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.

About the writer

Kristin Alexander is a writer, blogger, and self-proclaimed city girl now living a decidedly more rural life in eastern West Virginia – or as she likes to spin it, the far western suburbs of D.C. Find her at What She Said, offering up an irreverent blend of family, life, and humor - because if she didn’t laugh, she'd cry. Talk to her on Twitter or Facebook.


Nicky E. 3 years ago

Yes! This is exactly I how felt in those days after my first child was born. Everywhere I looked, mothers of newborns were portrayed as these serene beings (well-dressed & styled, to boot), and here I was in my pj’s morning, noon & night too tired to even brush my hair (never mind my teeth).

Thanks for a great post!

The Mean Mama 3 years ago

just realized that commercial came out about the same time as I was having surgery to remove a long lost IUD from my abdomen, if I had seen it then I would have shattered the TV with the remote!

The Mean Mama 3 years ago

Men wake up?

…and whats a few hundred dollars on a gift that will just snag the baby in the back of his neck rolls while trying to figure out the whole nursing scene when you’ve just laid down 10 grand on hospital bills…

Allen @ Funny Baby Videos 3 years ago

I got the humor. Just being the devils advocate.

Thanks, hope to see your writing on here again.

Allen @ Funny Baby Videos 3 years ago

I can’t recall my mother or grandmother complaining so much about parenthood. Is it a genterational thing? Is it societal values? I think it’s a little of both.

Cosmetic commercials do the same thing. They lead women to believe that they are all beautiful. Clearly, not all women are beautiful, regardless of the amount/type of cosmetics they use.

Parenthood isn’t meant to be romantic. The romance took place before you had a child. Romance is probably the reason you got pregnant.

Please, stop complaining.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    As the author of this guest post, I can assure you that it was originally written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. It was also meant to be a knock at dumb television commercials and the people who produce them, NOT motherhood. My daughter is now three years old and I can honestly say that I enjoy motherhood very much, warts and all. I enjoy it at least as much as my own mother and grandmothers, who did not have the Internet at their disposal to discuss its joys and challenges. Otherwise, I think you might have found that they “complained” about it just as much as women of this generation supposedly do.

    And whoever said that romance and parenthood were mutually exclusive? So, once the kids come, the romance is just supposed to die? How cynical. And sad.

      Allen @ Funny Baby Videos 3 years ago

      Commercials being misleading is nothing new. Every commercial you encounter has an agenda behind it. If Kay Jewelers were to make an accurate commercial depicting parenthood they wouldn’t sell anything.

      They alter their message so that people associate jewelry with something that is precious, like parenting and love. Clearly, this kind of advertising is working because many businesses use the same model and are successful.

        Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

        Water is wet.

        I’m sorry you missed the humor in this humor post.

          Allen @ Funny Baby Videos 3 years ago

          I got the humor. Just being the devils advocate.

          Thanks, hope to see your writing on here again.

Katie 3 years ago

I laughed while reading this whole post, and continued to laugh while reading all of the awesome comments. Worst commercial ever- and you are too right, the first couple/several months of parenthood are far from romantic!

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    It just might be the worst commercial ever!

Kristen Brakeman 3 years ago

Ha! Very funny post. I mock those kay commercials every time they’re on. I wonder who is the ad agency responsible for them – or are the corporate heads that out of touch and insist on that style?

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    I’d love to know that, too! Time to take to Google…

Beth 3 years ago

Clearly created by delusional, childless people. It does not help that the jewelry is utterly atrocious. I went to Jared’s to get my rings cleaned and inspected and wandered around looking at their wares, and they are all pretty heinous! Not only would that situation ever happen but I would be pissed to open the box and see something as monstrous as what they are selling these days.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Oh, their stuff is terrible. Little more than cheap costume jewelry.

Jen at Ovuline 3 years ago

I don’t remember seeing this commercial, but I have always disliked the Kay commercials. It makes women look like we can be easily pacified by anything sparkly, no matter what. This one in particular definitely paints an unrealistic picture of motherhood, which is even worse. The first weeks are tough enough without women having impossible expectations that they feel they should live up to.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    I agree with you and others have pointed this out as well. I wrote this post with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but if it in any ways helps paint a more realistic portrayal of new motherhood to women who may be suffering from PPD or just second-guessing themselves and their abilities, then more power to it.

Aimee 3 years ago

I work in advertising at the “local” level in a small city. I totally agree – the people who make this kind of schlock are completely out of touch with reality. The big agencies that make these kinds of national spots are a pressure cooker. If there are women on the creative team, they are probably so focused on career that they have put off having children…. these kinds of jobs require commitment bordering on servitude. You’d better be willing to come in early, work really late, and still check your iPhone/Blackberry 24-7-365.

Mad Men’s Don Draper does not have a quality home life….

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Aimee, I also used to work in advertising on the agency side and agree with everything you said. Advertising peeps are a breed of their own… that’s all I’m sayin’.

Family S 3 years ago

I believe that the target group of this ad arent’ real mothers but wanna-be ones that daydream about breastfeeding and diaper changing… Why spoil the romance?

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    You may be onto something. Bless their hearts. 😉

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 3 years ago

The person who came up with the ‘serene mother of newborn’ thing deserves to be shot.

Evalynn Rose 3 years ago

What happens instead?

Hot mess of a new mom is in tears trying to breast feed a baby next to a Christmas tree with a half of string of lights and some popcorn literally thrown on it. Dad comes out and says, “hey, why won’t the baby stop crying?” Mom proceeds to punch him in the face, and then instantly regrets it (it *is* Christmas afterall), kissing his black eye after he finishes rolling on the floor in pain.

*every kiss begins with kay*

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    YES! Hey, I doubt the tripe they went with did much to increase the sale of their cheap watches, so what did they have to lose, right?

Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) 3 years ago

I have no idea what you’re talking about. My husband was up with me at every feeding, rubbing my feet and feeding me bon-bons.
Ba ha ha ha! Only in Kay Jewelry land.
Thanks for the laughs, Kristin!

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Tell me you got through typing that with a straight face. I dare you. 😉

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 3 years ago

Kay commercials always make me barf. Have you seen the one with the guy that gives his girlfriend’s daughter a charm “just like mommy’s”??? And then the couple kisses in front of the little girl and the little girl isn’t jealous or grossed out AT ALL by their slobbery display of affection??? YEAH RIGHT. BARF. You hit the nail on the head, woman. =)

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Thanks. :) I vaguely recall that one, but truth be told, all Kay commercials tend to blend together for me in one giant saccharine-sweet ball of goo. Except this one, which was SO incredibly stupid, it actually caused a visceral reaction, thereby burning itself into my memory forever.

Kelly @ In the Mom Light Blog 3 years ago

So glad I’m not the only one who hates those commercials! “Every kiss begins with Kay” blah blah blah. I’m pretty sure every kiss begins with chardonnay or something of the sort.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Back in college, my kisses often began with tequila.

Mary 3 years ago

I love this post. It is so true.

We always laugh at these ads because my mom’s name is Kay.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Oh, your poor mom. 😉

Alison 3 years ago

A group of (deluded) men made this commercial. Obviously. :)

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    That or childless (and deluded) women.

Debbie 3 years ago

Good going Kistin. I am with you when it comes to commericals, these jokes need to experience the real world.

If my husband had done that to me in the middle of the night, I too would have handed him the baby and said, ‘Merry Christmas, save it for the morning.”

Thanks for the laughs.

Love it

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Exactly. I would’ve been like, “Oh, how sweet. You want to give me a Christmas present at 2am? Here – take the baby and let me get a few hours of sleep.”

    To sat ad execs lack perspective would be a gross understatement.

Liv 3 years ago

This. Amen to this. My 3 week old is noisy snoozing, and I’ve realized I haven’t showered in 3 days. This stage of new motherhood is *so* not pretty.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    It’s really not. You’re simply in survival mode for those first few weeks – and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit. 😉

Momchalant 3 years ago

I think I’m in love with you. Or maybe I just peed my pants from laughing.. Either way this was fucking amazing! I can’t even tell you how many Zumba infomercials I watched while doing my nightly feedings. One day I was determined to watch something other than infomercials and changed it to ghetto music videos on BET.. desparate I know. If my son ever has ghetto dance moves, at least I’ll know I’m to blame.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    I, too, recall switching over to VH1/MTV at the time to watch the horrible music videos they played in the wee hours. This was back before I had a smartphone, had started blogging, or joined Twitter. In hindsight, oh, how I would have longed to be able to surf Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram during feedings.

Angie 3 years ago

My thoughts exactly Scary Mommy! probably a reason too why so many suffer depression. People believe in the idea that motherhood is a romantic event and its sooooo depressing when you experience it and its NOT at all like on TV!

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Angie, as the guest poster who wrote this piece, I never considered that it could be helpful to women suffering from postpartum depression and/or second-guessing their ability as mothers. So, thank you. Your comment is a great compliment and really meant a lot to me. :)

Doctor G 3 years ago

I have to say that I really appreciate the uniqueness of your perspective! The humor and poignancy with which you address this serious (and seriously funny) issue is original. Your ability to point out the flaws in the advertising and the normalcy of reality will encourage women who are struggling – not only with frustration, but with postpartum anxiety and depression.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    I always love your ability,as a physician, to draw out practical insight and advice from my humor posts, Deborah. Thank you. :)

Leigh Ann 3 years ago

Yes. This and the ones where everyone gets a new Lexus with a huge bow on top. I would kill my husband if he bought a car without talking about it. Unless we’re super wealthy, but well, we’re not.

    Laura 3 years ago

    My mother-in-law almost did this this past summer. Big bow and all. I appreciate the gesture but the car she chose for us didn’t fit our needs. Thankfully we found out about the surprise and ended up car shopping together just a day before she was going to make it a done deal.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    It sucks being practical and responsible and realistic, huh? Not that advertising execs would know anything about that. 😉

Poppy 3 years ago

“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.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    AMEN to that!

Katia 3 years ago

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.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    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. :)

      MOM.b.a. 3 years ago

      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!

Vanessa 3 years ago

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.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    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! 😉

Arnebya 3 years ago

Pretty sure this is the post that brought me to your blog. And I still love it.

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Really? Awesome! And thanks. :)

Michelle at 3 years ago

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*

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    Ha! Thanks. And I love your idea for how to induct ad execs into the reality of new motherhood. 😉

Melanie de Castro Pugh 3 years ago

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…

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    I think that’s a great idea! You’d certainly be a pioneer in the jewelry industry! 😉

Jess 3 years ago

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!!!

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

    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.

    RachW 3 years ago

    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.

Amanda Martin 3 years ago

Amen to this! This is why I never watch adverts. Thank God for Sky Plus.

Adrienne 3 years ago

The last line? So funny! I often wonder why the people that make some of the commercials, have jobs doing it, because they’re so terrible!

    Kristin @ What She Said 3 years ago

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

Mom Off Meth 3 years ago

This is so awesome and so true.


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