I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to run for political office, much less for President of the United States, but I imagine it’s not unlike parenting a 3-year-old: tough crowds, no privacy and constant scrutiny—for starters. More specifically, here are six ways that motherhood and hitting the campaign trail are much too similar:
1. You Can Do a Thousand Things Right, but Will Constantly Be Reminded of the One Thing You Screwed Up
Sure, I managed to get my daughter dressed in her favorite outfit, picked out the juiciest strawberries and cut them just so for breakfast, braided her hair like Elsa and got her to preschool on time, all while singing her favorite song for the millionth time, but I forgot to pack her a juice box. This will be thrown in my face at least two thousand times before tomorrow, and possibly for eternity.
2. Debates Feature Prominently on Your Schedule
Three-year-olds are incredibly argumentative and can exhaustively debate their way into or out of anything. The only difference between presidential candidates and me is that I don’t have a moderator.
3. Changing Your Mind on an Issue Is Absolutely Unacceptable
Sure, that trampoline park sounded like a good idea at first and I wholeheartedly supported my daughter’s participation on weekend mornings. But after careful consideration, I’ve reversed my position (9 a.m. every Sunday just doesn’t fly with me). Not unlike politicians who are accused of flip-flopping on an issue, I, too, can change my mind. Also not unlike politicians, I will be skewered for doing so.
4. Remaining Upbeat Is Required
On the campaign trail, presidential candidates remain unflinchingly upbeat. Despite attacks on their personal lives and policies, they maintain a calm, optimistic exterior. This is a technique any mom is familiar with. Blood dripping out of your child’s mouth? She hears, “It’s OK, sweetie. I’ve got this! No need to panic!” What you’re really thinking: Oh my God, the blood! All the blood! Make it stop!
5. You’re Constantly in the Public Eye
And by public eye, I really mean you have zero privacy. Want to take a shower or use the bathroom to do your business? Get used to doing it with the door open. Or, if you reach a breaking point and actually lock the door, be prepared to have your 3-year-old stand outside the door and scream for you. I can only assume this is how presidential candidates feel every time they step outside.
6. Your Supporters Are Fiercely, Uncompromisingly Loyal
Hillary and Bernie have #ImWithHer and #FeelTheBern, but my 3-year-old is the most loyal supporter a human can have. She will take my side over anyone’s in a heartbeat. Just ask my husband; he never ever wins if his point of view or instructions are contrary to mine. And for that, I’m forever grateful (and a little smug).
We’ve all seen the tongue-in-cheek mom resume: We’re not just moms, we’re also nurses, chefs, personal shoppers, personal assistants, life coaches, and teachers, thanks to the various hats we wear. Now we can confidently add politician to that rundown because we are constantly navigating preschooler politics—whether we realize it or not.