Here’s something I’ve noticed at Mom Blogger events: to most PR companies, “Mom” means “mother of a baby.” At most Mom-Blog events, all of the products are geared towards babies. It was such a relief at Blissdom this past weekend, to see Unilever there with a campaign geared toward tweens – Don’t Fret the Sweat. It was a deodorant campaign, true. Not exactly sexy, but at least it acknowledged that not all moms have babies. My kids are loooong out of diapers, and I’m still a mother. Really, I am.
It’s odd that this “all moms are baby-moms” thing bothers me, given that it also bothers me that companies pigeon-hole me as a Mommy Blogger in the first place, even though I almost never write about my kids. I think it’s because assuming that every mom in the universe needs a diaper bag demeans all mothers. Let me explain.
How many of you stay at home Moms with school age children have been asked “What do you do all day?” As if, once your children are gone from the house for a few hours a day, you’re home free. Well, I’ll tell you what we do all day: a lot. We keep the house in order, we do the grocery shopping, we get the kids to school, and to their dance classes, and basketball games, and playdates, and piano lessons. Then we get them home and feed them dinner (that we cooked) and help them with their homework. We wait for the plumber. We do the laundry. We remember to send Grandma a birthday card. We volunteer at school. Oh, and a lot of us also write blogs, keep up with friends online and through Twitter, and manage relationships with brands and sponsors to bring in a little extra cash.
That’s what we do all day.
But somehow, the world has once again conspired to minimize what we do. When your children are diaper-aged, they patronize you by assuming that all you are is a bottle feeding, diaper changing, spit-up stained cliche. But at least they recognize you, that you’re doing something. The world at large knows (or at least thinks they know) who you are. And then, when your children are at school, they suddenly assume you are….what? Not a mother anymore? Just some person filling up their days with talk shows, lunches and vacuum cleaners? It’s as if, once the baby stage is over, they have no idea what to make of us. As if being a mother to babies was the sole defining aspect of our identities, and once those babies are grown, we no longer exist. I don’t like either side: being solely defined by my motherhood, or having motherhood – an essential part of my identity – discounted.
Motherhood is motherhood at any stage.
And if that’s not enough of a reason for PR companies and marketers to think twice about me, how about this: the tween market is huge. Look at this from MSN:
Twenty million strong nationwide, tweens — kids ages 8 to 14 (…) — now flex $43 billion worth of annual spending power,
So even if you think that moms of school aged kids sit around and eat bon bons all day, you should also know that we have access to those coveted Tweens. That those tweens are still young enough to care what we have to say. And that all of those tweens have parents who care what we have to say, too.
Motherhood is hard enough – just read this post – without feeling like you have to defend it simply because your children have grown up a little. What would you rather? That we kill off our young and make new babies every two years, just so you know how to categorize us? We are no less mothers than women who have young babies. (who, by the way, will also grow into school aged children. Go figure.) Once a mother, always a mother. And motherhood no more defines a woman when her children are babies than it does when they are adults.
I am woman. I am writer. I am blogger. Sister. Daughter. Wife. Business Woman. Friend. And yes, mother.
I will not be categorized or pigeon holed. Get used to it.