Over the years, I’ve discovered so many of the perceptions and beliefs we have about motherhood and parenting are influenced by the media and advertising.
I wasn’t always aware though.
When I was pregnant with my first child I didn’t know where to look for information. I found myself purchasing pregnancy and baby magazines. These were full of cute babies, attractive mothers and articles about weight loss, how to dress your baby and set up a nursery.
Like any expectant mother, I was determined to give my baby the best start to life. I became obsessed with creating the ‘perfect’ nursery truly believing that this extravagance would be a reflection of the love I had for my child. He would have to know how much I loved him if I spared no expense when it came to designer labels and overpriced furniture right?
When my firstborn son entered the world I admit that I actually cried when I had to resort to a cheaper brand of nappies. I felt like I was letting my son down. I wasn’t giving him the best and he deserved the best.
My son was always dressed in labels as a baby and owned numerous pairs of completely impractical but oh so adorable shoes. I forced him to watch educational DVD’s and read books about Disney and the Wiggles before he could hold his head up. I also attended a course on ‘teaching your baby to read’. I wanted him to have it all!
And then I had my second child…..
As I gained more confidence in my parenting, I began to question why on earth I felt that products were reflective of my ability as a mother. I wasn’t a bad mother because my second born child only wore wondersuits. I also knew the pram I pushed didn’t make me superior. The notion was ridiculous but the feelings I had were genuine and real.
The reality is that no-one truly believes they are influenced by advertising – which is exactly why it works!
The media and advertising don’t only influence our product choices. They influence how we think, feel and what we value as parents. We are most sensitive when we are expecting our first child and advertisers love to exploit this vulnerability. They try to sell us a picture of motherhood in order to sell us products. But, more about that later.
A good mother isn’t reflected in how we look, how our children look or what we own and yet that is just one of the lies we have been taught to believe through advertising. These messages are often misleading and contradictory, encouraging us to doubt ourselves and our worth.
So this is how MUMmedia was born….out of a desire to encourage other parents to not become cynical but aware of how our popular culture (founded on media and advertising) impacts our parenting. Through this we can re-gain confidence and be empowered to find our own unique parenting style even when it goes against the flow.