OK, everyone, this is NOT a political post. I don’t DO politics. I don’t understand enough about politics to go on the Internets and provide my opinion and expect to be taken seriously. But something monumental did happen tonight and I need to share it with you.
You will not find out from me who I voted for in the presidential election this year, because it really doesn’t matter. I have my beliefs, and if you want to have a conversation with me privately about those beliefs, I might oblige, but only after I do all the other things I need to do first. Included on that list of things is teaching unenthusiastic high school seniors conventions of the English language, changing diapers, folding laundry, helping my 4 year old with homework, taking the recycling to the refuse station, folding more laundry, brushing the teeth of toddlers, and fishing dismembered crayons out of the vacuum cleaner.
Despite all of the minutiae that piles up on my proverbial doorstep, I do find time to do important things. One of those things is taking my little girl to the polls this afternoon.
My boss let us leave work a few minutes early to vote today. Although Justin advised me to go vote before I picked up the kids from school and daycare, I decided I would pick up Ella and take her along with me. We don’t get to do that a lot, go places just the two of us, and I appreciated the time we had together for so many reasons. Upon a bit of reflection, I realized how big of a deal this mommy-daughter date really was.
First, I am a working mom. When my grandmother was pregnant with my aunt, and then my dad, she had to leave her teaching job. She was not ALLOWED to work (teaching kindergarten) while pregnant or with small children. Just a handful of decades ago, I wouldn’t be wondering if I SHOULD or COULD be a working mom. I would not have had the choice.
Second, being a working mom, it is important to note that I have a female boss. My female boss is also a working mom. She and I both have two children under the age of five. We’ve been able to pursue our passion as educators AND raise children. We also happen to be friends who have supportive husbands who give us opportunities to spend time together while they care for the children. Everything we have would have been unheard of in my grandmother’s time.
And now, for the kicker. I took my child to vote in the first ever presidential election where a female could legitimately (and I say that loosely…) win the election. Regardless of my thoughts or points of view on the eligibility and quality of the candidates we’ve been presented with, I need to step back and recognize the importance of this moment.
Will my daughter, age 2.5, understand today? No. Her main focus this afternoon was seeing how many goldfish crackers she could consume while I was filling in bubbles in the voting booth. But as parents, it’s not always about what our kids remember or understand. It’s giving them those experiences anyway. It’s about making memories, and making history. It’s about a working and voting mom, her girl, and a female on the ballot. photo courtesy of Kim Hilgendorf 2016