Over the years, I’ve realised so many of the perceptions and beliefs we have about motherhood are heavily influenced by our popular culture which is founded on the media and advertising.This is the inspiration behind my blog!
MUMmedia about learning to filter through all the conflicting advice and strong opinions to forge our own identity as mums. Its about discovering what it means to be a good mum when we are surrounded and bombarded with false and misleading messages and influences.
My perception of motherhood and parenting has come full circle as I prepare for my fourth child. When I was pregnant with my first child, we lived interstate away from family and had a small network of friends most of whom didn’t have kids. I didn’t have much experience or knowledge to base my expectations of motherhood on and so I sought out information the only way I knew how.
I read every pregnancy and baby magazine and numerous books that looked ‘popular’. I allowed myself to base many of my ideas of motherhood on what I saw on TV, what I read in magazines and in books because I just didn’t know where else to look.
As a result, I only dressed my newborn in designer labels, used a popular brand of disposable nappies and forced him to watch educational DVD’s before he could hold his head up. I thought I was doing the right thing. In hindsight, that had little to do with being a good mum as they were merely product choices. Somehow, I had attached the use of those products with my worth and value as a mum. This is a great example of how marketing and advertising works. It’s not just about communication, it’s often manipulative, misleading and in some cases, unethical. We become attached to products as if they have meaning and define who we are and most of the time, we are unaware this is happening.
Through the culture of advertising we are taught to place a greater value on what we HAVE rather than who we ARE.
We cannot allow our popular culture to define good parenting because it doesn’t have our best interests at heart. It is founded on industry, on business, on profit which is perpetuated through the media, marketing and advertising. If we want to learn to base our value as a mum on something deeper than we need to turn away from the influence of popular culture.
Parenting isn’t a one size fits all approach and sometimes we need to swim against the mainstream to find what’s right for our families.
I would much rather go against the flow doing what I believe to be right than get swept along for the ride and then wonder how I got there.