This post was created In Association With Baby Dove
I’m in London this week, and as I was coming through Waterloo station yesterday I saw the new Baby Dove ad. It showed an eerily flawless looking mum and included a question: Is there a perfect mum? which quickly became a topic of conversation on social media.
The ‘Perfect Mum’ image is the epitome of perfection – clear skinned, sparkly eyed, shining with the happiness that is the early months of parenting. She’s full of energy and zest for life, with not a splash of baby vomit in sight. She’s got parenting NAILED.
I mean it COULD be me right?
Unfortunately, the ‘Perfect Mum’ image didn’t quite resonate with real mums in the UK. Funnily enough, the verdict on social media was that most mums looked slightly, well, more normal. Most mums look a bit tired for a start, with good reason. They probably haven’t had time alone to have a shower, let alone do their hair or put on a full face of make-up. (I use this excise still now, and my girls are 21 and 14.)
So what was going on??
Dove as a company prides itself on depicting REAL WOMEN, and yet there didn’t seem to be anything real about the image of the perfect mum in the new Baby Dove ad.
With good reason as it turned out – she wasn’t a real mum. In fact, she wasn’t even a real person, as Baby Dove revealed today.
The Baby Dove ‘Perfect Mum’ was created using the latest Artificial Intelligence technology based on the images of motherhood that new mums are exposed to every day.
I think it’s a brilliantly conceived campaign by Baby Dove, designed to challenge an ever growing pressure on new mums to BE that perfect mum on the billboard. It came in response to a survey from Baby Dove of 3,000 first-time British mums, that revealed that a whopping 9 in 10 of them feel the pressure to be perfect, citing media representations of motherhood in magazines and newspapers and images on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook as the two biggest pressures.
Think about it. When was the last time you saw a ‘real mum’ in an advert in a baby magazine, or posing for an Instagram picture? You don’t. Traditional and digital media normally show you an idealised version of motherhood, a version that you’re just never going to be able to recreate 24/7, no matter how many succulents you buy, or how much avocado toast you eat.
Because it’s just not real guys!
I consider myself lucky that things like Instagram weren’t around when my kids were little. I love Instagram, but if I was at home with a screaming baby, looking and feeling like I’d slept in a bush for the last three days, and I was faced with a stream of pictures of silent babies, lying on hand crocheted blankets in pristine fox patterned pyjamas, gazing contentedly at a carefully arranged bunch of tulips…
Well, I think you get it don’t you?
It’s basically what I’ve been trying to do all these years with this blog – present a REAL picture of parenting, a story that isn’t always Instagram ready. And yes, I do try to make my photos look nice, and I don’t tell you about Belle’s tantrums, because she is 14 and I can’t do that, but hopefully I tell my stories in a way that makes you think ‘Yes, I get that.’
Baby Dove is doing the same, trying to show mums that you’re okay just as you are, and that all you can really do as a parent is to trust your way. We get so many messages from the media, friends, family and healthcare professionals, but at the end of the day, no one knows your baby like you do. Trust your instincts, listen and understand your children, and you can’t go far wrong.
No mum is perfect you see. We just do our best, in any given situation. That’s your job you see, to give them someone to blame for things when they grow up and realise they’re not perfect either.
Because nobody is.
What do you think of the Baby Dove perfect mum experiment? Do you feel pressure to be a perfect mum? Please leave a comment and share your views.
*Research by Baby Dove from 13th February – 21stFebruary 2017 of a survey size of 3001 first-time mums