they would’ve been lifesaving for me. But even the monetization model in those early days felt much less psychologically complicated. Like attaching a banner ad that somebody else made, you didn’t have to storyboard the idea. You didn’t have to insert your identity in really meaningful ways into the ad. It was completely its own thing. I feel like that made it just simpler in terms of the monetization aspect.

Danielle Wiley: Yeah. That’s how it started, but even with that, I was at the first Blogher where they introduced banner ads and it was very controversial. There was screaming and there was crying, and there was shouting across the room and people taking sides.

Sara Petersen: Wow.

Danielle Wiley: They set up a meeting to talk about they were launching this banner ad service and there was hecklers. It was a thing, and that was just for these simple banner ads which-

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: Right? You’re looking back on it, and it was like, this simple [inaudible]

Sara Petersen: It seems nice.

Danielle Wiley: … easy way to monetize, right? So I was working at an agency at the time, and for us, we were like, “Okay, well, these banner ads, if that maybe actually feels a little bit gross and it feels like NASCAR and you’re plastering these ads on everything, and these women have such beautiful voices and they’re telling these great stories, if there is a product that they use or something that they feel strongly about, why not take advantage of the fact that they can speak about it in that way?”

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: So it’s so funny looking at everything in hindsight, right?

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: It wasn’t supposed to be fake and gross. It was started-

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: … to be real.

Sara Petersen: Well, the problem with the whole genuine sponsored content thing is that there are only so many products any you or I could genuinely enthusiastically endorse.

Danielle Wiley: Right.

Sara Petersen: You couldn’t make a living on authentic product wrecks. You know what I mean? Because you’re going to run out. I don’t know, it seems like at some point you’re just going to have to be like, “Yeah, this diaper bag looks fine. Yeah, sure. I’ll write about it.”

Danielle Wiley: Yeah, I think you go beyond women as just moms though, too. It doesn’t have to be just parenting content, right?

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: It could be the eyeglasses that you buy or where you’re going to grab a snack or all of that stuff, which presumably you-

Sara Petersen: Totally. Totally.

Danielle Wiley: … wouldn’t run out of, but it should be even FTC guidelines speaking like you’re not supposed to be writing sponsored content about something that you don’t actually like and use and can recommend. I don’t know how many-

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: … people follow that.

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: We can usually tell when they’re not and we can-

Sara Petersen: Totally. Yeah.

Danielle Wiley: … pull it back [inaudible]

Sara Petersen: Yeah. Totally.

Danielle Wiley: So I got ahead of myself. So you and I met because you were writing an article shortly after the death of Heather Armstrong just sharing her importance in the industry. I gave you some quotes, and I think probably over… I pulled up that email yesterday ’cause I was trying to find something in there that I had said to you in prepping for this, and I wrote you a novel. I had thoughts and feelings and nostalgia.

Sara Petersen: Yeah.

Danielle Wiley: So I had wanted to ask you how things have changed, and I think we’ve gone over that, but that was one of the other questions I have. This is what came up on that NPR piece that came out recently. I think it was on Weekend Edition, a reporter for Weekend Edition tracked down Heather’s daughter at college and reached out to her to get quotes, and it was unclear, I do think this-

Sara Petersen: Oh, boy.

Danielle Wiley: … happened prior to Heather’s death-

Sara Petersen: Okay.

Danielle Wiley: … but it’s still gross in a number of ways, especially since the segment came out after she died. But I feel like that whole new term of sharenting and this looking back now as some of these kids are older and trying to psychoanalyze what happened to them, and I don’t know. I’m curious to know your feelings on it. I wonder if some of it’s not generational because there was actually an article in Romper, I don’t know if you saw that, interviewing a lot of the now grown kids of those first mom bloggers. Most of them are great, and love that their moms did that and support it and appreciate being able to go back and get this insight into how their mom was feeling and read about them as a real person and know that they had this outlet and a community. I think maybe because that all came pre super monetization, they didn’t feel like they were pawns in this monetization-

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: … scheme. It was they were just a character in their mom’s really interesting real life story.

Sara Petersen: Well, and correct me if I’m wrong because you have more familiarity with those early bloggers, but to me, they always seemed as primarily concerned with excavating maternal identity. It didn’t feel like people were gravitating toward their content because, “Oh, I want to find out what happening with baby Susie.” They wanted to know what was going on with the writer. In researching the book and conceptualizing the book, I purposely didn’t devote a ton of attention to the role of children, because as a writer, I’m primarily interested in maternal identity and issues of maternal identity. This isn’t to say that children are not a part of that because, of course, we’re writing about our lives as mothers, and they are what made us mothers.

Danielle Wiley: They’re why we’re mothers. Yeah.

Sara Petersen: Right, but there’s so many ways to write about motherhood without divulging really intimate details about your kids’ lives and identities. That always struck me as what drew readers to those early writers.

Danielle Wiley: They weren’t sharing stuff that… sure, you’d share if I don’t know the kid wasn’t sleeping-

Sara Petersen: The newborn poop explosion.

Danielle Wiley: Right. Right.

Sara Petersen: Yes, exactly.

Danielle Wiley: But I remember working on Goodnites, which are the diapers for older kids who wet the bed, and we couldn’t find anyone. Actually, now we can find tons of people who have no problem writing about that. Those go up to kids age 12, so it’s definitely-

Sara Petersen: Oh, wow.

Danielle Wiley: … sensitive. But back then, I remember sitting in conference rooms at the agency I was at like, “How are we going to find…” We ended up just hiring a doctor who was a mom who could speak about it-

Sara Petersen: Oh, there you go.

Danielle Wiley: … from that perspective, and then we had an anonymous message board. So there was a lot of sensitivity about sharing something that would be-

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: … considered uncomfortable.

Sara Petersen: Right, or it’s something intrinsic to the child’s identity and the child’s story-

Danielle Wiley: Right.

Sara Petersen: … versus, “I as a mother am really struggling with sleeplessness and mental health issues or whatever,” and that really doesn’t have to do with the kids’ identity.

Danielle Wiley: Right. Right. I guess there’s just so much money in it, so now they are sharing… there’s kid influence. We’ve worked with influencers-

Sara Petersen: Right.

Danielle Wiley: … as young as four, which I have all sorts of feelings-

Sara Petersen: Oh, my gosh.

Danielle Wiley: … about, and the kids are like characters now more. There’s more video. It’s not simply prose-

Sara Petersen: Like YouTube-

Danielle Wiley: Yeah, like-

Sara Petersen: … I feel.

Danielle Wiley: … when it started, it was 800 words and then a couple of really shitty photos.

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: It was hard for a kid to become a true own character in that… Right. Right.

Sara Petersen: Or persona, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: So I think that’s changed, and I see some of it extending itself even into people who aren’t influencers. I have a young niece who’s two-and-a-half, and my sister-in-law is a millennial, and I am not allowed to show photos of that toddler on my Instagram, on my Face… I’m like, “Who’s on my Facebook? It’s like people I went to high school with, what are you afraid is going to happen?” But there’s almost this backlash against sharing anything, which I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s generational or just because of how that whole industry has put a fog, a dark cloud over that.

Sara Petersen: Yeah, I think it’s probably both, because when Instagram first started, if we’re thinking about Instagram’s role in all of this, nobody was talking about this. Nobody was thinking about this. We were all posting photos of our kids and our babies. We were like newborn users of this app. Now you’re talking about your sister-in-law, you said?

Danielle Wiley: Yeah. Yeah, my brother’s wife.

Sara Petersen: Right. So she is a new mom, but Instagram is not new. She has seen the highs and lows of what sharing on Instagram can look like and feel like even as a private user, I’m sure, because we all have. I think that’s a piece of it. I do think with the rise of child influencers, there’s been much-needed cultural shifts in how we think about children’s privacy, in how we think about children participating at all in social media, which we know is an addictive thing.

Danielle Wiley: Right.

Sara Petersen: So I do think it makes sense that we’re seeing those behavioral shifts, given how much more we know that we didn’t know then.

Danielle Wiley: It’s just frustrating to me ’cause she’s so cute, and I wanted to show all my friends.

Sara Petersen: Totally. Totally. I know.

Danielle Wiley: So one of the things that’s really interesting, so I have a 21-year-old daughter now who’s almost 22, and she’s obsessed with moms, mom content on TikTok. Some of it’s just because she studies childhood development and she’s a counselor for babies in the summer. She just loves babies, but she’s upset just always showing me TikToks of cute babies and toddlers and what they’re dressing and what they’re wearing and what the mom’s doing and all of that stuff. But one of the things that I’ve noticed in seeing these TikToks that she sends me, it is a lot more raw and unfiltered than Instagram has been. I’m excited to see that authenticity come back. I’m just curious to know what you think about that.

Sara Petersen: Yeah, I would totally agree that it is much less aesthetically driven, it doesn’t have to be as rehearsed. I spoke to Laura Danger, she’s huge on TikTok. She’s also big on Instagram, but she’s massive on TikTok, and she likes the symbiotic nature of TikTok. She can just rattle a thought off really quickly, and then based on the feedback she gets mold the conversation accordingly. That’s not really how Instagram works. It’s like you really got to think it through. You have a very tight video limit, and all you’re going to get is comments. You can’t then create new content based on that. You could, but it would not have that conversational tone. I also feel like mostly anecdotally, because I’m not on TikTok, that people go to TikTok mom influencers more for either there’s the morning routine videos, which feels like almost ASMR or something, or it’s like, “I have a neurodivergent kid, and I want some really specific learning style techniques or whatever to help with homework.” It’s way less like, “I want to scroll mindlessly through pretty mommies in their pretty houses.” It feels more like a solution to a problem often.

Danielle Wiley: Right. Right, which is what we were all looking for when we first started doing this back in the early 2000s. What about community? Where are moms going now for a sense of… we used to meet people in the comment section.

Sara Petersen: Yeah.

Danielle Wiley: Is that even happening anymore that you’ve seen?

Sara Petersen: Yeah. Yeah, I interviewed lots of people for the book who have created internet communities on Instagram specifically, particularly in marginalized spaces, particularly helpful when folks can’t, for example, access an IRL support system. So yeah, I think there’s still room for that, but you could also forge communities via a newsletter or via a Patreon connected to your podcast. I don’t think we’re reliant on any one social media app for online communities. I think there’s lots of ways we can go about it, but I do definitely think they serve a need that mothers will continue to feel.

Danielle Wiley: Yeah, I’m feeling hopeful too, that threads will make it a little bit easier for some of that community to… I’m just thinking back to I was on a message board for Women Do in November of 2001 and still talk to some-

Sara Petersen: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: … of those women today.

Sara Petersen: Yep.

Danielle Wiley: I don’t know, that kind of real discussions back and forth was so helpful to me. I just would like to see more of it.

Sara Petersen: Even the specificity, there is something about a specific niche.

Danielle Wiley: Yeah. Yeah. I guess you gravitate to it. Even the blogs that I loved, they all had boys born within this two to three month period when my son was born. It’s interesting, you’re all going through the same-

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: … thing at the same time.

Sara Petersen: Yep.

Danielle Wiley: So what’s your takeaway? Do you think is it all doom and gloom?

Sara Petersen: No, no. Like what we were just talking about, the importance and necessity of online spaces for people to find community, find validation, find resources, I don’t think that’s going anywhere, particularly for mothers who I can’t say often enough are so structurally unsupported in this country. We’re given so few resources that we need to find these spaces and we need… I think where I want to push the conversation is that, yes, we need these online spaces, but we also need people in our real communities dropping off meals, holding the baby so you can sleep and there needs to be both/and. I think I interviewed, who was it? Who brought this up? Oh, it was Pooja Lakshmin.

She wrote to Real Self-Care, and she was talking about how internet communities can be a really great place to maybe pinpoint something and then bring it into your real life. Say you think you might be experiencing postpartum depression, for example. Maybe you find an internet community that’s really specializing in that, and you read other people’s experiences and then you say to yourself, “Oh, yeah, this does feel like me.” Then maybe you bring that information to your friends that you see in real life, and you look for support through them. Then you call your doctor and see if you can get hooked up with a mental health counselor. I think we always need to push what we find on social media into concrete either actions or shifts in our real lives so it’s not just reading a comment and being like, “Oh, been there. I feel momentarily better.”

Danielle Wiley: Right. Right.

Sara Petersen: That can only go so far.

Danielle Wiley: Back when this all started, live gatherings and conferences were a much bigger thing. We would all get together a couple of times a year and turn those online relationships into tangible, real in person.

Sara Petersen: Yeah.

Danielle Wiley: I sound like I’m 85 years old having this conversation. I hope-

Sara Petersen: No, you don’t.

Danielle Wiley: … those young whippersnappers are still meeting up.

Sara Petersen: No, no, totally. I’ve made so many internet writer friends, just again, a geographical necessity, I live New Hampshire. When we do meet in real life, it’s such a beautiful thing. It does feel like it makes it real in a way.

Danielle Wiley: Obviously, my big issues now are, well, they are kind of parenting. I’m in all these Facebook groups now for… I’m literally in one for parents of kids who are going to be living in the same dorm that my son is moving into next month. Talk about-

Sara Petersen: Oh, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: … getting super specific, but making-

Sara Petersen: Granular, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: … making actual connections. I met a woman whose daughter is on his same floor of the same dorm, and we have three people in common.

Sara Petersen: Oh, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: She works for a guy who I went to junior high school with, and we’re going to see each other next month. There’s still this place for these actual personal connections, and I’ve been craving more of those lately. I created a whole Slack channel for women who want to build up their audience on LinkedIn, and I definitely consider some of them friends now. I only met them a couple of months ago, and we’re just Slacking with each other. But I think-

Sara Petersen: Right. Totally.

Danielle Wiley: … I don’t know. I think that need for connection will always see its way through.

Sara Petersen: Yeah, no, totally. The dorm example is, that’s so… because yes, it starts online, but then you have that peace of mind of, “Knowing there are real people that I’m connected to that feels…” Yeah, I bet that feels good.

Danielle Wiley: My son’s horrified. He’s like, “So-

Sara Petersen: I’m sure.

Danielle Wiley: … are you going to see her? And what are you doing? Why are you talking to that lady?”

Sara Petersen: Oh, it’s so good.

Danielle Wiley: Yeah. Yeah. So is there anything that you’re super excited about that’s happening now in the mom influencer space?

Sara Petersen: Really, I’m experiencing a little momfluencer fatigue.

Danielle Wiley: Probably.

Sara Petersen: I’m also at just a space in terms of my own motherhood journey, to sound like a bachelor contestant where I’m less… I have two elementary school kids and a four-year-old, and I’m just not craving that, “What does motherhood look and feel like? What does it mean?” I am just not in that same thirsty space. I don’t know. I feel like there’s a saturation point with that constant interrogation of the maternal role in your own life where you just want to be like, “Okay, I’m just me. I’m just me,” and like, … yeah.

Danielle Wiley: Well, I feel like it’s cyclical, I think. I think there’s that huge craving when they’re babies and toddlers because you’re just so upside down and topsy… everything’s being overwhelmed and then you get into the flow. Then I think at the stage I’m in where they’re suddenly leaving, and then once again, you have… I see a lot of the women that I was blogging with are starting brand new newsletters about this new stage in life and connecting in other ways. I don’t know, everything’s cyclical, I guess, but I think you’re in that like, “Okay, you got it.”

Sara Petersen: Right, “I got it for now. Then they’ll become teenagers-

Danielle Wiley: Right.

Sara Petersen: … and I’ll be drowning again-

Danielle Wiley: Right. Right.

Sara Petersen: … and I’ll totally meet it again.” No, yeah, I think that’s totally right. You go through stages where the maternal identity just feels like everything. But yeah, I’m just like, “I’m not there right this second, so I’m kind of enjoying it.”

Danielle Wiley: Yeah. What do you think of dad influencers? Did they come up?

Sara Petersen: I just like, yes, they exist, but the role of father is not nearly as freighted as the role of mother, both in culture and also just in terms of a nationalistic sense. The mythology of the ideal mother is baked into our national identity in really concrete, meaningful ways. Fatherhood is just not at all the same in terms of mythic proportion, and it’s not a multi-billion dollar industry-

Danielle Wiley: Right.

Sara Petersen: … and there’s a reason for that. It’s because mothers still control, I think it’s upwards of 85% of household spending. That again, is because we have culturally constructed this role of mother as the person who should be in charge of everything domestic. This is all a result of hundreds of years of explicit cultural conditioning. Until we explicitly train ourselves out of that, raise kids to think about gender roles within the home, and until we have generations of more equitable domestic partnerships, I think that will continue.

Danielle Wiley: It’s interesting talking talking to brands about it, ’cause, well, it happens less now, but we would often get brands who would want a dad blogger or a dad influencer because they want to reach other dads. We’d have to explain, “It’s not dads who are reading. Does your husband read this stuff?” “No, no, mine’s on ESPN or reading The Atlantic. He doesn’t want to read about some other dude’s kids.” There’s just not that connection there. If you want to reach thirsty moms who think that dad is super sexy for taking care of all the shit in the house, that’s who you’re going to reach-

Sara Petersen: Right. Right.

Danielle Wiley: … with the dad blogger?

Sara Petersen: Yeah, or if you want to reach progressive moms who want to think that the brand is-

Danielle Wiley: Right. Right.

Sara Petersen: … progressive and invested in equity within the home, but yeah, again, most dads have not been trained as consumers from birth to be consuming stuff.

Danielle Wiley: I think the exception is same-sex couples.

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: We have some awesome dad stuff, but again, there’s that need for community, and there hasn’t been a ton of narrative about that historically. They’re creating this and showing how they’re incorporating division of duties and parenting into their lives, there’s more of a need for it.

Sara Petersen: Even I think any marginalized group is going to have a stronger need for this type of thing. Even if mothers are consuming mom influencer content, not because they want to shop, but because they want to feel less alone as moms, that’s the entry point to sell them stuff. Whereas, dads have less reason, generally speaking, of course, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, they have less of a need for validation, for community, because they are not burdened with as much care work and as much domestic labor as moms are.

Danielle Wiley: Oh, it’s a lot.

Sara Petersen: It is.

Danielle Wiley: I can see why you need-

Sara Petersen: I know.

Danielle Wiley: … a little bit of a break. No, I-

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: This season we’ve been ending all of our episodes with the same question, and that is, what is the last thing that you were personally influenced to buy, watch, read, or listen to?

Sara Petersen: Okay. This is good. I like this question. I’m really thinking, ’cause obviously there are things. I don’t think this was necessarily the most recent, but it’s the first thing I can come up with. So I’m obsessed with the podcast Poog. It’s hosted by two comedians, Jacqueline Novak and Kate Berlant.

Danielle Wiley: Is it P-O-O-G?

Sara Petersen: Yeah.

Danielle Wiley: Okay.

Sara Petersen: It’s supposed to be a take, it’s Goop spelled backwards.

Danielle Wiley: Got it, got it, got it. Oh, now I get the whole thing. Okay.

Sara Petersen: But yeah, she was raving about Momofuku, the spice mix.

Danielle Wiley: Okay.

Sara Petersen: She was talking about it on one of her salads, and I bought it, and I fucking love it.

Danielle Wiley: This is the second day in a row we’ve had… yesterday, I interviewed someone and she recommended this spicy, one of the chili crisps varieties, but it’s a garlicy one that she’s literally eating three meals a day and got all of her local stores to carry it and-

Sara Petersen: Whoa.

Danielle Wiley: … has taken over her life. So this is a spicy week here-

Sara Petersen: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Danielle Wiley: … on ou podcast.

Sara Petersen: Totally.

Danielle Wiley: Okay. I think my daughter loves all the Momofuku stuff.

Sara Petersen: It’s pretty subtle.

Danielle Wiley: Okay.

Sara Petersen: I would not characterize it as spicy, but it gives a little acid, a little, I don’t know, a little zest, a little warmth. There’s some umami stuff happening.

Danielle Wiley: Got to love the umami.

Sara Petersen: It’s delightful. It just makes-

Danielle Wiley: Wonderful.

Sara Petersen: … everything taste better.

Danielle Wiley: Well, this was great. Thank you so much for coming on and letting me once again indulge on my nostalgic feelings and passions and this, it’s great having someone to talk about this stuff with who understands it. I thank you.

Sara Petersen: Thank you so much.

Danielle Wiley: Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. Please check back next Monday for a new episode featuring candid conversations that explore the power of influence. I am your host, Danielle Wiley, and this is The Art of Sway.