I can't tell you how relieved I am to know that my job as a mother is not up for re-election.
Finicky voters don't reelect people who say "no" to them. (Can I eat this entire batch of cookie dough? Pleeeease?) They don't reelect people who are 10 minutes late picking them up either. (I was the last one!) And they certainly don't reelect people who continue to insist that a piece of fresh fruit is a sumptuous dessert. (Apple slices, Mom? Seriously?)
I know I'd be lying if I declared the words, "Read my lips, no new chores!" and what’s more, so would they. I have been known to deliver a convincing speech or two, but it’s usually lumbering around my kitchen making the same kind of hand gestures you see slick politicians use for the camera, except I have on oven mitts. And my go-to stump speeches aren't met with rolling thunderous applause. More like rolling eyeballs.
If I were up for reelection, would my children divide into polarized parties, one advocating little parental involvement and power back to the kids, and the other promoting the expansion of my role to include everything from doing their science projects for them to shelling out hefty bi-weekly allowances regardless of chores completed?
When it comes to their college funds, would there be heated exchanges around the dinner table with my grade-schoolers spouting out phrases like “incentive programs,” “subsidies,” and “entitlement reform?”
Would I have to cave on our ongoing bedtime debate in order to get my bill for non-stop 30-minute piano practice sessions pushed through the house? Would I be forced to resort to covert rendezvous in the McDonald’s on the outskirts of town in order to cobble together shady deals over Happy Meals?
Would I have to finagle endorsements from "cool" parents and promise them something like free babysitting in return? Would I owe so many favors to those cooler moms and dads that my own position as mother would be compromised?
Would lobbyists come out of the woodwork in the form of neighborhood kids, bent on really putting the screws to me to buy pre-packaged, store-bought snacks, and if I don’t they’ll be looking for some other lady to fill my role come New Hampshire?
I can tell you right now, my “Audacity of Nope" policy would not show well among 2- to 11-year-olds. I think my approval rating would be highest among newborns, but they’re too far and few between.
I'd have to spend my modest campaign bucks trying to remind my constituents about all of the bedtime stories, back tickles, home-cooked meals, homework help, school volunteer hours, family vacations and outings, not to mention the countless hours I’ve spent cheering and applauding at their recitals, meets and games.
Come election time I'd try to help them realize that chores, while not always fun, are a necessary part of life; betimes are for their own good, and at the end of the day, eating an entire batch of cookie dough can only lead to one thing: throwing up in the back of the van.
And who's going to clean up that mess? My grandkids? Their grandkids? How could I help them see the bigger picture?
Needless to say, I much prefer the matriarchal system we have now. I don’t think I could lay down the law if my kids were tapping their toes and checking their watches, just waiting for my term to end.
But the truth is, I’ve grown rather attached to my constituents. Really attached. I need them just as much as they need me. Yes, what a relief motherhood is a life-time appointment.
Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com