Friday, February 22, 2008

Frustrations are High

Ladies' Magazines make me want to scream. You know the type. Ladies' Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Family Circle etc. They are written for people who I assume exist, but have never actually met. Tall, beautiful and, most importantly, rich ladies who have the extra time and money to spend on designer decorating their garden shed in matching colors.

One article I was perusing in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine (March '08) this morning was about spending a day with your girlfriends at the garden center to get ready for spring. The pictures all showed the above-mentioned perfect women in their cute, little spring sun-dresses and their perfect hair and make-up.

You, the article suggests, are supposed to have packed a garden tote (a new, clean, designer garden tote, of course, that matches your outfit) with "tasty snacks, refreshing drinks, and thoughtful friendship gifts to keep spirits high." It goes on to say,
"A great girls-day-out always ends too soon. Turn the adventure into a treasured memory with a few simple keepsakes. Use festive ribbons to tie around seed packets to give as gifts. The interesting jars you served drinks in become fun take-aways. (Write down your special recipe on tags.)[The tags say, Girl Thyme, by the way. Let's all roll our eyes together.] Express a heartfelt sentiment with the help of a cute card holder you've bought or made. Take a group picture that you'll share at the next outing."

Give me a break! What is wrong with these people. Do they really have nothing better than this to do? Sure, take a friend to the garden center with you, get ideas from them or hang out or whatever. That's fine. But a cute little snack bag? A special drink and meal afterwards for which you've spent hours of preparation and tons of money!? Do these people really exist? If I suggested doing this with any girl friend of my acquaintance she'd look at me like I'd lost my mind, and politely decline.

After having already browsed through page after page of designer this and organic that, I was so annoyed that a got up and threw the magazine into the trash. My kids were a little confused. Sorry guys, even Mommy has her tantrums.

And here it is:

I don't want my daughter to grow up with that "you're not good enough" complex that every woman in this country is being force-fed. She'll get the message from enough places anyway. How can I protect her? Can I protect her? Will she, too, be told by our society that she isn't stylish enough, pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough...for the rest of her life?

My own mother is a Godly woman; down to earth and intelligent, and I know she kept my sister and I grounded, yet we still feel that sudden, if temporary, rush of shame when we see what we are "supposed" to be.

I guess my job is to help her balance self-confidence and humility, and leave her tender, little soul in the hands of God.


Sara said...

I totally understand and I had to write a post referencing this post of yours. You're not alone. I think we are more normal then those Martha Stewart types in the magazines. I've never met one and I live in a white collar town with people who have money around me. Also when I worked at Lowe's I never saw anything like this happen.

Sara said...

No need to worry about matching totes to sun dresses. I own 1, I wear it only a few times a year to church and if I'm hitting the garden center I want grubby clothes and a shopping cart. =D

Lilibeth said...

This is the big picture: The more women who believe they must fit this mold, the more money it generates for magazines, clothing stores, fashion sellers, etc. The sad thing is that everywhere I see little girls falling prey to this lie that triavialities are paramount; things that really matter in life are pushed to the bottom of the pile.

Jeremy said...

This was a great post and a pleasure to read.

Christine said...

I don't even bother to read. It really is just hilarious. There is so much other stuff to focus our lives on. They just don't get it.

Scribbit said...

Well I feel sheepish now because I was going to see if you wanted to hang out with me at the garden club next week--I guess that's a no?


Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

You use mostly ginger ale. About 3/4 ginger ale and then the cran apple juice. And I am NOT a cran fan either, but since the cran is mixed with apple it really helps

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

I wrote a post on this a couple of days ago. Or similar, it's my one titled "Oprah does not have kids..."

Same idea, regarding clothes.

Crissybug said...

The 'real' world is a scary place. They teach superficial things, and create unreal realities. That is why it is so important to create a home that your little Mim will know that it is okay for her to be who she wants to be. I think you have your head on straight, and she will turn out fine. It doesn't keep you from worrying about it though!

Qtpies7 said...

Well, maybe some of that is OK. I wouldn't meet at a garden center, cause that implies, you know, GARDENING, and that is done outside. Not for me.
But maybe themed gifts for a ladies night would be fun. My friends and I have special tote bags with our names and a verse on them about getting together.

aftergrace said...

I like your style, you are a great mom, and a terrific role model, as is lilibeth. We wouldn't want you any other way-even with festive ribbons.

Auntie M said...

So you've been reading more fairy tales again, lol?