It's not that I sit in front of the television all day long, but as a stay-at-home mom the t.v. is part of my work environment. I watch bits and pieces most of the day, but never really have time to watch a whole show. Television is the soundtrack to my daily life. Lately I have realized that the commercials make a shift between the morning news and the evening news. In the early morning and the evening there are commercials for automobiles, credit cards, coffee, cell-phone service, chewing gum, makeup, things that people with money and jobs might consider purchasing. Ads on during the day are completely different and mostly include: personal injury lawyers, diapers, technical colleges, cleaning products, and the occasional toilet paper ad.
Two types of people are home during this mid-day slump (according to the commercials): one type is the wholesome mother, and the other is a complete loser who flunked out of community college and is now permanently affixed to his mother's couch. Sometimes I forget which type I am and I think "Wow, I could become a medical assistant in just five weeks!", or "Could I really still sue that person who rear-ended me three years ago?" I think that I have trouble identifying with my "type" because I have never worn khaki pants, which are apparently the uniform of moms (I was sure that it was pajamas). Also, my house looks nothing like these commercial sets. I love how paper towel ads show the pristine female hand wiping up the one tiny spot of juice off of the otherwise immaculate kitchen counter. Come on!! Show me an unmanicured, dish-pan hand wiping a real counter with coffee stains and crusted flour on it. I would buy those paper towels, because they speak to me and my life.
All in all the commercials directed to me (the wholesome mother... I guess) are not nearly as interesting as the ones directed to those that suck at life. We are not questioning our career, or hoping to win a large sum of money via a shady lawsuit. We are merely trying to decide if we prefer huggies, or pampers. (I'm a huggies mom because they send me coupons and they don't leak.) We want to find ways to make our sheets fresher, our floor shinier, our dishes less streaky. At first thought the role of the American housewife as depicted by advertising companies is depressing. I don't choose to see it as such. I make the purchasing decisions for two adults, a baby and two dogs, which makes me powerful. This is why pampers, palmolive, clorox, pledge, gerber and others spend eight hours a day trying to butter me up (minus a few interruptions by scumbag lawyers and actual programming). The advertisers that prey on me know that I may not earn the income, but I spend the income and then hide the bank statement.