Picture this scene:
A woman with messy hair and no make-up, picking up toys off of the floor. In the next moment, she has one hand on her phone, checking work emails and with her other hand she’s trying to put her shoes on to go to work. She’s hopping around on one foot, clearly frazzled and shouting expletives as she tries to keep from falling on her face. Too busy to sit down and eat breakfast, she grabs a bottle of Organic Balance, breakfast in a bottle and chugs it on the bus on her way to work.
When I first watched this commercial, a part of me totally resonated with the message. I’ve been that busy, overwhelmed, frantic mom. For a long time, my mornings as a mom were filled with a mad dash from my yoga mat to the kitchen to the bedroom to the bathroom, while dragging a resistant toddler along for the ride so she could get fed, dressed, and out the door to school. After which, I’d race back home to tie up any loose ends before heading out the door again to get to work.
After watching it a second time, however, I got a little angry.
The commercial makes the assertion that not only is this normal behavior for working moms, but totally acceptable behavior.
Pretty quickly, one of the moms in the commercial says, “According to science, most professional women don’t have time for any of that.”
What science are they referring to?
Seems like a bit of a vague statement with little legitimate scientific data to support it. The commercial does mention surveys of women who think “dry shampoo is one of the best inventions ever (9% of women)” orwho are among the “21% of women check their email before they get out of bed.” What they don’t mention is that they conducted the survey themselves from a pool of 1000 women to promote their product. You can take the surveyyourself, if you want a free Organic Balance Protein Breakfast Shake. You can see the results, too.
The questions themselves are worded in a way that presumes most women are stressed out in the morning. The survey assumes that most women would rather sacrifice exercising in the morning for a few more minutes of sleep. Or that most moms are so frantic in the morning that they would rather slurp down breakfast on the train or in the car, if even making time for breakfast at all.
And the bigger question is, “Why is that ok? Why does it have to be this way?” Why do we continue to glorify the busy mom syndrome? Not only glorify, but accept it as truth and perpetuate it?”
I hated the feeling of racing around like a maniac, feeling like I was constantly behind schedule, and wearing myself out in the process before my workday even started.
So I decided to make a few small changes. I made the conscious decision to plan ahead a little bit more, so that instead of not knowing what we were having for breakfast or lunch, I had a meal schedule. I do most of my food prep for the week on Sunday morning so I don’t have to get everything together for every meal. I go to bed a little bit earlier and wake up a little earlier, too, so I have time to get on my yoga mat and move my body. This keeps me happy, sane, and physically healthy. I intentionally do not check my email or facebook before dropping my daughter off at school. It distracts me and always slows me down when I’m trying to get out of the house efficiently.
Small actions. Big difference in the stress level of my mornings.
There are other parts of the commercial that don’t upset me as much. A mom covering up a stain on her shirt with her scarf is something I have totally done. Or actually, that’s not entirely true. Stains on my clothes don’t bother me, too much. I’m a mom. Life is messy. Sometimes the mess gets on me. I don’t always love it, but I’ll live.
What also annoyed me about the commercial is the assumption that the ability to create time to do morning yoga or to eat healthier breakfasts or to engage in any self-care practices are unrealistic luxuries, unavailable to “real” women, especially moms. Essentially they’re suggesting that actions or habits of a healthy lifestyle are less likely and perhaps even less ideal than unhealthy, stressful behavior or habits. “Hey mamas, just give in to the crazy and be ok with it,” seems to be the message of the commercial. What if the message was, “hey mamas life can be crazy but it doesn’t have to be and here’s how we can shift that paradigm.”
That would be much more interesting, but it wouldn’t help sell breakfast in a bottle, probably.
Make no mistake, this is a commercial and they aren’t just commiserating with the busy moms of the world through this commercial. They’re selling you something. And it’s not just breakfast in a bottle.
This is exactly why I created my Conscious Healthy Mama program. I want to clear up the misconception that if you are a mom, you should expect to be so stressed and so busy that you don’t have time to actually sit down and eat your breakfast, but instead have to drink it in the car.
Or that you are too busy to actually take good care of yourself.
I want moms to realize that there is another option. And it doesn’t necessarily involve extra tiny spoons or journaling nooks or the perfect pinterest board life.
I recently wrote about Radical Acts of Motherhood. Fighting the pervasive notion that busy-ness is not only a necessary evil of motherhood, but a badge of honor if you’re a “real” mom, is a radical act.
Choosing to push back against the status quo of motherhood and the status symbol of busy-ness is a powerful, radical, life-changing act.
If you’re tired of living this myth and perpetuating commercials that PANDER to moms like this one, check out my Conscious Healthy Mama programs. Or just don’t buy Organic Balance. Or don’t buy into the anti-mom propaganda that commercials like this churn out to keep you purchasing their products, as well as their expectations of motherhood.
Better yet, create your own morning routines that have nothing to do with what ANYONE expects of you. Take the power away from advertisers, surveys, “science”, and culture. Create a revolution by doing what supports YOU.