Oh, election seasons; those not-so-magical but very necessary times when we engage in political discourse for far too long. They seem to last forever, they're often hyped up and very dramatic, and they can leave us using that ole "block" button on our social media feeds more frequently than normal. I used to, sadly, not care about politics. Then, my younger brother joined the military and, six years later, I had a baby. While having a family member in the armed forced made politics important, I have no doubt that being a mom prepares you for election seasons in a way that very few things can. You'll be informed, you'll be involved and you'll be able to weather the storm that comes along with being engaged.
It's kind of "cool," these days, to hate politics and the political season. When scrolling through my social media feeds in the morning, I'm bound to find more than a few "I hate politics," and "I can't wait for it to all be over," and "I'm about to block everyone who posts anything political because that's not what your social media should be used for," status updates. While I can understand the sentiment (I mean, politics are draining, and that's a fairly nice description of the process), I also believe that being involved in local, state and federal politics is vital, especially when you're a mother. The decisions we make now, as a nation, alter the world and the future we will one day hand to our children. We have friends and family members and coworkers we all care about, who are all affected by politics (some more than others, of course). We want great schools and safer communities and more possibilities for our children, and voting for the best politicians facilitates those needs. Can it be annoying? Sure. But it is important that we be involved and vote and make our voices heard, for the betterment of our children (and everyone else)? Absolutely.
Thankfully, as a mother, you'll be able to handle the election season like a champ. Being involved, while important, isn't always easy, but you have done it before in other avenues of your life and, well, talking politics is a breeze now. Sort of. OK, it's probably still hard, but at least you'll be well prepared in the following ways:
You're Used To Arguing With Someone Who Doesn't Make Any Sense
At this point, as I am well-versed in the language of angry toddlers, I feel like I would rock any and all presidential debates. Not only could I hold my own on a national debate stage, but I've learned how to engage in political conversations via social media like a boss, too.
Honestly, talking politics isn't all that different from talking about motherhood: everyone thinks they're right and their beliefs are superior and they know all the answers. It's not uncommon for people to get heated and for passionate beliefs to turn into nasty name-calling and for even the most sound arguments to fall by the wayside in the name of cheap one-liners.
You're Used To Being Yelled At For No Discernable Reason
Sometimes my toddler son will yell at me and I really can't understand why. I don't know what he's saying or what is driving him to be so emotionally charged, and I've learned not to take it personally. He's just a kid with lots of feelings and he's trying to work through them.
Talking politics with someone online can be much of the same. I'm getting yelled at for simply existing and voicing an opinion, I'm not necessarily sure why or what is being said, but I'm not going to take it personally because, hey, you have feelings, buddy. I get it.
You're Pretty Great At "Spotting The Lie"
My son will spill a cup of water right in front of me, set the cup down on the coffee table beside me, then look directly at me and smile. When I ask him if he spilled he will sweetly say, "No, mama." OK, kid. You'll make a great politician one day.
You Know How To Pick And Choose Your Battles
With my son, I know when it's worth engaging and when it isn't. I know what deserves (and warrants) my energy and effort, and what doesn't. You can say the same about politics. When scrolling through Facebook and seeing a profoundly false, absolutely ignorant post about some political candidate or policy, I know that really, and truly, it's not worth it. It's not worth engaging with someone and starting a debate-turned-argument that will get absolutely no one anywhere. I also know when, yes, it is worth pointing out horrible and dangerous stances that promote violence or bigotry or racism. It's all about assessing what you can handle, just like motherhood.
You Know How To Weed Your Way Through A Never-Ending Stream Of Information
When doing my "mom research" to try and find a particular set of information that is going to benefit me and my parenting, I often have to weed through the bullsh*t. For every helpful article, there are seventeen fictitious ones that spew myths instead of actual, helpful, facts-based research. Sound familiar? There's a lot of information out there during an election year. Both sides want to make the other look bad and some journalist integrity, well, falls by the wayside and what is said isn't always what is truthful or honest. It pays to know how to weed your way through the constant messages, so that you can come to a conclusion on your own and be as informed as possible.
You Know That No Matter What You Do, Someone Will Disagree With You
You can't win when you're a mom, and you can't win when you're a human being voicing your political opinion. Someone is going to disagree with you. Someone is going to think you're doing it wrong. Someone is going to think you'll benefit from their unsolicited advice or opinion; that you'll eventually "see things their way," and all will be right in the world. Godspeed, mom. Godspeed.
You're Capable Of Seeing The Bigger Picture
It can be really easy to get caught up and focused on one specific thing, when it comes to your child. You can start worrying about their sleep habits or worry about them hitting milestones, completely forgetting that sleep regressions happen and every kid hits different strides at different times. Seeing the bigger picture, and knowing that certain decisions are and need to be made now so that they can be helpful later, is vital when you're a parent.
The same can be said for politics. It can be easy to get caught up in one specific news cycle or focus on one detail about one political pundit, and miss the bigger picture. Thankfully, when you're a mom, you know how important it is to keep your eye on the prize.
You Won't Be Shocked If A Few Friendships Suffer Because Of It
Sadly, some friendships end after you become a mom. Whether it's just a natural progression of a relationship and two people making two different life choices, or it's two mom friends who don't see eye-to-eye and, therefore, can no longer get along, motherhood can (and usually does) alter friendships.
So does an election season. Suddenly, you're well aware of your friend's political stances and, well, they won't always mesh well with yours. Hopefully, you can both learn to respect one another's differences and engage in helpful, informative debates that foster learning and compromise. However, if you can't, you know that sometimes saying goodbye to a friend is the healthiest thing to do.
You Know That, Sometimes, You Just Have To Wait For The Storm To Pass
Hey, it won't always be this way. Your toddler won't always be throwing a tantrum, and neither will a presidential candidate. Eventually, the storm will pass and all will be right with the world. Hopefully.
You Know That The Decisions You Make Now, Shape Future Generations
As annoying as an election season can be, and as exhausting as politics (in general) can be, mothers know that they're also extremely important. It's important to be informed and be part of the political process and go vote, so that you can help prepare the world for the next generation, and prepare the next generation for the world. Sure, it would probably be easier to see nothing but pictures of cute babies and puppies and cats on our social feeds, but moms understand that we don't have the luxury of not participating. We can't "sit this one out," because "this one" can and will change the world our children will live in. We know that it's worth seeing political posts on social feeds and gritting your teeth through awkward debates, because this is our children we're talking about.