Labour day / wedding day?

Whenever I’ve settled myself, in a semi reclined position, toddler sleeping, with a fashion magazine and a glass of something delicious (which isn’t very often, lets be honest given the amount of dishes and laundry and other mundane household tasks that are created by one adult, one toddler, another adult that eats like a todder and a very sheddy dog), my husband invariably makes a disgusted snort-like sound and wants to know why I spent $5 on that when its “just advertising.”

I dunno…because I still think that maybe, someday in the future I will get to wear a fabric that isn’t cotton?

Advertising is pervasive for sure…and yeah, 75% of the magazine is actually adds and of the other 25%, most of the editorial content is just adds disguised as “reporting.”  But Dwell is advertising too but he doesn’t snort with quite the same amount of derision when he comes across that one…

I digress…if you can digress before you even start.

Advertising works well when you can create an emotional need or attachment to the product…and were is that more true than with weddings…and babies.  The wedding industry is a massive juggernaut that is perfectly designed to convince you to buy all kinds of things you never knew you needed and never pictured having at your wedding and certainly didn’t budget for…and yet now you can’t possibly live with out them.

The baby industry is the same.  All you have to do is browse a few baby sites and look at the must have lists put forth by experts, the endless posts on message boards about nursery decor…or just browse some baby registries on Target and Babies R Us.  It’s crazy people.

We like to criticize people for thinking about the wedding day more than the marriage…and up until I was walking home today in the sunshine with my child from daycare, I applied the same reasoning to the inordinate amount of focus I felt that people were putting on the day of the baby’s birth, as opposed to all those years of parenting and worry to come.  And, yeah, there is some truth to that, especially with some ideas…like if you don’t have a natural unmedicated birth you won’t bond (gasp, the horror to realize that you’ve given birth to a hybrid duckling-human that won’t imprint because you’ve messed with its sense of smell…or whatever).  But it struck me, that for most women, not the NCB true-believers, but you know, us average, moderate, women, the day of birth is well…kind of frightening, full of unknowns, and doesn’t come with a guaranteed champagne toast and rocking party afterwards.  It has the potential for real trauma and real heartache and I don’t think that’s been entirely forgotten.  For those of us that are privileged to witness it or help women and their families through it, we also know it can result in emotional and physical trauma.

So I think I have to forgive pregnant women for focusing on the day of the birth.  After all, that day can have significant negative consequences, unlike the trauma of a wedding gone wrong which usually, eventually, becomes a funny story ingrained in family mythology.  Plus, marriage is hard while baby care would be a piece of complete cake if it wasn’t for the sleep deprivation mixed with conflicting advice mixed with exhortations from complete strangers to do things the most difficult and self-sacrificing way possible…oh, and lets not forget to mix in joys of recovering from the physical manifestations of birth.

Happy Friday everyone from TAM who is currently:

a) a ripe looking target for every marketer shilling maternity and baby gear

and

b) refusing to buy anything in order to maybe, someday (in 5 years?) afford a home with a third bedroom.

😉

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9 comments

  1. Congratulations! 🙂

  2. Congrats TAM and family! The thing is, as a second time mom with toddler in tow you are FAR too busy to actually be susceptible to such marketing….

  3. Congrats! The second time goes around so much faster! I saved all my baby gear so we didn’t even have to buy anything at all, it was kind of boring actually. We had three boys to start out so I didn’t even have to get any clothing. With my youngest who was a girl we actually got rid of things like the baby swing because we had so little room for all the fussy “must haves”. It was fun hitting up the thrift stores for girly baby clothing, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

  4. It is terrifying. And I think that’s what most of the NCB garbage is about. If you pretend it isn’t terrifying and you pretend that wishful thinking will make it magic and perfect, then maybe it will be perfect and wonderful and amazing. And how romantic is that?! But it doesn’t hold water (heh) and it puts women and their children in danger. It’s the same with so much other pseudoscience health garbage. Cancer is scary. But see? If you just do this super secret diet, everything will be okay! It’s a beautiful, dangerous lie.

  5. supermouse · · Reply

    Congratulations! My two are twins, so at least since they came, I’ve felt that anything that made life easier was a good thing. And still is. (They are 4.5 now) Don’t make anything harder than it needs to be. I don’t know what it is like to go from one to two, but I do know that though you can’t give 100% attention to two (or more) children at the same time, there is always enough love for all of the children.

  6. Don’t tell anybody I said this, but shopping is at least 50% the fun of having a new baby. I once blogged something like, “How wrong would it be to have another baby just in order to get a really nice stroller?” (Some years later, I got a new baby and a ruby red Bumbleride Indie at roughly the same time. I love them both SO MUCH.)

    http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12763980

    The way I deal with commercial cravings for the new baby is to 1) “shop” by putting stuff in my Amazon cart and then leaving it there until a) I don’t want it anymore or b) the money appears to buy it 2) putting a little money away every month for the big items (like the Bumbleride) 3) sight-seeing walks at the mall (we have a strip mall with something like 4 stores dedicated to kids’ clothing 4) opening up boxes of old stuff. I’m doing #4 right now, and it’s pretty neat to open up these time capsules of old baby clothes and see what cool stuff my 2003 and 2005 self sent me.

    I have over 100 items in my Amazon cart, which just goes to show how good I’ve gotten at delayed gratification.

    1. supermouse · · Reply

      Hahahaha! That’s awesome. I deal with the commercial cravings by buying stuff for other people’s babies. I was so excited when my sister and a good friend both had babies recently…one a boy and the other a girl. I had to restrain myself in the baby clothes section of the dept store. And boy is my basement cleared out…my sister had the boy, and she will never need to go clothes shopping for him, as we have barely needed to for my boys…the gift and hand-me-down cycle continues. I still find it very peaceful to walk the aisles of Babies R Us, even though there will be no more babies for me.

    2. The problem is that Amazon sends you “reminder” emails about stuff you’ve left in your cart…and those TOTALLY work on me. I’m so susceptible…sigh.

  7. mamaellie · · Reply

    Congrats! We are converting our dining room into a nursery and playroom for the babies right now. I found that my older kids were okay with sharing until they turned 8. It seems that 8 is the magical year when mine really need their own space.
    I am more nervous about birth these days. My brief time as a high risk pregnancy led me to admit to myself that my body is imperfect and things could go wrong.
    Of course everything went just fine and most likely they will for you too. Feel free to obsess about it anyway, and good luck on the big day!

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