I’ve written on this blog before about the twinge of disappointment I’ve felt when I definitively had to face the reality that motherhood and a career in politics just don’t mix. I was just reminded of it again when I read a Facebook post from a friend and former coworker who is now sitting on the sidelines for the first election cycle in her career. She called it a bittersweet moment and focused on the sweet part — sitting in her warm home snuggled up with her baby girl. But I know the bitter part too. It’s not just that the hours, the travel, the pressure and the stress of a campaign season make it virtually impossible to be a mom and a real political player.
While we hate to admit it, what makes it that much more difficult to reconcile, is that it doesn’t seem to be impossible for dads. My husband worked on a campaign two years ago when our daughter was 3. This friend of mine — who, mind you, has worked for the President of the United States, several governors, and a national political party — is on the sidelines in a campaign season while her husband is a central figure in the campaign of a significant candidate for the presidential nomination. I know my husband’s long hours during that campaign season had a lasting impact on his relationship with our daughter, and it’s not a sacrifice I’d be willing to make. I presume my friend feels the same way. But that individual decision we moms make for ourselves also has an impact on our nation. Because, as every voter should be aware, no matter how much a politician may talk about soccer moms, the fact is there really aren’t many, if any, moms (at least of young children) playing on their team.