Okay, moms out there, here’s a question for you. How many items have you spent money on because it was supposed to be a new product that made life more convenient for you? I ask this question because I just received my new “One Step Ahead” catalog in the mail. While browsing through it I noticed quite a few products that are touted as being easy to use, convenient, and a time saver. What I also noticed is that many of these products just seem to be another stupid and unnecessary gimmick to make us part with our money.
There is a gadget for cutting sandwiches into quarters and removing the crust all in one stroke. It even seals the edges of the sandwich to minimize oozing. It’s yours for only $5.95. Excuse me, but are we really that lazy and that pressed for time that we can’t just take any old knife in our utensil drawer and cut the sandwich into quarters and if your child is picky cut the crust off? Must we really spend almost $6.00 to do this? Does cutting a sandwich with a knife take that long that we need a special tool to do it?
Or how about this one? A bowl with an extended lip to help catch the food that drops from your toddler’s spoon and mouth. The lip will help the food roll right back into the bowl. It suctions to the table too so it can’t be knocked on the floor. Umm, isn’t the whole purpose of being a kid to make messes while they practice how to do things correctly? And shouldn’t we be trying to teach them manners about not throwing their bowls instead of preventing them from learning right and wrong? But hey, if you really must then go ahead and spend your $6.95.
Here’s another one that blew me away. Now there is a flushable toddler urinal. Peter Potty (I swear that’s what it’s called), supposedly helps potty train your little boy faster than sitting on the potty. No need for extra plumbing. This toddler sized urinal has a fillable tank and removable holding tray that stores up to a whole days worth of your kid’s pee-pee. How long do you think it will take your toddler to learn how to open the tank and holding tray and dump that whole day’s worth of pee-pee on your floor? If he’s anything like mine I give it a day before you’re pulling out the mop and washing the bathroom rug. The cost for this lovely invention is only $39.95.
There are others that caused me to question the insanity of all these new-fangled conveniences but the three above were my favorites. Don’t get me wrong I like convenience and I have shelled out money for items that looked good but turned out to be totally unnecessary – like the juice box caddy that holds any size juice box and prevents your little one from squeezing the actual juice box and having juice shoot up everywhere. We never use it. But I’m always amazed at all these things that are marketed to parents, and moms in particular, that if one really thinks about it aren’t necessary. I mean really, how did the grown men in our lives ever learn to pee standing up before Peter Potty came along?
Is it any wonder we are a nation in debt and our children are growing up helpless? We spend thousands of dollars on items that we could do without. We get these magazines and catalogs that market items that protect our children’s every move and give us a false sense of security. We don’t allow our children to learn through trial and error. And we’ve convinced ourselves that we need products to help us do what prior generations did themselves. All to supposedly save us a few minutes, protect our children, and teach them faster.
Why do we feel that this new way is better than the old way? Are we teaching our children that they should listen to marketing propaganda over common and financial sense? Are we teaching them that taking risks and getting hurt is always bad? How will they deal with the real world if we protect their every move? How will they learn to handle disappointment and hurt (both physical and emotional) if we don’t let them make mistakes? And how will they have the perseverance to learn all the new things life throws at us or climb those big adversities we all face at some point if we constantly coddle them and never teach them to learn through trial and error?
It seems to me that our grandparents generation (or for some of you maybe it’s your great-grandparents) was stronger and more independent. Maybe surviving the Great Depression where you learned that life isn’t always easy and sometimes you have to work hard and take risks taught them to be stronger people. Maybe because they had to make their own toys and find clever ways of amusing themselves they learned to be more creative. They had to figure things out on their own, work hard, and take risks to get what they wanted. Nothing was handed to them. People expected them to learn manners and to eventually stand on their own two feet.
I think we’ve gotten carried away with how many gadgets we think we need to make our lives easier. I also wonder why we think we can’t raise our children without buying all these products? Maybe it’s time we all take a step back and really think about what’s behind all this marketing blitz and our need to buy it all? Do we really need it or have we been brainwashed into thinking we do?