I'm a Social Media Influencer — But I Don't Allow My Kids to Have Social Media

I started blogging the same year blogging became an option. (Yes, I realize that makes me old.) In the years that followed, social media was popularized, and I slowly joined almost every platform. I didn’t set out to become an influencer. Instead, the title fell into my lap.

Despite how popular mommy influencers are, I’m not that type of influencer. I focus on breast cancer advocacy, as well as being in a multiracial family by adoption, living with type 1 diabetes, and whatever else I feel like. Yes, I am a Jill-of-All-Trades.


A post shared by Rachel Garlinghouse: adoption🤎🤍breast cancer🎀 (@whitesugarbrownsugar)

I have a strong affinity for social media. It’s allowed me to connect with women around the world, share my views, and educate my followers on topics that are dear to me. This isn’t my only gig, as I’m also a freelance writer, own an Etsy shop, and am a speaker and book author.

There’s some serious criticism, trolling, and straight-up hatred thrown my way. Most of my haters are white males who disagree with my politics — ahem, advocacy for women, children, the disabled, and people of color. Even though I don’t respond to commenters, let me indulge you in some of the horrible things people have said to me.

One man said he hopes I get cancer again and die. Another called my children a racist name. One of our family photos was stolen (one I didn’t ever share publicly) and featured in a racist YouTube video. I had a woman message me with a photo of me that she had edited — to look like I had makeup on — in which she made me “look better.” (It was a photo from when I was in active chemotherapy treatment.)

I had a handful of people claim I plagiarized parts of one of my books — with zero evidence — with the goal of decreasing my sales. (I, in fact, had permission from every expert I’d quoted or paraphrased — in writing.) Another person persistently insisted that I was secretly Chinese, but I wouldn’t admit it. (DNA ethnicity testing says otherwise, but OK — and anyway, why does that even matter?) I had another poster leave a comment that she didn’t like my tan lines. Of all things to complain about!

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