Photo credit: Cheryl Hines in “Suburgatory”
A warning to Kay Jewelers: My husband would have his butt kicked if he ever gave me jewelry for Mother’s Day. I’ve been anti-frivolous-gift ever since I grasped the whole “your money is my money” concept of marriage.
I can’t blame Kay for trying. Their commercial showcases a beautiful and serene mother sitting quietly in a chair as her loving family rushes in to present her with a shiny bauble. The husband has shaved. He’s wearing a clean shirt. The kids’ clothes actually match. The house is inhumanly clean.
Kay, you are full of crap. I get the idea that you are trying to represent an ideal and convince men that their wives will be blissful if they receive something from your Open Hearts collection.
Kay is not alone in their inaccurate portrayals of maternal life. Pretty much everything from Hollywood and Madison Avenue is quite excretory. Allow me to share some examples:
Every mom portrayed in commercials and television shows has beautiful hair. The hair is clean and shiny, the style is perfect, and beautiful bangs swoop gently over the face.
In real life, most women look like this only a few times a year. This coincides with when we actually have time to hit the salon. For the most part, we’re lucky if we can wash it a few times a week, and the hairstyle can best be described as “there.” Forget the beautiful swoop. Real moms know you can’t see a stinking thing with hair in your eyes. We rely on the headband, clip or immortal scrunchy to keep it out of the face.
I’m 43, and I still have yet to master the application of liquid foundation. My eyeliner always bleeds within a few hours, no concealer makes me look “untired,” and I use the tiny brush that comes with my square of Maybelline blush.
I am a troll next to media moms. Of course, they can look flawless because they have professional make-up artists who airbrush their faces and do touch ups every 15 minutes. They also benefit from gifted camera men, lighting artists and Photoshop. If I had that benefit, I’d be taking the whole tech crew with me when I went grocery shopping. I would look totally HOT loading mega rolls of toilet paper into my cart.
Media moms have a stylist who picks out their clothes. They benefit from the latest styles that are custom-fit, coordinated and clean.
A real mom’s stylist is usually another mom in the Target dressing room who says, “That looks really cute on you.” We don’t spend $200 on a pair of jeans. (See the prior note about “your money is my money.”) Most moms I know wear t-shirts, yoga pants and tennis shoes on a frequent basis – a fashion trend you never see on television. Our kids think we’re dressed up when we put on a sweater and khakis.
Have you ever noticed that media moms cut a lot of vegetables? Every time a woman is in the kitchen, she’s cutting carrots, tomatoes or something green during the entire scene. Media families must eat a lot of salads. They must also be talented chefs because they can make chicken covered in cream of mushroom soup look like it came out of a gourmet restaurant.
Sadly, I don’t cook like that. I’m not saying that I can’t cook. Some of my stuff is actually pretty tasty; however, a camera crew would be horrified if they came into my kitchen. Most of my vegetables come pre-cut and frozen. My chicken covered in cream of mushroom soup looks like a white heap of meat covered by a white heap of soup. After 15 years of marriage, most of my dinner plates have chips. We drink out of plastic sports-themed cups because I’m tired of cleaning up broken glasses.
Media moms benefit from having their children via casting call. Real moms get pregnant or jump through thousands of hoops to adopt. Media moms’ children are always model-perfect and camera ready. Real moms have kids with self-done haircuts, scraped up knees, braces and mismatched clothes. Media moms’ children always behave and have great one-liners. Real moms yell at their kids at Wal-Mart and lock themselves in the bathroom to have 10 minutes of peace. Forget witty one-liners. We just want our kids to say more than two words about their day at school.
A Look at Real Motherhood
Media moms sometimes hit the mark. Look at Debra Barone from “Everyone Loves Raymond.” Her kids were normal kids, she kept a normal house, and her husband was much funnier than a normal husband. I also loved Leigh Anne Tuohy from “The Blind Side.” Sandra Bullock portrayed her just like the real-life Leigh Anne – the Mama Bear who fights for her cubs. (Granted, Leigh Anne does have a rather awesome house and wardrobe, but let’s not lose the main idea, folks.)
The fact is that real motherhood can never be captured with a camera. Real motherhood is the calm that replaces the gag reflex when your baby pukes curdled milk all over your clean shirt. It’s the anger and hurt you feel when some punk 8-year-old knocks your son off his bike. It’s the willingness to drop everything and learn to sew because your daughter needs a poodle skirt tomorrow morning.
It’s the love that means you would literally sacrifice yourself for the little people God entrusted to your care, no matter how old those little people are.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the real mamas.