A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
As a mom, there’s nothing I like more than being marketed to in an unsolicited and brazenly condescending, maudlin way. It makes me feel like I’m truly understood not just by my peers, but by the brands I’ve grown to know and trust when it comes to the health and safety of my baby. That feeling helps me to make informed decisions when I’m shopping, because everyone knows that mothers’ brains are governed 80% by feelings, 15% by “mamma bear instinct,” 2% by logic, and 3% by “other.” That’s just math, folks (which, incidentally, I don’t know how to do).
So you can imagine how warm and fuzzy I’ve been feeling lately, since I submitted my hospital paperwork in advance of the birth of my child and have now been inundated with messages and samples from concerned corporate friends. A six pack of baby formula delivered to my doorstep, unbidden? Aaaaw. A barrage of emails about diapers and wipes? Gosh, you guys. You didn’t have to do all this. It’s like you really, really know me.
Recently, I received a note from my good pal, Huggies, asking me if I’d thought about what I would say to greet my newborn child during our first hug. Good question, Huggies! Thanks for asking. You always know how to dig deep. With you, it’s just like I’m having a perfectly natural conversation with one of my gal pals. Or with thousands of strangers with whom I share nothing other than having made the decision to procreate and have a Twitter account. Because, of course, you also invited me to share my ideas on this hypothetical and deeply personal moment on social media with my fellow Huggies moms, using #dearbaby. What a wonderful suggestion! I feel part of a community, which in turn makes me feel like the type of diapers I buy is somehow tied into my identity as a parent, which in turn makes me feel brand loyalty! Seamless.
Labor is so harrowing and intense, and the experience of meeting one’s child for the first time is so emotionally overwhelming that I probably should plan a few, casual remarks in advance and float them into the Twitterverse to make sure they’ll land on the big day. I think that when my daughter was born, I said something along the lines of, “Oh, hi. Who are you?” And then in my head, Oh. My god. What did we do? What do we do now? Crickets. Total stink bomb. I want to do better this time. I could start off with a joke, maybe? But that may not feel right in the moment. I don’t want to get too serious too soon, either. And I feel like making some big, sweeping speech will probably just go right over his head. So much pressure! Sometimes, things like this are better when you go simple. I was thinking of something like this:
“Hi, baby! I’m your mommy.”
Unfortunately, Huggies, I’m more of an off-the-cuff type of speaker. But girl, you already knew that about me, didn’t you? So I won’t be writing a pretend letter to my unborn baby and posting it on your website. Next time for sure, okay? We have to have drinks soon. Or, you know, mocktails! Ha ha. Seriously, text me. I’m basically, generally around-ish over the next few weeks so we’ll talk. I’ve got a thing with Johnson & Johnson next week and Enfamil and I are supposed to be meeting at the park later, but we’ll figure it out. Love you guys xoxox.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!