The presidential debates are always tiresome, but this year's in particular have been... a lot. From interruptions to shouting and name-calling, it's obvious that the debate moderators have had to pull some mom skills out of the hat. (Chris Wallace, you could use some more practice, my man.) No mom skill was highlighted more than when Kristen Welker moderated the final presidential debate like an exhausted mom at bedtime. Every time one of the candidates tried to answer a question after she told them time was up, she'd insist they move onto the next segment, they would argue, and she'd end with a heavy sigh of, "Very quickly."
"Very quickly" is something I say every night as I tuck in my 6-year-old for bed. I've given her water, I've read her books, I've sang her songs, and just as I've got one foot into the hallway, straddling the line between parenting duties and Netflix-and-drool-on-the-couch time, she stops me. "Mommy! I have to tell you something."
I sigh. "Very quickly."
And much like President Donald Trump and former Vice President Biden, my 6-year-old never follows the "very quickly" rule when it's time to share her latest Minecraft creation in excruciating detail from her bed. She knows if she doesn't drag out some story about bats and echolocation or building a house out of diamonds and oak doors, leaving me in no man's land between the hallway and her Barbie-strewn carpet, she loses all power.
Much like the presidential candidates yelling out responses after Welker has already said "very quickly" and "we're moving on" and "No, President Trump, you just had a glass of water and I don't want you sleepwalking to pee again in an hour, stop it."
Of course, sometimes the interruptions are warranted. Maybe if one of the candidates had said "Can I respond? I'd just like to say I love you so much and you're my best friend and maybe tomorrow we can eat ice cream and play LEGOs, Kristen," it would've made the rest of the "Mr. President, we're moving on" moments more bearable. But presidential candidates are not 6-year-olds (although sometimes they are just as cranky), and instead Welker just got all of the boring, terrible, "Mommy, I need to tell you something!" moments.
(Also can we just talk about how children wait until bedtime, roughly 15 seconds before you walk out of the room, to drop some big life observation on you? "Mommy? I was just wondering... will we turn into dirt when we die or the wind?")
In all honesty, I thought Welker did a pretty bang-up job at handling this debate. She spoke up and over the voices when she needed to, she reminded them of their time limits, she gave both candidates adequate time to respond, and she 100% has the voice of every mom reminding a child she's in charge.
But does that stop the children from pleading with you to share just one more fart joke? No. No, it doesn't. And apparently it doesn't stop presidential candidates from begging for just one more response.
I'm sorry, Kristen. I hope you can sit on your couch, surrounded by all the clean laundry you need to fold, and shove mini KitKats into your mouth faster than you can change the channel from PJ Masks to Netflix tonight. If one of them tries to interrupt you again, just remind them — "very quickly."