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April 10, 2008

I Love a Good Freebie

BagSome people dream about being celebrity for the glamor.  Some people want the fame.  Some, the chance to leave their mark on the world.  Me?  I want the swag.

B.K. (Before kids) I worked in television, where the perks were, if not many, at least extant.  I got a cool Nickelodeon jean jacket, an HBO watch, Lifetime hats and t-shirts, sports equipment from ESPN.
Now, as a mostly-at-home Mom I get....a lot of groceries.  That I pay for.

I miss the freebies.  The lunches that were served in post-production houses every day, courtesy of my clients.  The snack carts they wheeled in at around 4pm every day.  The stash of office supplies that meant I never had to spend twenty-minutes looking for scotch tape because SOMEONE had taken it from the kitchen to do an art project involving sea-shells, Lincoln Logs and the hair recently cut off a Barbie's head.

But since I've been posting on this site, the freebies have started trickling in.  I already wrote about the hangers.  Quite validating they were, too.  (Plus, the fabulous new dress I just bought doesn't slip off those Joy Mangano beauties.)  There was our launch party, sponsored by Graco and Yahoo.  And then last week, I went to the Hudson Hotel for a Weight Watchers event for women in media, and got all kinds of good stuff.  Like low-point cookies and snacks, (these chocolates were so good I couldn't believe it!) a book of quick WW recipes, and coupons galore. And again, it wasn't so much about getting the free stuff (though did I mention?  I like free stuff) as about feeling, once again, like someone cares if I'm "taken care of."

I sat there sipping coffee and eating a low-cal breakfast in the Hudson Hotel's meeting room, taking in the super-hip vibe, the Jonathan Adler carefully color-coordinated decor, and thought - "Ahhhhhh. Almost as good as getting a massage! And it's free!"  (Plus, contrary to what I posted here, the WW thing is working for me lately, so I'm especially thrilled to get all their swag.)

Face it, a mom's job is to take care of her kids.  To keep them safe, make them feel loved, feed them, clean them, pick 'em up and dust 'em off when they fall.  And a lot of us forget to take care of ourselves. We don't eat right (hence the need for those Weight Watchers freebies), we don't exercise enough, we don't indulge ourselves.  We indulge our kids.  They get private lessons and shiny new bikes, and the latest Pokemon or Webkinz thing.  We get -- well, we get to buy it all for them. I'm not really complaining, mind you, I could, after all, do all that stuff for myself, (though I'd rather have the latest Kooba bag than the latest Webkinz) I just don't.  Mostly because it feels funny to pamper myself, and not quite as satisfying as having someone else do it for you. (Kind of like another adult pastime I vaguely remember from my before-kids days!)

Freebies make us feel appreciated.  By clients, or vendors, or corporations.  And who among us hasn't bought "just one more" product to get the free goody bag from the Clinique counter?  Even when that goody bag invariably includes things like the tiniest bottle of moisturizer ever (for those trips you never take anymore),a plastic fold-up hairbrush that you never use because for curly girls brush = frizz,  and eyeshadow and lipstick in shades more suitable to princess dress-up parties than grown-up usage.  All wrapped up in the vinyl evening bag perfect for a night out on the town.  If that town were somewhere where people actually wore plastic evening bags festooned with cosmetic company logos.  The point is, it doesn't really matter what the freebie is, people like freebies.  I've seen them lined up three-deep at Bloomingdales on give-away days.  It ain't just me.

Mothering is essentially about others, not yourself.  And in the words of Martha Stewart, that's a good thing.  It's just nice, every once in a while, to get something that's not about anyone but you.  Not you the mom, or you the caretaker.  Just you.  The person you were BK and still are AK, albeit with a little more spit-up stuck in your hair.

So all you freebie givers out there!  Come and gift me!

An original post to New York City Moms Blog.

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