WHAT IS A REAL MOM?

Friday, May 11, 2018


I often feel like I can't speak openly about a brand because I'm a blogger. And part of being a blogger means always being nice and (PR)friendly because yes, we want brands to like us. We want brands to want to work with us. Unless a brand really steps out and does something utterly insane, it’s usually better to just judge silently and say nothing, right?  Well guys, I am terrible at taking my own advice. Yesterday I did something I've never done before. I spoke publicly and negatively about a brand's campaign. In the interest of clarity and because I'm too tired to craft clever innuendo's, I'm just going to speak plainly. Baby Dove launched a campaign for Mothers Day that was centred around the concept of what makes a real mom, but also that we all need to do motherhood in our own way. I was a little confused…

Before I continue I really, really, REALLY want to make 2 things very clear:

1) I have nothing but the utmost respect and indeed, absolute love for all the bloggers that have worked on this campaign and my thoughts here and the thoughts I shared yesterday were not meant to bash anyone or make anyone feel attacked. I love you all dearly and your blogs literally give me life on a daily basis.

2) Dove is a brand that is completely entrenched in my life. Like, my whole life. From my kids, to me, to Regan. We all use and love Dove products. This commentary was not about Baby Dove or Dove at all, but rather about their campaign.

WHAT DOES BEING A REAL MOM MEAN? 


For most of this week, I have been seeing these posts from my fellow bloggers about what it means to be a real mom. And for most of this week, my eyes have been twitching at the idea. After all, being real or being authentic is only a concept because being inauthentic or fake exists. But how on God’s green earth could any women be a fake mother? As the week went on, I kept scrolling and I continued to see these posts. And each post left me feeling like I had to examine my own version of motherhood, naturally, I began to feel like maybe my own version of motherhood was somehow wrong or just different enough to not be considered “real”.


WHEN IN DOUBT, RANT


The thing about platforms like Twitter and Instagram is that most of us are there for a good time, not a long time and my engagement with the content I see usually starts and ends with the caption. I don’t want to visit a bio and click a link, because that’s not what I opened the app for. I came for scrolling and double tapping. So here I was, confused, annoyed and feeling like I was somehow “less than” my peers. I swallowed it and pushed through what turned out to be one of the hardest weeks of my life since becoming a mom. Yesterday I came home from work to two sick babies. Sophie was in a rotten mood. Grace was howling and clingy, I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch to digest some social media before getting started on supper and then I saw it. Another real mom post. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just could not leash my irritation for another second. And so I shared a story on Instagram about why this whole campaign is chaffing my chunkies. It’s still live if you want to jump on to my Instagram for context and a laugh at my naff hair you can do so here>

42 of the people that viewed my story, felt so strongly about it that they replied to me. This is some of what they told me:

  • YASSSSS queen! I feel exactly the same way. 
  • Nikki, I absolutely love this. So accurate. 
  • Thank you for speaking my mind. 
  • Nail on the head! This campaign has made me feel so guilty. 
  • Hell yes! What is a real mom, just being a mother is enough. 
  • Motherhood is damn hard, I hated feeling judged by women I looked up to. 
  • I am so angry about this campaign and I literally said this exact thing a few days ago. 
  • Preach! So with you Niks! 

So I wasn’t alone. Now for the saddest part of this entire thing:

EVERYTHING I WAS FEELING AND SAYING AND EVERYTHING THESE MOMS WERE FEELING AND TELLING ME WAS BASICALLY THE WHOLE POINT OF THE BABY DOVE CAMPAIGN. THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO BE A MOTHER AND WE NEED TO TRUST OURSELVES AND TRUST IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WE’RE DOING THE BEST WE CAN. 


SO WHERE DID IT GO WRONG? 


After posting my little rant and gleefully replying to all the lovely moms, I got a phone call from the PR agency managing the Baby Dove account. The PR manager called to explain the point of the campaign. I listened and was very surprised to learn that the whole freaking point was exactly what I was saying. How on earth did they manage to achieve the opposite of what they set out to do? The PR manager mentioned that the bloggers involved in the campaign went on to write blog posts about what it means to be a real mom and after my phone call with her ended, I went on to read them. Yes, a lot of what I was reading made sense. A lot of it championed the notion that there is actually no such thing as a real mom. I think I am going to chalk this one up to a confusing use of language. The word “real” trips us up. When you pair it with the hashtag, #trustyourway it feels really confusing.

After I got the call from the PR agency I felt like I had to take my rant down and gush wildly about how wrong I was and how amazing the campaign was. No one told me to do that, I just felt like maybe that was what was expected. But I have decided to be a bad ass ballsy bitch in 2018 and speak my truth, in the most authentic way I know how. I am going to end off with this:

This campaign confuses me so much. I know that that was not Baby Dove’s intention. I know that in the past, Dove has successfully leveraged the concept of realness in their Real Beauty campaign. This campaign worked because we were all stuck in a black hole of comparison, measuring ourselves against a standard that was not only impossible, it was wholly unachievable because even the women on the covers of glossy magazine don’t really look like that 99% of the time. The concept of realness in motherhood is a little more complicated for me because as I mentioned above, you can’t imply realness without implying there is an opposite to it. So if you are saying that every mom is real and this impossibly perfect standard of Pinterest mom life is unachievable, that is incorrect because the Pinterest mom is no less real than the grungy, grumpy (me) mom. Perhaps the word “real” should have been excluded from this campaign and it should have been left as Trust You Way because when you tell me to simply trust myself, you are making me feel validated and valued as a mom, you are giving me the confidence I need to embrace motherhood for the unique journey it really is.

If you want to see the full campaign, you can follow either of the two hashtags: #realmoms or #trustyourway and show them some love. These moms are amazing and like the rest of, they're doing the maximum.

If you want to watch my story, you still have a few hours to do so. 

If you want to share your opinion of the campaign or being a real mom, please do leave a comment or pop me a mail.

Nikki
Xxx

4 comments

  1. I don't have much to say about the campaign because obviously I am not a mom but I do want to applaud you for speaking up about something you obviously felt very strongly about, and then sticking to your guns. I love and respect your ballsy approach to this.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much love. Appreciate it!

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  2. Good on you for sharing your views πŸ™‚ to me I saw it as a campaign linked to #trustyourway and do you. You have the right to share your view and the right to challenge the status quo πŸ’œ I love reading ballsy opinions.

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  3. Just me here off on a tangent...as a self confessed pinterest mom I get that eye twitch every time ppl are like... real mom's don't have time for DIY or handmade...kaantie we just divide our time differently...hooray for you on standing by your view...balsy AF

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