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