Wow, there are some seriously perturbed moms out there! What’s got them so upset? A new TV show on TLC called The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom. The show’s premise: Stay-at-home mom (Tracey Gold) is given a chance to go back in time and discover what her life would have been had she not given up her dream career.
Sounds like something almost every mom would love, right? Apparently not.
Newsweek reported on the ugly response from miffed moms:
If the initial reaction to the “Secret Life of a Soccer Mom,” (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET) is any indication, TLC has struck one of the rawest nerves of parenting.
TLC’s online message boards were jammed with comments from women outraged that Adrian (one of the featured Soccer Moms) would choose a career over being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM in parent lingo). The posts said the premise of the show is “sick” and Adrian is “selfish.” One mom wrote, “Let’s show the other side of the story … how the kids’ world is going to be turned upside down by having to go to day care.” Another woman goes even further: “Unless you’re about to starve there is no reason for you to be at work. If you didn’t want to raise your children, you should not have had them. It’s child abandonment.”
Hmm… How do you really feel?
Women have been in the workforce for decades now, but the tension between moms who stay at home and those who, by choice, have jobs outside the home continues to brew. When in mixed company, mothers on both sides of the fence tend to tiptoe around the subject. Totally unvarnished confessions of either boredom or guilt are usually left to gatherings of moms of one’s own kind.
This is one of the many reasons why marketing to “Soccer Moms” is tricky. These women have so many conflicting views, habits, motivations, and needs. Promote a successful woman who has it all in her career and you risk alienating the stay-at-home moms. Focus only on a mother’s life at home with her kids and you risk alienating moms who don’t want that to define who they are.
These are some dangerous waters. Here are some comments from the show’s message board:
• “Horrible show. Don’t have children if you are not prepared to raise them, plain and simple. Someone mentioned how many school shooting were there is the 1950′s? Go ask your grandmothers how much crime was around when she was a young women, how many children walked around with anger and “issues.” Nothing like today because of the feminist movement, women began working and thinking they could have it all, but when you work and have children, you are sacrificing them for your work.”
• “I cannot believe this debate is still such an issue. Everyone needs to grow up and get over it! Some moms work, some moms don’t, other choose to, others have to. I commend the show for bringing this to light, not all moms want to be at home 24/7. We do not assume a dad should stay home? I am working mom, my kids are well mannered, happy, content, intelligent kids who love life and love their parents. I know a lot of great working moms, teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, laborers, and more, without them our work force would be male dominated, should they stop having kids because of this?”
• “I have read most of these post on here, the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I will agree with you that most of them on here are full of whining women, trying to put themselves on pedestals, that’s the only point I can agree with you on. I am a stay at home mother of three great kids, but I by no means think that I am any more important or any higher caliber of a mother any of my friends who have kids and work out of the home.”
And those were some of the nicer posts! The point is, these women have hugely differing opinions, motivations, needs, self images, and positions on motherhood. It’s why I just have to laugh when marketers target “Soccer Moms” and think they can speak to them all the same way.
One final point. The very wording use to describe the premise of the show is offending these women:
I just had to share this. I was looking around TLC’s website and found this on the page where you can apply to be on one of their shows. According to them this show is celebrating stay-at-home moms. Celebrating? Yeah, right. Read below.quote:
Celebrating Stay-at-Home Moms!
Are you or is someone you know a stay-at-home mom? Is your life filled with driving the kids from soccer practice, piano lessons, dance classes and back home with barely enough time to get food on the table? Do you feel like everyday is for someone else with no time left for you? If your answer is yes, TLC is looking for you to be a part of a wonderful new show celebrating “soccer moms”.If you’ve put your needs on the backburner to run a world of diapers, dishes and laundry, we want you! E-mail us your information at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to how the world views “Soccer Moms”.
Is this how you view a Soccer Mom? If it is, you may be hurting your efforts to market to this widely diverse group. If you want to market to these moms, you’ll have to do your homework. You’ll have to dig deep to see what’s going on in their minds and in their hearts.
If she’s feeling resentful of having to always stay home and take care of the kids, is she really going to share that openly?
[Editor's Note: Holly Buchanan is co-author of The Soccer Mom Myth — Today's Female Consumer: Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys, and co-instructor of our Persuasive Online Copywriting seminar on March 28th in San Francisco.]