Motherhood is super trendy right now. Baby-bumps are fashionable, as are the actual infants, slung across people’s fronts (or backs or sides – how versatile) in vivid print carriers, with their accompanying Prada diaper bags.
On TV, solemn-eyed mother-actresses with self-satisfied smirks are proclaiming the need to purchase various goods and services for the safety or educational prowess of their imaginary children. The commercials usually start with her staring directly into my soul and saying, “As a mom, I want the best for my children…” followed by the earnest entreaty to buy their new whole grain, antibacterial, organic, ultra absorbent, digital whatever, now with aloe.
I have a couple of problems with this. First of all, if she’s about to talk about “her children,” she doesn’t really have to say she’s a mom. Sure, there’s a possibility someone will think she’s a teacher without that precursor, but most of us are going to get that she is meant to represent a mother. We know she’s not a real mom, because she’s impeccably groomed, her house is spotless, her floors are covered in flawless white carpeting and she is clearly wearing a bra, even though she’s at home.
The “as a mom” is meant to build a fake connection with real moms, who have actual houses that may or may not contain furniture with dried macaroni stuck to it. We’re supposed to look at her, and think, “oh, she’s just like me!” Or worse, “oh, she’s a better mom than me.” Tell me more, super-mom!
Secondly, wanting “the best for my children” is not a ground breaking concept. Biologically speaking, we are driven to provide the best we possibly can for our children. What she’s saying, is: “You probably didn’t realize it, but you are currently providing less-than-the-best for your children, and many of you are providing the worst for your children.”
This is designed to manipulate real moms into believing whatever we are doing “as a mom” is not going to be as good as what she is doing, and we’d better step up our game or end up with toddlers who can’t even read French yet, for heaven’s sake.
I don’t think I’d mind these tactics as much if they were actually selling something helpful:
As a mom, I want to know what my kid is screaming about all the time…
As a mom, I want to sleep…
As a mom, I want to know how not to throw up when I smell my kid’s throw-up…
But instead of solving problems, these commercials usually suggest new problems we haven’t yet figured out we need to feel freaked out or insecure about. As a mom, I want to protect my child from carrot poisoning… I want to keep my toddler from feeling insecure about her fashion sense… I want my to teach my baby to read in-utero.
As a mom, I’m tired of this crap.