'Thank You, Mom' Commercial Is Guaranteed To Make You Ugly Cry

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 

P&G debuts a new commercial for the 2016 Olympics and it will tug at your heartstrings

The Olympics are happening again this summer and that means P&G (Proctor and Gamble) is back with another “Thank You, Mom” commercial that’s eliciting sobs from mothers everywhere. Fasten your water-proof mascara, because this one’s a doozy.

In 2012, P&G debuted its “Thank You Mama- Best Job” commercial for the London Olympics. It was an absolute tearjerker, showing scenes from the lives of four moms and their kids, who all eventually go on to compete at the Olympics in their respective sports. It was a lovely tribute to the dedication of mothers everywhere — letting their kids shine and making it possible for them to realize their dreams, at great personal sacrifice.

The 2016 version is just as moving, but carries a different message. It’s called “Thank You, Mom” and features the tagline, “It takes someone strong to make someone strong.”

I was already tearing up just reading that sentence, so bye.

Anyway, the video itself can be seen here. Please watch it alone unless you enjoy other people seeing all your makeup melt off. Or explaining to your kids that no, nobody died, mommy’s just really happy.

The opening scene shows a little girl watching a tornado approach as her mom beckons her to the safety of their basement. The fear in the child’s eyes vanishes as she sees the calm in her mother’s. We later see she’s an Olympic gymnast. Then, we meet the other athletes.

A volleyball player remembers a car accident when she was a kid and her mother soothing her afterward, telling her she would be okay. A swimmer flashes to his childhood, a moment when an elevator made a scary jolt and his mom looked him right in the eye and told him to “take a deep breath.” A runner remembers being on a plane and hitting some rough turbulence. He looked to his mother, who instantly composes herself, telling him everything’s alright.

Throughout their childhood and training for their sports, we see the mothers helping their children become centered and calm. Projecting their own strength for the benefit of their kids, no matter how scared they might have been themselves.

These scenes are cut with vignettes from the present day where the children are adults, competing in the Olympics. The idea is that they’re drawing on the strength they got from their mothers during difficult moments — both then, and now. The message is so poignant. Moms can be a child’s biggest source of inner strength, their whole lives.

Watching this commercial as a mother is quite an experience. We go about our lives as parents doing what comes naturally — protecting our children from every harm we possibly can. Giving them strength, or at least the illusion of it, even when we want to fall apart ourselves. What we might not do is really think about it. It’s second nature to set aside our own fears to help our kids stay calm and unafraid. Having that fact pointed out to us is a tearjerker for sure.

It’s when I remember how my own mother helped me when I needed to be talked out of a tree that I realize how much I drew from her strength, then and now. I think of that when I see panic rising in my children and do my best to show them that Mommy isn’t scared — and they shouldn’t be either.

Of course, we can’t always hide our fears from our kids, but showing them how we overcome that fear means everything. It gives them the blueprint they’ll use later on in life to deal with the curve-balls life throws at them. It’s a heavy responsibility teaching someone to be strong in the face of all manner of things, but one we wouldn’t trade for the world.

Thanks for making us cry, P&G. And thanks for reminding us that the little things we do every day to soothe and strengthen our children aren’t for nothing.

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