Mom-of-five Constance Hall posted a cute photo of her daughter sat in a shopping trolley full of food. It wasn’t the child who trolls focused, though, but the shopping. Hall, however, would not be shamed by these keyboard-warriors and decided to hit back.
Hall is a 34-year-old mother and blogger from Perth in Australia. She started out by writing a blog called The Not So Secret Life of Us. And she now has a quarter-of-a-million followers on Instagram, a group of eager fans who the blogger refers to as “Queens.”
Her Instagram account is full of pictures of her family, which is so big that she calls it a tribe. Hall has four children – Billie Violet, Arlo, and twins Snow and Rumi – from her previous marriage with Bill Mahon. Her blog posts have been open about the negativity in their relationship. Common subjects have included her battles with anxiety and the times that she and Bill were unfaithful.
Bill Mahon is no longer in Hall’s life, however, and she now raises her children with Denim Cooke. Her new fiancé has two sons from a previous marriage, bringing their family total to six children. And with the announcement that Hall was pregnant again, they would soon have a grand total of seven kids to care for.
Yet despite being a seasoned mother with a large number of children to care for, Hall’s parenting skills came into question when trolls attacked her over a photo. The image in question featured her daughter Snow, who had accompanied Hall on her stock-up shop after a holiday.
Hall hoped that the image would show the difficulties of shopping with small children, but instead she came under fire. Hall captioned the image, “Me: going to Woolies, got a lot to buy so no kids are coming. Snow: Cool story.” Many fans immediately saw the humorous side of the image, with one Shae O’Flaherty writing, “She thought you said ‘Snow kids are coming’ – sorry #mumjoke.”
In stark contrast, however, several people chose to ignore what was intended to be a funny and sweet post about her daughter. Instead, they chose to zoom in on the picture and examine the contents of the shopping cart.
And the keyboard-warriors went on try to shame Hall by criticizing the shopping choices that she’d made, claiming that the contents of the cart were all unhealthy. These negative posts were subsequently deleted by Hall for obvious reasons. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Hall then hit back with her own comments to defend herself and other mothers in the same boat. She wrote, “The bananas, celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, mandarins, and apples aren’t visible in this picture – [I] wasn’t thinking about trolley angles. I also buy a lot of fruit from the markets and Denim’s mum is bringing us fresh fruit from her trees today. Should I post the receipt?”
It wasn’t just her food choices that trolls picked up on, though, but also the placement and packing of her cart. Some were apparently upset by the mother daring to put the bread at the bottom of her groceries. One user, Kalashia Parke, even went so far as to write, “Your trolley packing has me cringing.”
After other posters went on to make disparaging comments about the loaf, some of Hall’s readers decided to defend the blogger. Alicia Cambridge countered that “it’s not about your bread being at the bottom of the trolley, that’s where it always goes because they put the bakery at the entrance.”
And Hall’s fans didn’t only defend her squashed bread, but also her supposedly “unhealthy” groceries. Taren McGrath wrote, “Con has eggs, yogurt, bread, butter, milk, Weetabix and rice bubbles, with a treat of what looks like some pancakes and dips, and noodles for a quick easy dinner. It’s not like it’s full of chips, chocolate, lollies, frozen [fries], pizzas, and fruit loops. Calm down guys it looks healthier than my food shopping.”
Anna Debenham and Alex Parker, dieticians from healthy eating blog The Biting Truth, also defended the contents of the cart when they spoke to lifestyle website Mamamia. “As far as we can see from this image, there are a bunch of really healthy staples in the shopping trolley that should form part of every diet – eggs, bread, yogurt, milk, and Weetabix,” Debenham said.
And, unfortunately, this is not the first time Hall has been viewed negatively for what she feeds her children. She was previously “lunchbox-shamed” by her son Arlo’s primary school teacher, when Arlo was banned from drinking his carton of chocolate milk during recess.
Moreover, Hall is not the only mother to be on the receiving end of criticism regarding her parenting abilities. Singer Kelly Clarkson was also attacked when she treated her two-year-old daughter, River, to Nutella on toast. One troll even stooped so low as to claim that this may amount to abusive treatment of the child.
As with Hall, however, Clarkson soon had mothers jumping to her defense. One Instagram user wrote, “River is cute. Some people are just hypocrites. I’ve had people tell me not to give my child junk food when they, in fact, take their kids to Donut King and McDonald’s. People should take a look in the mirror and get off their high horse.”
Even pop queen Beyoncé has been at the center of some mom-shaming. In August 2017 she posted a photo on Instagram of her enjoying a glass of wine. She was consequently attacked by people concerned about the effect of this on her breastfeeding. Again, fans rushed to support her, with one replying, “I breastfed my daughter, it’s safe to have a couple of drinks.”
Although it is clear that mothers being shamed often have plenty of people to defend them, it can still be intimidating. The University of Michigan conducted a survey on this subject and found that 42 percent of women felt that criticism made them question their abilities as a mother.
The survey also showed that stars and bloggers online are not the only targets of such criticism. It revealed that out of the 475 moms interviewed, two-thirds said that they had been mom-shamed.
Constance Hall continues to be outspoken on the subject. She recently wrote about what she perceived to be a double standard regarding how mothers and fathers are viewed. Hall claimed, “Yesterday I was trolley shamed for feeding my kids 2 minute noodles. Denim gets called ‘hot’ for doing the grocery run with a kid in tow, despite literally only buying meat and milk.”