Since the political conventions of the last two weeks, the media seems obsessed with "who won the mom vote." For lack of a better word, all I can say is, ew.
A bachelor of science degree does not make me a political scientist and my only claim to being a parenting expert, is that I have children. However, I am an American woman, and lucky for me, my country says that means I have a voice. So here's what I have to say: My vote is no more a "mom vote," than my husband's vote is a "dad vote." Though we are most definitely parents.
Issues of education, security, taxes, equality of marriage, and healthcare, certainly will impact my children. However, I am not so singularly focused as the media would have you believe. My vote is not for the two children who live in my home. My vote is for this nation. If I vote according to what I believe is best for my country, then surely my children's best interest will be covered. Why should the breadth of my vote be minimized simply because I have children? How much more work does Gloria Steinem have to do? Where can I sign up to help her?
The face of parenting in this nation has changed dramatically over the last generation. 66% of women in 2011 had jobs. And over the last decade, “the number of men who have left the work force entirely to raise children has more than doubled." Women and men alike are sharing parenting responsibilities. Yet, you don't hear the media concerned over the "dad vote." Though maybe they should be.
In the last two weeks, two women stood up to speak; Ann Romney at the Republican National Convention, and Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
Both women affected me deeply. Michelle Obama made me stand up and cheer while involuntary tears of inspiration streamed down my face. Ann Romney just made me mad.
"Well, that was offensive," said my husband after Ann Romney stopped talking.
Well, no, Ann, actually I don't know that's true. Not in my house. Not in my neighborhood. No, that's not true at all. Just as my vote is no louder than my husband's vote, neither is my "sigh." When our children are hurt or scared, my husband doesn't roll his eyes and say, "Honey, you deal with it. I think I'll drink a beer and talk to some other men who don't give a shit about their children either."And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it? It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. It's the moms of this nation ... who really hold this country together ... You know it's true, don't you?
I know that I work no harder than my husband to make anything "right," but I also have no idea what that means. So, I'll just skip it.
Moms of this nation do not hold this country together. The people of this nation, women and men, with and without children, and children themselves, work together to create a complete, complex, diverse society where no one group is valued above another.
How dare she dismiss the efforts of my husband, and my friend's husbands, my father and my father-in-law, my grandfathers, and my uncles. These are men who love their families deeply. Fatherhood, and all that comes along with it, is just as valued in my community as motherhood. Belittling their power as fathers, does not make me feel stronger as a mother. In fact, it is our shared effort that has made our lives full. To lessen that shared strength is a testament to just how out of touch with the "mom vote," Ann Romney, and the Republican Party, seem to be.
Meanwhile, this nation's "Mom-in-Chief," Michelle Obama, clearly understands the world I am living in. While she chooses to prioritize motherhood, as made evident by her self-imposed nickname, she doesn't assume that a) all women are mothers or b) that all mothers are better than fathers. In fact, Michelle recognizes that for some men, her own father included, the measure of manhood is in the strength of his fathering.
And later she commented:
Contemporary parenthood reflects a shared commitment to raising children and a shared commitment to citizenship. I expect our politicians (and their representatives) to understand that.
The candidate's wives' speeches are quite secondary to this campaign; however, they are reflective of the overall party attitudes. So, Mass Media, to answer your question of who is getting my "mom vote," I say ... no one.
My "person vote" however will be for the father of Michelle Obama's children.
Click here to read my open invitation to Michelle Obama - Michelle Obama, Zombie Brains, and Me.