Moms and Messy Kids in Commercials, or More Advice from a Non-Parent

Is it only me, or does anyone else see the fallacy in many of the cleaning products/vacuums/paper products, etc. commercials? You’ll see a happy little kid riding around the house in his/her <insert latest annoying ride-on toy here> cheerfully spilling cereal/candy/milk/juice all over the floors and rugs–and a pretty and smiling mom behind him/her, shaking her head with that cute ‘oh, those kids and the mischief they get into!’ look on her face.

Closeup on the cleaning product or cleaning device she is holding, and presto! The mess comes right up, Mom picks up the naughty child and spins him/her around the kitchen in a dance of joy and temporary cleanliness.

So, tell me, what has this kid learned in this exchange? Here’s what I think:

  • the kid has learned that, no matter how big a mess he/she makes or how often he/she makes one, Mommy is always going to clean it up for him/her.
  • Mommy will eventually snap after cleaning up after this kid 80 times a day, and that smile will be gone in an New York minute. She will wonder why she is STILL cleaning up after this kid who is now ready to enter college.

Fast forward to the future. Former naughty kid (FNK) will be all grown up by now, and living with his/her girlfriend/boyfriend. The girlfriend/boyfriend will soon be out of the picture because FNK expects his/her  girlfriend/boyfriend to be the mommy he/she grew up with, and as so, will always clean up after him/her.

Former smiling mommy (FSM) will be now be in the cheapest nursing home possible with strangers taking care of her. FSM will have worn herself out in the service of the FNK. At this point, she wonders why she ever had children.

The moral of this little trip down TV memory lane is this: how about we teach our kids how to grow up into responsible, intelligent and healthy adults instead of treating them like babies who can’t possibly take care of themselves? How about when little Junior/Juniorette makes a mess Mommy shows him/her how to clean it up? And how about that this lesson keeps on repeating until little Junior/Juniorette understands that, once they make a mess it is their responsibility to clean it up and know how to do it?

To take this lesson to the TV commercial level, I would love to see that commercial end with a proud mommy watching her kid clean up his/her mess, no matter how good the cleaning product/vacuum/paper product is. Now that  is a commercial I would really enjoy.

And before you ask, no–I have never had kids of my own. True, I have two wonderful step-daughters, but they both had great moms who taught them everything they needed to know to become healthy, happy and functioning adults.

Isn’t it amazing how someone who has never been a mother can be such a know-it-all about raising kids?

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