Blame it on the overabundance of TLC and Nick Jr. that always seem to be the narrative soundtrack undercutting the toddler noise in my house. Blame it on the fact that I’m a bit of a “crier” anyways, as my family, husband (God love him), and almost everyone I go to church with can attest. Or just blame it on the fact that with Jonathan traveling I am not sleeping as well and I become that much more of a crier when I’m tired. We could ever blame it on the fact that I’m possibly a bit unhinged by motherhood (as I think we all are, whether we want to admit it or not).
But these P&G “Thank you, Mom” commercials are killing me. I mean, it’s really, really bad. I’m talking every single time one of these suckers comes on and I’m just passing through on the way to go sweep up my fifth pile of cereal or bang my head against a wall or “whatever it is I do all day,” I find myself instead stopping, watching the full commercial, and welling up in tears by the end of it. Whahthecrap, P&G? Seriously!
I long ago overcame this notion that I have to build this incredible Me empire, and do things in my life that would culminate in the posthumous attachment of my name to an overpass or something like that. I mean, that’s great when people do achieve that, don’t get me wrong – I just don’t feel as much pressure in that regard these days. I definitely want to leave some sort of a “legacy,” but I’m really trying to do it in two particular ways: through my children, and through my writing. That is, if I ever finish an actual book. But the reason that all comes to mind is because of this idea that we all have to do something great, and the big question about what really is greatness? What really qualifies? Ultimately, I think we each have to decide that for ourselves.
Back in college, I used to serve as a counselor at a summer camp, and I remember thinking to myself that I was not very good at math and may only be a mediocre writer. I didn’t see myself ever being famous or particularly well known (or liked). But you know what? Seeing those girls smile, feeling ten little sets of arms wrap around me that last day of camp each year, and watching them all grow up (they’re all in college now) – that stuff mattered to me. And that was just what I got from one week out of the year. What would parenthood be like? I knew to expect something momentous, but that’s about all I knew to expect.
Through all the constant shifting between possible career paths, I always knew I wanted to have children and I wanted to really do a good job for them, to really be there and guide them. I wanted to accept them and teach them what real, true love is, and that despite this world being a sometimes ugly and nasty place, I would always be a place of safety and comfort for them. Is that a big goal, a huge aspiration? No, probably not to some people – and that’s fine. I understand. But for me, that’s always been a big goal. I feel like I’m on my way to accomplishing that.
In the case of these P&G commercials, I think a few things: For one, I think this is a brilliantly, flawlessly executed marketing campaign and I have to give credit where it is due. I may not purchase a lot of P&G products these days, but that’s really only because we’re trying to do more natural, chemical-free personal products and cleaning solutions. Before that change, I used a lot of P&G brands like Tide, Pantene, etc. So, to whoever came up with this in their marketing group or whomever they hired out to concoct this campaign, bravo to you. Well played. Now I just want to slap on a red, white, and blue track suit and go run around the neighborhood while chanting “USA! USA!”
Okay, not really – but you get what I mean. I’m definitely looking forward to watching the Olympics again this summer, and perhaps I will indeed pay a bit more attention to the mothers of the athletes, and not just the athletes themselves. Is that because of P&G’s brilliant marketing, or is it because I myself have become a mom since the last Olympics and that just sort of changes your wiring a bit? Could be a bit of both.
Anyhow, in case you haven’t had a good cry today, here’s you go. Let it out, man. Let it out. And yes, it’s the best job in the world.