Listen up advertisers, when I gave birth to my daughter, I didn’t suddenly lose my entire identity and become a slave to cartoons. She might call me ‘Mummy’ but other people call me things too (some good, some not so good!) so why the heck do you think that putting some mummy looking stick figures or using the phrase ‘for mummies’ is going to make me want to buy your business products or that it is the only phrase I identify with? It’s not original, in fact, to be honest, it’s just lazy. You’re trying to use my emotional connection with my child to make me want to buy from you by using a trigger phrase, it’s buyer psychology 101.
Being a mum is amazing, it really is but I get so mad when I see it being used to market business products that it makes me want to click my ‘angry face’ emoticon, particularly on Facebook.
I know I might get lynched here or upset a few people, particularly those who use the tactic as a marketing ploy but really, can we not raise the bar just a tad?!
When we give birth to our children, we do not also give birth to our mind, our identity or our soul and accidentally lose it in those first whirlwind days of living with postnatal baby brain.
In fact, we become super sleuths capable of running a business with one hand and feeding the baby with the other, all the while with one eye on the loving family pet who is far too interested in the visitors to behave properly and the other on that oh so cold cup of coffee that we have been craving and trying to drink for the last 6 hours.
We still enjoy witty conversation, the adrenalin of not only achieving our goals but smashing them out of the water and do secretly under those oh so comfy jumpers still have a brain that has not turned to mush from listening to the theme tune from ‘In The Night Garden’.
It frustrates me that in today’s society when we have books like Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg, actively promoting that women step up to the table and actually sit at it that we are surrounded by this mindless ‘mummy’ perception which is being used to advertise business products and services.
If I wanted to buy mummy stuff, then I would head to The Early Learning Centre or buy a parenting book, not a business service. What kind of example are we setting our daughters with this ‘for mummies’ style advertising in business? Are we teaching them to grow up and be strong and mighty if they want to be or are we just reinforcing the stereotype that after a woman has a baby that they are good for nothing more than being known as a mum?
Wake up ladies, this isn’t the 1950’s!
Sure, more women are going on to start up businesses post child birth and thanks to technology the barrier of accessability is being lifted all the time but can we just agree to give them back their dignity and just stop this ‘for mummies’ rubbish, or better yet stop trying to sell business products featuring curly haired stick women in a dress that actively promotes this stereotype?
My daughter turns 10 in a few weeks and I have fought on not just my, but also her behalf to stand up to repression of our rights as women in business and this type of advertising really makes my blood boil. I want my daughter to grow up and feel that it is ok for her to have a child if she wants and to go back to her career, or to start a business and to work at it in the same way a man does, I want her to sit at that table and take part not hide behind the fact she might have a child or feel unworthy.
I want her to know that if she needs to get a sitter to go to a meeting, that it is OK. To know, that if she has to work late or make sacrifices that she is within her rights to do so, not to feel like she has to conform to forever being represented as a sketchy stick figure in a dress who is really just mummy who plays at business, because that is what this type of advertising makes it look like.
I want her to know that if she chooses to have a child, that she can still be taken seriously and people don’t just think she is playing at it or gave birth to her brain along the way and needs to take a remedial class.
So come on ladies, can we stop this uncool ‘mummy’ advertising and just say what we mean. Yes, those kids are pretty darn important in our lives (understatement!), we didn’t go through all that pain for them to just be a supporting character in our life stories damn it but we didn’t stop those stories either and write ‘The End’, the moment they were born.
As Mums, we need to stick together. We know that it can be hard to get childcare when they are little (or even big!) and that when you’re running a business you need flexibility. Hell, we all do regardless of if you have a child, gender or age, it’s how we create balance in our lives but can we just stop peddling this uncool ‘mummy’ marketing and promoting stereotypes from the 1950’s, please!!
Let’s empower our children to go into business with an open heart and passion regardless of gender and teach them that childbirth doesn’t suddenly mean that one of you needs to lose your identity as you become parents. Let’s teach them about the importance of work-life balance across all ages, genders and life choices.
And don’t even get me started on the phrase ‘mumpreneur’!