Life is not like in the commercials

I don’t watch that much television — and rarely watch commercial television these days — but when I do watch broadcast TV, I don’t ignore the commercials. My husband switches channels when a commercial comes on or, if we’ve recorded the program, fast forwards through them, but I sort of like the bit of modern-day “culture” I see in TV ads.

There are three commercials that I remember preceding milestones in my life. The first was a diaper commercial. It featured a young family at the zoo looking at the animals. At the end of the commercial the baby (toddler, I think) is picked up by her father and nods her head — possibly in response to an animal nodding its head. This commercial caused my hormones to scream “WANT BABY NOW!”. So we had a baby, and as wonderful as that baby was — she never nodded to the animals at the zoo. And we didn’t use disposable diapers, so that ad was wasted on us as far as the advertising industry was concerned.

The next commercial that I remember using as a benchmark for my role as a mother was for a brand of beverage that I never planned on serving my kids, but liked the whole idea of my kids friends hanging out at our house. I wanted to be like the mother in this commercial:

For several reasons, some unknown to me, but others known, kids never wanted to hang out here. Maybe I should have bought Sunny Delight after all.

The last television advertisement that I felt an emotional response to was one I just saw the other day. This one, though, I suspected would not be true to life since the past year didn’t live up to my expectations. It did make me cry though:

After taking Clare to college, it turns out that this was the most true to life of the three commercials. We did have a feeling of dismay when we first saw the dorm room but after making the bed and after her roommate’s parents set up some things they’d bought (not at Walmart) it did look a little more cozy than at first glance.

One thing I’ve learned (the hard way) in the past 18 years of being a parent (and a human being, for that matter) is to avoid having set expectations about life events. Life turns out the way it is going to turn out — one cannot know exactly how scenes are going to be played out and one should not expect that everything is going to be exactly like one has planned. Sometimes (usually) it is worse. No set expectations improves the odds that it will be better.

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