What Pisses Me Off: Advertising on a day meant to honour mothers

At this time of year motherhood seems to disappear into a mass of pink fluffiness as we are bombarded with advertising for the day that it is set aside to honour mothers.

There are several things that irk me about this advertising.

Firstly: Why so many ads for pyjamas?

Memo to advertisers: mothers of any age do not spend a lot of time in pyjamas. They are too busy getting kids out the door, going off to work, doing duty in the school canteen, volunteering for a myriad of charities, keeping fit, gardening, looking after their grandchildren. When they get back home, they cook, they clean, they organise. They do not spend the day lounging round in pyjamas.

Apart from pyjamas chocolate and flowers seem the other fallback gifts. Chocolates are a dicey gift with so many of the population diabetic, swearing off sugar, or there are those, advertisers take note, who do not like chocolate. Flowers, I understand.

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And what other sort of gifts are there? If it’s books it seems to be the romance variety, or cook books. Where are the thrillers, the politics, the science fiction? If it’s music, it’s Andre Rieu or show tunes. Where’s the hard rock and jazz? Absolutely nothing wrong with the advertisers’ choices, but there are other things mums are interested in.

The advertisers’ “Mum” seems to be in her mid-30s having fun with her primary school age children. From teenage mums to 90-year-old mums, that leaves a lot of us out. Mothering doesn’t stop just because your children grow up. Where is the mum with the toddler having a melt-down, the mum with the petulant teenager, the mum with sick kids, the sick mum, the estranged mum, the exhausted mum?

I can’t find several mums I know. Mums who are caring for the children’s families as the provider of child care, the mums who drive long distances for sporting opportunities and doctors visits because they live in the bush, the business mum who spends time interstate, the policy makers, the political mums, the mums who juggle several low paying jobs, the doctors and nurses, our shift working mums, the mums who bring home essays to mark?

And what are you expected to pay to show your appreciation? A current ad on television has gifts ranging from $479 to $299! The pink catalogues show jewellery and perfume worth the weekly food budget.

Celebrate Mothers’ Day how you wish, but don’t be guided by the advertisers.


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