Freaking commercials, amirite? It's like they're specifically designed to tug at the strings of your mom heart until you're a weepy puddle on the floor and your toddler is sweetly asking, "Why mommy cry?" It doesn't matter if you never cried at a commercial before, either. You could've been a stone cold b*tch and incapable of succumbing to emotional manipulation (speaking from experience). Once you're a mom, though, all bets are off. I'm such a mess that I decided to keep a running list of commercials that have made me cry since becoming a mom.
In the past, it was rare that I could be moved to tears by a TV show, movie, or (heaven forbid) commercial. Books could always get to me (The Good Earth, anyone?), but I was bound and determined not to cry over anything the mainstream media had to offer. A Walk to Remember? I fell asleep. When I woke up, I asked my boyfriend, "Did she die yet?" The Notebook? There were two dry eyes in my house. So commercials? Don't even try.
Then I became a mom. Pregnancy hormones change your brain chemistry, and I'm convinced this makes you vulnerable to heartwarming, or heartbreaking, ads. The worst part? They get you all worked up at the same time they're selling you something but, you know, whatever. I've accepted this as an inevitable consequence of my motherhood, so bring it on advertisers. It's time to open the floodgates, moms. Click away and enjoy a good old-fashioned ugly cry.
Dove Men+Care - "Father's Day"
I. Can't. Even. This is a full minute of dads finding out their partners are pregnant. The looks on their faces are hilariously shocked and then endearingly joyful. It brings me back to how I told my husband we were expecting. I placed the pregnancy test on the piano where he always left his keys. Why do they always ask, "Are you pregnant?" It's adorable. Pardon me while I watch this on repeat.
P&G - "Thank You, Mom - Rio 2016 Olympic Games"
The Olympic Games already get me right in the feels. All the stories of overcoming hardship to get to a level most people never will. It's amazing. So let's add inspiring moms to the mix, shall we? I love how these athletes (I know they're actors, but I don't care and am more than happy to put willful suspension of disbelief in full effect), in their most trying moments, reflect back on times when their mothers showed their strength. The pride on those mamas' faces when they watch their children succeed? Priceless.
Budweiser - "Lost Puppy"
Oh, sweet Jesus. Not a puppy. And animal best friends? Just kill me now. Pre-baby, I may not have cried over people dying in movies, but animals always got me. (Can we talk about Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and how I cry when that stupid dog comes over the hill? Every. Damn. Time.) In this ad, the beloved Budweiser Clydesdales save the puppy from f*cking wolves, you guys. When they come running home, it's Shadow all over again. "Peter, my boy!" Why, yes, I will have a beer, thanks.
Similac - "The Mother 'Hood"
This ad starts out funny, but don't be fooled. It's about to get you right in the feels. It pits all the mom squads against each other: breastfeeders vs. formula feeders, baby wearers vs. stroller striders, working moms vs. stay-at-home moms. and so on. Ugh, we're so judgmental of each other.
But wait, what's that in the distance? A pram on the loose! And every single person goes after that baby. Because, oh God, I love my baby and I love your baby and I love all babies.
Amazon Prime - "Cup Of Tea"
Please, someone save me from the holiday commercials. This one doesn't have anything to do with motherhood, but it represents that kind of world I want for my daughter. 2016 was full of discord and divisiveness, so it was encouraging to see people coming together across difference. It's a priest and imam who meet for tea. Both suffer from knee pain, and they send each other the same gift (via OneClick, doy): a knee brace. It's all a little O. Henry (OK, not exactly) for me, and I goddamn love it.
Allegro - "Polish For Beginners"
Even worse than puppies for me? Grandpas. Let's up the ante and make it grandpas at Christmas. My grandfather was the single most important male influence in my young life, and I miss him more than I can express in words. This guy is so dang cute. Polish grandpa learning swears in the bathtub. Stop it. At the end, you see why he's learned English. "Hi, I'm your grandpa." I'm not crying, you're crying.
Elgiganten: "Let The Gifts Talk"
I have special place in my heart for transgender children. They are so bravely living authentically in an unkind, unforgiving world, and many are rejected by their families. I have so much respect for parents of transgender children who advocate for their rights and encourage them to live their truth. Through a small gift of a curling iron, the dad in this commercial tells his transgender daughter that he sees her, accepts her, and loves her for who she is. I cry because not every child is so lucky.
Extra - "Birds (Origami)"
OK, so technically this advertisement came out before my daughter was born. However, thanks to social media and YouTube, I can watch it ad nauseam. I'm an absolute sucker for the daddy-daughter relationship. Dad makes origami cranes out of gum wrappers throughout his daughter's life and when she goes off to college, he finds that she's kept all of them in a shoebox. My baby girl adores her "dada" and even though he's deployed, she kisses his picture on my phone every night. It kills me that they're apart, and this commercial does me in.
Adidas - "Break Free"
Dudes, this isn't even a real ad (a student submitted it), and it gets me. Old man is in a nursing home, and all he wants to do is run again, much to the staff's chagrin. Enter rebellious residents who conspire to help him "break free." My grandma is in assisted living, and I feel so guilty that her great-granddaughter lives so far away. I think motherhood also makes a person come to terms with her own mortality. So, yeah, this makes my eyeholes leak.
Apple - "Mother's Day"
It's just 30 seconds but holy hell what a 30 seconds it is. These are all images shot with the iPhone. It's all the faces of motherhood. The deepest cut? The mom skipping with her daughter. While that's me right now, I know it won't always be. She's going to grow up and I'm going to die and clearly I need the iPhone 7.
Pandora - "The Unique Connection"
This takes the cake, y'all. It's a little experiment in which children are blindfolded and try to pick their mom out of a lineup by touch and smell. Watching how anxious the moms are when it's their child's turn is gut-wrenching. But the kids always pick their own mom. If this doesn't turn you into emotional jelly, I'm sorry, but you're probably a robot. Me? I'll be buying stock in Kleenex.