As young girls, our mothers play a significant role in teaching us what it means to be women. This includes our relationships with ourselves, with others, and most importantly with our bodies. When you’re impressionable, you’ll take in everything you witness from them: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The hashtag #almondmom has done significant numbers on TikTok, going viral as girls around the world bond over realizing the unhealthy habits they unknowingly downloaded from their mothers. While the internet has found the ability the joke and make memes from the phenomenon, the term stems from something much more serious and potentially harmful.

What Is an Almond Mom?

Almond moms refer to mothers whose parenting styles include restricting their kid’s diets, policing their bodies and upholding a tight regime surrounding food. Varying from culture to culture, this parenting style may be employed in an effort to control their child’s weight or simply a projection of their own internalized body dysmorphia. Typically, almond mom parenting is an extension of the mother’s own eating disorder and can harmfully impact their child’s own self image and inner dialogue,

The term has gone viral thanks to some resurfaced clips of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Yolanda Hadid talking to her then-teenage model daughter, Gigi Hadid. After she shared with her mother that she was feeling hungry and weak Hadid’s diet-culture-drenched reply was: “Have a couple of almonds and chew them really well.”

Almond moms are a product of a harmful diet culture. While the younger generation is growing up in a digital age that does its best to centralize body positivity and celebrate varying shapes and sizes, older generations were not surrounded by that same dialogue. Thus, many of our mothers may be carrying antiquated belief systems surrounding beauty within them, unconsciously forwarding the trauma.

It’s important to note that almond moms may take on a few forms, including moms who focus on their child’s body and food habits and moms who unconsciously promote diet culture through their habits. Parental modeling of disordered eating can also impact children, as this one self-aware mother on TikTok reflects.

Signs of an Almond Mom

While there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, it’s essential to hold those around you accountable and instill proper boundaries to protect your mental health. You may have been parented by an almond mom if any of the following ring true to your upbringing: 

  • Your weight was discussed from a young age
  • You were introduced to a scale early on
  • Food shaming was common, being made aware of which foods were “good” or “bad”
  • You’ve struggled with disordered eating
  • You were told to “walk it off” after eating or restrict meals before big holiday dinners
  • You watched your mother overexercise, undereat, or criticize her own body

Karla Lester, MD, a pediatrician who posts on TikTok as @imecommunity, shares that almond moms fall on a spectrum. “It’s been going on for a long time, rooted in diet culture, internalized bias, fatphobia, projection of fear, pursuit of thin privilege and not health.” Rather than villainizing our mothers, however, it’s important to remember that they are victims of these systems and may be painfully unaware not only of the harm they’re imposing but the harm they’re suffering as well.

All in All

Ultimately, the lesson here is simple: don’t be an almond mom. And if you’ve been a victim to almond mom parenting, do your best to undo any rhetoric that’s led to having an unhealthy relationship with food through therapy. Maintain your boundaries around your body and remain rooted in the truth that your body deserves proper nourishment and is beautiful as is.