Bringing politics into parenting doesn’t mean I pick a fight everywhere I go. And I promise not to share any of my personal beliefs here; however, I want to encourage each and every one of the moms in my life to consider how they engage with politics and know they are setting an example and can make a difference. Here are a few ways I bring politics INTO parenting.
I know I grew up being told there were a handful of topics we simply don’t discuss, and I firmly believe that’s a big part of why we are where we are now – with big topics being ignored and set aside. Something I’ve noticed becoming harder these days is to not just communicate, but actually debate a topic of choice without things getting ugly fast. With social media becoming the medium of choice, sides often get blown out of proportion and the battles can get quite ugly. What’s worse, I have friends afraid to put up signs for or against a local levy as they fear repercussions from neighbors or vandalism.
Imagine if our kids could hear us talking to one other, sharing our viewpoint(s), providing reasons why we think what we do, and either concluding we simply don’t agree or finding common ground (I think this is possible more often than not). What a difference that could make!
We don’t have to agree on ANYTHING at all. Seriously. But we mamas have a lot to stick up for: our kids, our homes, our rights in and out of the workplace, the educational options available to our families, the taxes we pay, our healthcare, the list goes on. So – bring politics into parenting by doing your homework with your kids, helping throughout the process and be more open to conversations with others outside of your own bubble of comfort. Let’s teach our kids what is possible when we are part of the process.
*As a side note – I do recommend starting conversations with friends and family before engaging with others, as you know you’re in a “safe space” to agree to disagree.
I hear so many who feel they are only a small piece of the puzzle and their vote doesn’t matter. This simply isn’t true. Numbers matter, especially in local township/city races which may have a more direct impact on you. Consider ways you can get involved in the process. When you can, bring the politics into parenting and get the kiddos to help, too! Wear shirts or buttons, put up signs, listen to candidates – whatever suits you.
There are many reasons why women should vote. But please don’t leave the kids home on Election Day. Yes, they can be annoying. Yes, some of the older folks may give you an eye, but bringing the politics into parenting, in this case, is SO worth it, I promise. Mine love to see the machine grab my ballot and of course, we all get a sticker! We have a great conversation about what we did, how we each earned the right to vote, and how different it is around the world. We’ve turned it into a fun night with ice cream, and watching the stats change on TV with my oldest. This is a right not everyone has – cherish it, and use it as a teachable moment.
While I haven’t gone this route myself, if you’re one to lead, speak up for others, or simply know you have something more to give, please consider running for something. I know my ears perk up when I know a mother is on the ballot. I know what she’s capable of managing behind the scenes. I know what’s likely to be in her heart. And while I don’t ever blindly vote for anyone, I always am sure to get my homework done so I can choose the representative that best matches me. My son has enjoyed doing this homework with me, learning how to make lists and organize ideas we have about candidates. As Ruth Bader Ginsberg says, “Women belong in all places decisions are made,” so know you do belong at the table.
While I wish I could just turn the TV and radio off, ignore social media and keep my head in the sand, as a mom, I know I can’t. There are some in office now who don’t represent me, my family, and what matters to us. I hope every mama knows the power they have when they exercise their right to vote; as statistically if every woman who is eligible to vote did, we could truly lead every decision there is to make. Don’t be afraid to bring politics into your parenting – let’s do this ladies!