Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to School with a busted budget, some bling & an inferiority complex

Remember when Back to School was covered by a Trapper Keeper, some paper and a few pens? Those days are long gone, Mamas. But you already know this if you've been looking at the 16-page supply list sent home by your child's school. This year, my son's list includes paper towels, hand sanitizer, kleenex, and two different sizes of ziploc baggies. I don't even have 2 sizes of ziploc bags in my kitchen.

Shopping for school clothes has also floated up into a whole new ridiculous realm. I can't remember ever seeing advertisers going after kids for back to school purchases quite so aggressively. I was recently contacted by Kmart to blog about their new Back to School ad campaign for tweens. Although I do appreciate the fact that the marketing folks at Kmart took the time to learn that I blog about issues that are relevant to moms of preteen and teenage girls, they still missed the boat with me.

Blogging to raise awareness about a wonderful program to feed the hungry, to help moms with the dreaded sex-talk, to introduce an awesome yet little known product for girls, or to highlight a safe girl-friendly alternative to social networking... those are things that I'm more than happy to promote here on Reign. Another clothes-horse campaign that pushes the notion that kids (especially girls) can't be happy unless they look, dress and act a certain way ... not so much.

Have you seen recent back to school campaigns like this, this and this? Same tired message in pretty new wrapping. Who needs the three Rs when you've got the three... um... well, whatever three letters you feel like pulling from... Hotness Factor, Label Love, and Brand-name Bling (not "bling" as in jewelry only, but bling as in all things show-offy and status symbol-y like phones, portable games, mp3 players, blackberries and other expensive toys and accessories).

Of course, playing on perfectly natural social insecurities of adolescents (Will I fit in? Am I good/pretty/cool enough? Will he/she notice me?) and parental worries about kids' well-being to make a sale is a standard marketing tactic, but that doesn't mean that I have to support it here. Yes, parents do have the strongest influence when it comes to children developing healthy self-esteem, but damn we've got a lot of competition.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Linking & Loving all Summer: Shaping Youth

Big news. Consumer sales are down. No kidding. Even if you have a job, you're most likely holding on to as much of your paycheck as possible. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring in this economy? Hitting the mall is not at the top of any one's to-do list these days.

On a positive note, with parents reigning in their spending, kids have no choice but to tone down their consumer-crazy cravings as well. As the ever-enlightened Amy Jussel over at Shaping Youth points out, "Sale" is taking on a whole new hip vibe, which is fine with me. Despite kids still being bombarded with constant advertising, and then bombarding their parents with constant whining for new crap (or cash to buy new crap), it looks like Ma and Pa are finally telling Junior and little Suzy to be happy with what they have, wait for it to go on sale, or get a damn job. Value is back in vogue. Check out Amy's post to find how parents, teens, businesses and community orgs are working to combat the commercial pull.

Let's see how long this trend lasts. Marketers worked their asses off to get hold of their little golden geese... they won't be letting them go so easily.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Want to help fight hunger right now? Just leave a comment!

More than 36 million Americans go to bed hungry every night - 12 million of them are children.

If someone told you that you could help fight hunger just by typing a few words, you would do it right? Well I'm telling you that you can!

The folks at ShopRite supermarket have recognized the pervasive problem of hunger experienced by so many people in the neighborhoods served by their stores. They've tackled the problem with the ShopRite Partners in Caring Program. For those of us who have a ShopRite in the neighborhood, we can just look for the special "ShopRite Partners In Caring" shelf tag. When we buy those products, the manufacturers will make a donation to the program. Easy-peasy!

But now, you don't even have to live near a Shop Rite to join the fight against hunger. You can do it right here! For the first 30 comments left here on Reign of the Girl-Child, General Mills and ShopRite will donate one box of cereal to a food bank in ShopRite’s trading area.

It's all a part of ShopRite's Bloggers in Caring Program and I'm more than happy to help. Thirty boxes of cereal may not sound like much, but when each box is going to a family who may be having trouble putting food on the table, it means a whole lot. So leave a comment and help the cause. That's it! Tell me that's not the easiest good deed you've ever done in your life!

NOTE: If you're reading this on Face Book, click here to leave your comment directly on Reign so it can be counted. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Locked in the closet…hiding from children.

Yeah, I've done it! And you know you've done it too, Mamas! You've been tired, had 10 things going at once, kids raising a ruckus in the next room and you thought you might pull your hair out. So you turned down the burners, hung up the phone, made sure all offspring were in a safe, well-ventilated area and you just slipped away for a few minutes.

Hell, every Mama needs a friggin' break! Don't let anyone tell you different… hiding from children on occasion is not a bad thing!

When my kids were younger, my escapes would take place within the realm of the house: a bathroom, an empty bedroom, a closet; basically wherever it was quiet and child-free. Of course within minutes I would be found and called forth from said sanctuary because someone was hungry, needed a diaper change, had looked at someone the wrong way, couldn’t find a sock, or desperately needed to tell (for the 8th time) the story about how the squirrel in the yard chased a cat up a tree.

But this summer I've entered a whole new era of escape...{cue celestial light and angelic harp music}. My kids are older. They're off all day at camp, at friends' houses or having summertime excursions with saintly Aunts and Uncles who don't mind having children around. So with me being at home more, my escapes are... well... a bit more complex. Take today for example.

Here's me running errands this afternoon.

You know: the cleaners, the bank, the supermarket. Phew, busy busy.

I am still consulting, so I had to put in a few hours at the office...

Here's a co-worker of mine off to a meeting.

Tomorrow, I'll be stressed about the work situation, the economy, paying for college in 3 years, what's for dinner, and how the hell I'm supposed to get those black scuff marks off a white floor.

Today, I'm getting inspired. Promise me you'll go out and do the same!
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