Home > Marketing to Moms > Marketing Mommyguilt: McCarthy & the Mafia

Marketing Mommyguilt: McCarthy & the Mafia

Yesterday, my precious pumpkin received his 4 month vaccines.

Last night, for the first time in more than 2 months, he did not sleep through the night. Not even close. He awoke every 3 hours with a blood curdling scream. We ended up feeding him waaaaaay more than we should just to get him back to keep the peace.

Jenny McCarthy on OprahIf I did not voraciously consume media, this would pass as a mild annoyance. As it is, there was a tiny Posh Spice haircutted Jenny McCarthy in my head saying “maybe you shouldn’t have allowed the baby to get the vaccines”. This, despite new reports this week that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Why would I give any credit to Jenny McCarthy over scientific evidence to the contrary? Oprah. Some tiny part of my brain thinks there is a grain of credibility to anything you see on Oprah – despite the fact that Oprah launched Dr. freaking Phil. Today, I resent Oprah for making me doubt my judgment in the deep dark quiet of the middle of the night.

tightPart 2 of today’s guilt comes from the shockingly well written new ABC show Cashmere Mafia. I was fully prepared dismiss this show as a Sex and the City knock off, but last night’s episode has cemented its “tape all new episodes” status in my DVR. A stay at home mom takes her kids and the kids of one of the working heroines to a “Build a Bear” type experience. While there, the kids of the working mother create a “working mommy bear” complete with pearls, little black dress, bluetooth earpiece and voice box that says “Not now. Mommy’s on a conference call.” Kudos to the writers for so humorously exposing so many women’s deepest insecurity. My guess is that this little plot point earned them many new loyal fans.

Today’s exercise is to remember that what I do inside these four walls, not Oprah or the WGA, determines whether or not I am a good mom. I am going to pull a Nancy Reagan and “Just Say No” to the crackpottery and working mom guilt they’re selling.

  1. January 10th, 2008 at 08:01 | #1

    I had the same vaccine conversation with my wife the other day, and she too has heard Jenny McCarthy speak about how evil they are. And after about three hours of in-depth conversation, a revelation hit both of us at the same time.

    We refuse to take advice from anyone who once had a sketch-comedy series on MTV.

    In fact, we came to the same conclusion you did, V-Dub…we are the parents, and there are no comedians, actresses or talk-show hosts who have been through the same experience that we are going through…

    And then it dawned on me…the connection between mom-guilt and celeb testimonials on TV. Seriously. Why do I care what jewelry, clothing, perfume, etc. Britney Spears or David Beckham like….they live COMPLETELY different lives from me. So why do I need a parenting guilt trip from Jenny Freakin’ McCarthy or Brooke Shields?

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Oprah also launced James Frey’s career (he of “A Million Little Pieces”), and let the entire nation believe in and empathize with a complete fraud for almost two years.

  2. January 10th, 2008 at 16:05 | #2

    Exactly. Besides the vaccine nonsense, the best role model you can be for your kids is a happy, fulfilled and productive human who makes a difference in the world. And you can do that while still making sure they know they’re the most important thing at the end of the day. No dumb parody teddy bear can change that!

  3. January 11th, 2008 at 15:14 | #3

    You know yourself and your family. The Hollywood Industrial complex be damned! Good for you!

  4. Lindsay
    January 13th, 2008 at 16:29 | #4

    V-Dub, GREAT website!!! Anyway, you are a very smart woman to NOT give into the Mommy Guilt. It can keep you up for hours on end if you allow. Believe me, as a bit more ‘seasoned’ mother (by no means do I know more.- just hit that point in life where I get a bit more sleep than you do right now), I’m learning that what we thought were major worries in the baby stage, are a drop in the pan compared to now. The bigger the child, the bigger the worries. Once you mix guilt into it, then you might as well not bother getting out of bed. Do what YOU feel is best for YOUR individual family and *poof* to those who don’t live in your house. As my best friend (and mother of 3) says to me, “Don’t worry, don’t feel bad…just put it in a bubble and blow it away!”

    PS. Infant Tylenol becomes your best friend during immunization day

  5. January 15th, 2008 at 09:22 | #5

    VeeDub, congratulations on making the choice that *you* made. Either way, you’re the parent.

    By the way, my mom works with Autistic children in Berkley (MI) schools, and she pointed out one other *very* important thing: If vaccines were, in fact, the cause of Autism, we’d see rates *much* higher than what they are. Yes, they’re extremely high, and, yes, they’ve elevated only recently. But, thimerosal has been included in vaccines a very defined period of time. If you take a Freakonomics look at it (that is, statistically), there’s not a strong-enough co-relation between thimerosal in vaccines and incidences of diagnosed Autism. The curves are very different.

    You are a very smart woman, and you have proven that yet again.

    Congrats on the blog, btw! It’s excellent!

  6. Warren Crandall
    April 11th, 2008 at 11:17 | #6

    “Marketing Mommy Guilt”: What a hilarious title! Seriously, I am laughing. I happen to have Aspergers Syndrome and am a father to a daughter with Autism. Somebody posted about about the “vaccine nonsense.” In most cases I agree that vaccine’s have nothing to do with Autism. But not all cases. I am friends with a family whose daughters case has been documented. However the suspicion is that there was some sort of pre existing allergic reaction. Their daughters case is deffinately a small proportion among autism cases. In my daughters case, it’s clearly genetic. I’m an ASPIE, my ex-wife has some undiagnosed issues, and thus our daughter got the short end of the stick.

    The problem with trying to prove if Mercury in vaccines as being a cause of Autism is, there is only one way to prove it or disprove it: take some healthy babies and inject them with Mercury and see what happens…..you get my drift. Maybe in Nazi Germany.

    As for Jenny McCarthy, well she’s Jenny McCarthy. Is she helps raise awareness then that’s OK. Most people know she’s not a brain surgeon.

    And for “Mommy Guilt.” I hope that no parents of autistic children buy into that. There’s no reason for it. It’s not your fault. It’s nobody’s fault. I happen to be a person of the Christian faith. As such I believe that God never makes mistakes. I don’t know why my child has to have Autism. Let alone why another person’s child has to have Cancer. But I do know one thing, I have met a lot of great people on this journey of mine whom I never would have met if my child wasn’t on the spectrum.

  7. Rachel
    August 3rd, 2008 at 10:51 | #7

    VW –

    As your friend, I am so with you on the “Mommy Guilt” train – because I think we never forget the feeling of carrying our children for nine months, constantly feeding them, protecting them, and generally creating them (through a painstaking and thankless consumption of water, salad greens, proteins, and most importantly… Ben&Jerrys!) So even after they leave the uterus, we have a hard time cutting the cord, and we feel responsible for every cry, every frown, every sniffle.

    As a pediatrician, I wish your little boy’s doctor had done a better job warning you to EXPECT that nighttime fussiness, and made your “choice” of vaccines – which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends as the backbone of current medical care – less controversial. Vaccines have to stimulate the immune system enough to work (ie protect against diseases like Diphtheria, Pertussis, and H.influenza – which used to kill babies!) but it’s pretty exciting that they can do this with about the same impact as a cold virus.
    There has never been any scientific evidence to link vaccines with autism. Zero. DO NOT LOSE SLEEP OVER WHETHER TO VACCINATE.
    I read Jenny McCarthy’s book – so that I could understand why I was spending so much time trying to talk parents into vaccines – it should be like selling mittens to an EskimoS – not ice. And I felt a little ill that she should become such an influence on the health of my patients and their parents.
    People who think they understand more about disease and medicine from anonymous and unlicensed opinions on a Google search than a doctor (ie someone who has been to 4 yrs of college, 4 yrs of medical school, and 3 years of residency – well they are have already caused a resurgence in diseases that are fatal in infants and completely preventable. Just in the US, we have seen measles (Indiana 2005), whooping cough (with one infant death in West Virginia 2004), and polio (Minnesota 2005) when communities stop vaccinating.
    I’d much rather my son had a few sleepless nights than any of those diseases.

  8. keith
    September 28th, 2008 at 11:27 | #8

    If you watched the show then you should have heard Jenny say that she dosn’t say not give vaccines but be sure your child can tolerate the shots. Not all people can tolerate the shot. Some people are allergic to the ingredients in the vaccines. My son was normal until he got the shots. I’m not a fan of Jenny, but if she brings attention to such a epidemic then more power to her. She has given me hope for my son and his challenges.

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