08/06/2014 01:47 pm ET Updated Oct 06, 2014

What Nine West's 'First Day of Kindergarten' Ad Gets Wrong

Oh, Nine West, home of affordable fun shoes and witness to every meaningful event in my 20s and 30s, I feel you have lost your way. For years, you were my go-to for office-appropriate heels, strappy sandals and the occasional New Year's Eve stiletto. You were reliable and trustworthy with just the right amount of whimsy and sparkle. It is possible, however, that your ad department has gotten a bit carried away with the whimsy.

I'm going to be honest. I am not a fan of your new Fall 2014 ad campaign. It's clever and I appreciate witty, but I wonder if anyone in your ad department is a parent. This wouldn't matter normally, except your "First Day of Kindergarten" collection seems to be targeted at women with little kids, and I'm not sure you know any of us. I'm here to help, though -- so let me show you where I think you went astray.


First things first. I don't know moms who wear these shoes. This is not to say that we aren't fashionable, chic and sexy women. It's just that we know better than to try to get kids, lunch boxes, school supplies and the family dog to the bus stop in anything other than flats. We cannot be out with a broken ankle in September. Shoes at this time of year are not about fashion; they're about survival. I personally wear flip-flops. My neighbor wears mismatched sneakers. No one dares anything more than a kitten heel.

What's more, we are perfectly capable of dropping our kids off for the first day of school without sobbing, even on the first day of kindergarten. Especially on the first day of kindergarten. Some of us, and I'm not naming names, have been known to do a happy dance once the bus pulls away. You can't jump for joy in stilettos. Not practical. Also, I don't need to numb my feelings with shoe shopping. I want to feel all the feelings because they are good. The house is quiet -- at least for six or seven hours.

Which gets me to my next point. I would like to meet the person on your ad team who thinks that once school starts, parents get "weeks off." That person is very good at his/her job, because this campaign is getting a ton of press. I am, however, concerned that he or she has absolutely no idea what parenting is all about. It's true that school creates a routine and structure missing in summer. I cannot deny that the first day back is heady. The house is silent. There are no 9:00 a.m. cries of "I'm bored!" I do not have to make snacks an hour after breakfast or feel guilty because I let my son watch four episodes of The Legends of Chima so I could get something done. I suddenly have a block of time during which I can work without interruption. Then it hits me. I only have six and a half hours to cram in all the work that I really need ten hours to do. Because at 2:50, come hell or high water, the kid comes home. After school is a second shift of homework, snacks, meal preparation, running to and from activities, baths and bedtime. Moms who work outside the home don't suddenly get a magical vacation when their kids go back to school, either. So no, not so much with the "weeks off."

Moms also do not toss extra Kleenex on the floor. We hoard Kleenex in our giant miracle purses that hold supplies enough for a small army brigade. We would not ever waste Kleenex, particularly at the start of the school year when kids start coming home sick every. single. day. Kleenex is gold. I want to run into that picture and pick up all the tissues, flatten them out, lovingly refold them and put them in my bag.

Speaking of buying Kleenex, do you know how many boxes of Kleenex teachers ask for at the beginning of the year? This is a new world order. In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, I purchase an enormous list of classroom supplies thoughtfully provided by my child's teacher, as well as a new backpack, lunch box, school clothes, lice deterrent shampoo, notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, a thousand erasers and labels of every shape and size to make sure that at least some of this stuff actually makes it back home once in a while. When I put my kid on the bus, I'm not only exhausted, I'm broke. Who has money for something as frivolous as a pair of peep toe booties, no matter how fabulous (and vertiginous)? I could, however, get very excited about a collection of kids' sneakers that magically expand so they don't grow out of them in a couple of months and won't wear out after a few weeks on the playground.

All that being said, the ad is not totally without merit. I like the coat. I do. Although, if the model is anything like the moms I know, she needs to be wearing PJs under that thing.

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