New Motherhood Was Not a Kay Jewelers Commercial


Kay Jewelers

Let’s face it… television commercials are not exactly known for their realistic depictions of everyday life. In fact, in the image-conscious world of advertising, authenticity often seems like little more than a pesky afterthought.

In terms of unrealistic advertising, jewelry brands are among the worst offenders as they strive to portray every holiday and major life event through an impractically romantic lens – the most egregious example being the perpetually saccharine Kay Jewelers. But there is one ad, in particular, in which Kay takes the sweetly idealistic shtick a bit too far.

In this stunning lack of marketing prowess, a glowing young mother sits wrapped in a plushy white robe, serenely rocking her newborn daughter following a 2am feeding on Christmas morning. Suddenly, a figure emerges from the shadows; why, it’s her doting husband, having risen in the middle of the night for no other reason than to light the Christmas tree and present her with a gift – a watch. How nice. Because there is nothing a new mother needs more than yet another reminder that she is constantly on the clock.

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This commercial made its ill-timed debut during the 2009 holiday season when I, myself, was in the throes of new motherhood. In fact, I often saw it while nursing my own newborn. And it made me irrationally angry, as I considered it to be blatantly false advertising.

Why? Well, let’s break it down…

According to Kay Jewelers: A new mother is the essence of maternal serenity as she happily rises for a 2am feeding with dewy skin and perfect hair, enveloping herself in a soft, plushy robe.

In Reality: When I (grudgingly) got up for 2am feedings, my skin was pale and gaunt; my vision marred by crusty eye boogers; and my hair was sticking out in every direction. I was hawt.

I also generally slept in the previous day’s clothes, which were often times the same clothes I’d worn the day before that – because at that particular juncture, my days and nights were fairly indistinguishable. So, there was no plushy robe; only dirty yoga pants and nursing bras stained with milk and spit-up. In short, I was anything but the essence of maternal serenity.

According to Kay Jewelers: A new mother is content – even happy – to be up in the middle of the night, serenely rocking her sleeping baby.

In Reality: I will freely admit that I was not pleased to be up in the dead of night, when Zumba infomercials were the only thing to watch on television and I felt like the lone person in the entire freaking world who was awake. Furthermore, once I got my daughter down after an overnight feeding, I went straight back to bed, grateful for whatever sleep I could muster before my wee bottomless pit grew hungry again.

According to Kay Jewelers: Those first few weeks of new parenthood are so incredibly romantic, a husband will actually be moved to surprise his wife during an overnight feeding for the sole purpose of presenting her with a token of his undulating love and affection. And she, in her serene state, will no doubt react with glowing adoration at the gesture.

In Reality: Oh my God, there are so many things wrong with this scenario I don’t even know where to begin.

First, the early weeks – nay, months – of new parenthood are anything but romantic. Okay? Enough said.

Secondly, no sleep-deprived new father is going to willingly get up at 2am unless he’s been asked told to; the only possible exception being if he wanted to use that time – when his wife is otherwise occupied with the baby – to go searching for his testicles, which have no doubt been safely tucked away in an undisclosed location. And only when he gives up the search – having deduced that his manhood is gone for good – might he then take that time to start bestowing her with gifts.

Otherwise, she’s on her own. In the dead of night. When the Zumba infomercials are the only thing to watch on television and she feels like the lone person in the entire freaking world who is awake.

Oh, but I’m not done yet…

Let’s just say, for shits and giggles, that my husband had gotten up with me for a 2am feeding on Christmas morning. He didn’t – not that I’m bitter or anything – but let’s just say that he had.

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In that scenario, I would have handed our sated daughter off to him and been back in bed sound asleep before he even had time to light the tree, much less hand me a gift. Bitchy? Perhaps. But also a hell of a lot more realistic than Kay Jewelers’ deluded sense of new motherhood.

And therein lays my irrational anger with this commercial, as well as the moronic and presumably childless marketing team involved with its production. And the proverbial cherry on top of this hot mess of a sundae is the fact that the entire thing ends with the dopey new dad asking his wife if their weeks-old daughter will remember her first Christmas.

Allow me to answer that…

No. Not even a little bit.


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    • Kristin @ What She Said says

      I have to wonder if the terrible ads actually lead to increased sales! I mean, who actually buys this shit? Literally and figuratively!

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  1. Jess says

    Oh, those early days of infanthood. My son and I slept on the couch as to not disturb my husband’s sleep (in all fairness, he was the one earning the money), and while I volunteered to stay in the living room so he could sleep, not a night went by that I didn’t fantasize about walking into our bedroom and throwing our screaming baby at him so I could just get some rest. Catch! It’s your turn now!!!

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    • Kristin @ What She Said says

      I remember that fantasy well – along with the irrational anger I felt at seeing him sleeping peacefully while I was trying to lull a newborn back to sleep. There were times I wanted to physically hurt him with a kick to the shins or a quick bonk on the head, just to wake him up. I didn’t necessarily want him to do anything once he was awake; I just wanted him to also be awake.

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    • RachW says

      We are still slumbering on the couch. It used to be 1/3 baby 2/3 me and now it’s 1/2 baby who kicks in her sleep and 1/2 me crunched in a ball with my legs falling off the couch or propped up on the love seat that I moved across the room to support my legs. Because we have to be fair to the working man lol. But in all fairness, baby and I take the whole bed on Friday and Saturday nights so daddy can sleep on the couch (still undisturbed)… Haha. I love being a mom! Seriously.

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  2. Melanie de Castro Pugh says

    I make jewellery, and this has given me a great idea for marketing…..

    Your scenario, with the tagline “You’ve ruined her. Buy her something shiny. But only give it to her after you’ve done a whole night of feeds and awoken her with breakfast in bed ;-)”

    Or maybe not…

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  3. Michelle at says

    Oh, how I love this post. The creative team that produced that ad needs to be lined up against a wall and sprayed with still-warm breast milk and newborn projectile vomit. Because my 2am feelings were – 9 times out of 10 – full clothing change, bedding change, showering and hair-washing events because of the sheer volume of baby vomit.

    I can assure you, my husband didn’t have any thoughts of me at 2am other than, maybe, “thank GAWD I don’t have breasts.”

    To everything you wrote: *applause*

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  4. Vanessa says

    I don’t think I was ever technically “awake” during a night feeding. For sure if the husband was, it was because I had kicked him in the shins on my way out of bed. So no, the early days of parenthood are NOT romantic.

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    • Kristin @ What She Said says

      I can get up, walk to the bathroom, pee in the dark, and be back in bed asleep in under two minutes (and barely recall it in the morning), but I was always WIDE awake during late-night feedings. I never quite got to the point of being able to sleep-nurse. That takes talent. Kudos to you! ;)

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  5. Katia says

    Amen!!! So, so, so accurate. I was going through the same in 2009 (minus the commercial, which would infuriate me too) and once again now. You are so right. I’ve never switched the tv on, but I often tweeted and facebooked statuses (stati?) that made my mom overseas call me in panic at 4am reading a “cry for help” into my updates. Which they really were. My mom is a smart woman. LOVED your post.

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    • Kristin @ What She Said says

      Ha! I also recall putting out a cry for help on Facebook in the first few days of new motherhood. Something to the effect of, “Please tell me this gets easier,” after a particularly rough night.

      For the record, everyone said it would. And you know what? It eventually did. :)

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      • MOM.b.a. says

        Funny you should mention the Facebook cry for help…seems like a lot of us have done it. I did at least get a boatload of advice from friends, but the sad truth is all you can do is wait it out…at least there is a light (somewhere) at the end of the tunnel!

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  6. Poppy says

    “Every kiss begins with Kay” is pretty much the lamest slogan out there anyway – Kay can take her jewelry, a real Christmas present would be letting that bitch be the wet nurse for the night and letting mom get 8 hours.

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