Woman #1- Was barely old enough to vote- dresses in sweats with “princess” across her backside and wearing flip-flops. She was pushing a big red cart through Target loaded with a toddler- diaperbag, baby seat and probably …children in all the mess. She was a mother.
Woman #2- Was ummm..lets just say- plenty old enough to vote- wearing sensible heels-dark suit jacket- matching black bag, a cell phone held like a lifeline- pushing a big red cart loaded with a todder, diaperbag, baby seat and probably children somewhere in all that mess. She was mother.
Woman #3- Was probably old enough to vote- but her customary clothing made it hard to tell. The long robe and headscarf flowed prettily around her. She pushed a red bulls-eyed cart loaded with a toddler, a diaperbag, a babyseat and most-likely children in all that mess. She too- was a mother.
Woman #4- Probably had voted in the very first election- (ok maybe not) she had grayed hair- wore comfy pants and a colorful top. Walking next to her was an older teen- in her cart was a toddler, a diaperbag, a babyseat and the standard children that come with the package. She was a mother.
Woman #5- Was of un-determinable age. I couldn’t see her face. She wore jeans, and heels and carried a black bag. She pushed a cart- not loaded with children- but with the evidence that they were part of her life. There were baby-wipes- teen- sized jeans, yet MORE school supplies for a kindergartner…Itunes cards and 3 boxes of various cereal. She was a mother.
The market-research took place in the 15 minutes it took for me to down my salad and iced tea in the Targhzey Cafe. (one of my favorite- guilt free spots for a mom’s lunch out:P) I watched cart after cart loaded and pushed in and out of the store– by so many and such varied woman. Women of every color and every age- yet sharing something sacred in common- each one- was a mother.
Our culture tends to demographisize (new word, I just made it up) us into boxes of color- shape- age and life-style. Over time- we start to believe the marketing… 10,000 commercials showing 24 year old moms mopping brand new kitchen floors- a toddler wandering in the background, ( oblivious to it’s possible doom by bacteria laden clean floor…) can make us believe this is what mothering looks like. (BTW- the floors are usually already clean- I hate that- I wish once they should show a dirty floor- yanno? But, I digress)
According to marketing- mothering looks very white, very middle class and very 24 years old. Not in my world. A quick trip to Target (the mecca of mothers and fact- based marketing research everywhere)- proves this is not the truth.
The truth is- there are no demographics for mothering. There is no “typical mother”. She could be any color, shape, size, age, class or profession. The biological clock has been stretched. The window for mothering has grown into store-front plate glass. Adoption, re-marriage and second families- blended families, caring for and adoption of the children of our children…children later in life, children early in life… have all grown the demographic of mothering into something that can no longer be “defined”. In many ways, the world has shrunk to a miniscule size. Multi-cultural is not a tag line- it’s a way of life. Mothers have broken the molds and demographics. We are individual. We are unique. But we are all- Mothers.
I just wish the marketers would catch up with us. (or maybe not:P)