Navigating Commercial Landmines

Written by Nicole Dean

©Lisa Barker

I’m waiting for one of the kids to ask me what reptile dysfunction is.  There’s no escaping the ads on television.  I imagine how the talk will go so that I’m prepared:

“What er-reptile dysfunction, Momma?”

“It’s what happens when your frog can’t catch flies anymore.  Or when your chameleon can’t change colors.  Or when your lizard can’t grow a tail.  Or when your iguana can’t….”

“Woman, what are you telling them?”

“We’re talking about reptile dysfunction.”

“Your getting your reptiles and amphibians confused.”

“Momma, what happens to Geckos?”

“They get upstaged by whiney cavemen.”


“Don’t worry about them.  They’re upstanding amphibians, I think, very charming and polite.  And they can save you a lot of money.”

This is when I get ‘the look’ from one of my kids.  The very same look I expect to get when I am a great-grandmother and they park me in the corner and send the great-grandbabies over to entertain me and I scare them by popping my dentures out at them.

“Oh, look!  Our show is back on.”  We settle back only to have our entertainment interrupted by more sponsors of products for adults.

“Momma, what’s a tampon?”

“It’s a magic wand that makes women wear white and dance around barefoot once a month.”

I don’t know what’s worse.  Advertising these products for the general public to view—including children—or the brainless writers that actually think women dance around in white clothes when they’re having Auntie Flo over for tea.  There’s no amount of anti-depressants, anti-water-retention, anti-crabbiness, anti-bloating, anti-aching that’s going to make a woman wear white for such occasions.

It’s like those commercials for women’s underwear where they have about twenty women dancing around in their skivvies because they are so happy with the fit.  You’ll never see a commercial for men’s underwear done like that.  Men have standards.

I teach my kids to respect another’s privacy and we’re all embarrassed to be caught in our underwear…but it’s okay to dance around in them on television because you get money for that.

“Momma, what’s herpes?”

“Uhhhhhhhh.”  I can’t think of a good segue.  What do I tell a five-year old?   It’s a sickness that the man has and the woman really, really hopes she doesn’t have?  Think, think, think…herpes, burpies…Slurpees!

“Hey, that reminds me!  When’s the last time we had a Slurpee?”

Phew!  We don’t dwell on STDs too much.  But soon a commercial for Cialis runs.

“What’s ED?”

That again.  “Er-reptile dysfunction.”

“I don’t see any frogs or lizards.  I just see two naked old people in bathtubs.”

“The frogs are in the tubs.”  Or are they toads?  At that age you get a little bumpy like a toad.


“Yeah.  Ewwwwww.”

Jelly Mom™ is written by Lisa Barker, author of “Just Because Your Kids Drive You Insane…Doesn’t Mean You Are A Bad Parent!” and syndicated through Martin-Ola Press/Parent To Parent. To publish Jelly Mom, buy the book or leave comments, please visit


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