Becoming a mother for the first time brings a whole new world of experiences, emotions and topics of conversation never before uttered or even considered (has your son had any solid induced poo’s yet? springs to mind). I kind of expected that to happen. What I didn’t expect however, was the way previously innocuous ads and images, on TV, in magazines, on terrifyingly huge poster boards in the supermarket, would now speak to me, usually conveying messages about my own mothering abilities or lack there of.
I have become silently fascinated as to the uncanny ability of the mums (and dads) in these images to look so damn good while going about their everyday, parenting business. How has the Mum in the Huggies ad never copped a face full of wee while changing a nappy? And where are the suspicious stains on the hands of the kid playing with the dog in the Aptamil ad? I’m sure there’s a deeper message at play here (‘if you buy me you’ll look/feel/be this good a parent’ is the logical one) but I can’t get past the superficial. Although I’m reasonably confident that I’m doing an ok job as a mum (sometimes), there’s still a selection of ‘ad mums’ that always manage to make me green with envy, snort with laughter or stamp my foot and mutter; ‘Why the bloody hell can’t I do that?’ These are my favourites.
The mum on every box of nursing pads
Before I progress, let me say, I’m all for the boob (and the bottle. Hell, I’m 100% pro mum’s feeding their babies upside down with a sippy cup strapped to their foot if that’s how they want to roll), I’m just insanely jealous as the women look so damn serene and really rather perfect while feeding. Me while feeding my baby? Not so much. Is there anyone else who has vivid mental images of themselves with one enormously engorged left breast hanging out of a stained Bonds maternity singlet, hair haphazardly brushed into so many steps beyond ‘messy up do’ that it doesn’t bear thinking about? Or of the gritted teeth as you attempt to force a nipple into the mouth of a hungry but distracted 6 month old who subsequently uses their brand-new toothy pegs to clamp down on the still tender skin of a nipple?
The mum successfully wearing a baby sling
I was convinced my baby had colic in the first few weeks of life and decided a sling would be a fantastic purchase to relieve his bellyache. I did not count on being completely and utterly inept when it came to placing said baby in the sling. I seemed to skip the part where I had a calm, contented cherub strapped to my chest and instead managed to find myself with a squirming, angry infant who flapped his arms and legs like a cornered pigeon being advanced upon with a broom (never experienced this? Count yourself lucky). Yes, it improved the colic, largely as my son was so furious with my attempts to constrain him in a fabric hammock that he was unable to focus on the trapped wind and instead concentrated on vocally voicing his displeasure.
The mum successfully running with her stroller
The word ‘successfully’ is key here. I like to imagine myself sprinting along boardwalks and jogging determinedly uphill, wearing something cute but sporty with just the right amount of wear that says ‘I do this all the time’. Clearly, I envisioned athletic ability to appear, along with my milk, after the birth. Sadly, it did not. The few times I have attempted to run with my Mountain Buggy have not been pleasant for anyone involved, including the baby, random people passing by and my husband who is subjected to my exhausted whining post run.
Naomi is a freelance writer, magazine gal and mum to baby Oliver and cats Oscar and Felix. A talented singer of nursery rhymes, bircher muesli devotee and lover of all things lipstick, she spends most of her time muddling her way through motherhood and blogging about the results (as well as other scintillating topics). You can follow her on twitter @NaomiCotterill or check at her (fledgling) blog at notjustamummy.com
What 'Ad mums' do you notice?