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This Mom Votes Alone!

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Guest blogger Blythe Newsome: This year, I went to vote alone. The last time I showed up with all six kids in tow was for the Presidential election in 2008. I had this great vision of it being a monumental learning moment for them ....

woman voting booth
The adventure to cast my vote in 2008 began with all of us trudging up a long, winding path to the building where I vote. As we were walking up to the door, I saw that there was a line of people waiting for their turn. I was excited, thinking this gave me time to talk to the kids about how important it is to vote. With my beautiful children gathered around me as we stood in line, I began my "State of the Newsome" address about the importance of voting. 

Elspeth interrupted me to tell me her tummy hurt. Without missing a beat, she projectile vomited all over me. The line suddenly began to look a bit overwhelming. She seemed to feel better after losing her cafeteria lunch on me, so I decided to keep my place in line. Before I could say the "Please don't let this be the stomach bug" prayer in my mind and get back to my speech, I noticed Finn heading for the bushes. 

My sweet son seems to be drawn to using the bushes as an outhouse. This child has been seen by millions on "Supernanny" doing just that. Why do I have to vote at the one precinct surrounded by bushes? Anyway, I decided it was time to run interference without losing my place in line. I asked Daly to go grab Finn and get him to stop before he began to water the shrubbery. Daly decided to use the opportunity as a passing drill, and threw a football to his little brother. The problem was, his brother was not expecting to have a football thrown at him, so it hit him on the back, causing him to lose his balance and fall into the bushes. 

Moira, meanwhile, was blowing into her plastic recorder, practicing Christmas carols for the school program. This was her first time touching a recorder, and the shrill sound was making me feel anything but festive. The older girls looked mortified as I asked them to please go pull their brothers out of the bushes. There were only two people in front of me by this time -- just a few more minutes, and I could cast my vote so my children would see how every vote counts!

And then it happened: a candidate who was running for local office walked in to vote. He went right to the front of the line. My mind was racing with the things I would've liked to say to him, such as: "Excuse me, sir, but I have been patiently waiting here in line for half an hour. Those are my sons, the future of America, climbing out of the bushes with twigs coming out of their hair. My teenage daughters, who could someday run this country, are complaining about what a bad mom I am because I brought them somewhere with poor phone reception. Those Christmas carols you hear being played are from my daughter, who is trying to start a singalong. And if you aren't careful, the little one, who looks a bit green, is likely to throw up all over your nice suit. I still have four loads of laundry to do, dinner to make, baths to give, homework to check and I pray that I make it to the gas station before running out of gas after I leave here. If you want to be a real gentleman, since I have been waiting in this long line for my turn, why don't you stand here with my kids while I go vote? If I don't return in ten minutes, don't worry: It just means I'm taking a break from living the American Dream." 

Since I was supposed to set an example for my children, though, I bit my tongue. As he walked by, he gave me a thumbs-up. I couldn't help but smile, thinking that maybe, in a way, I could relate to that politician. Here I was, trying to represent my six little people and cast my vote so their voices could be heard. The reality was that no matter how good my intentions were (just as I am sure that politician knew), there is no way to keep everyone happy. So this year, I decided to keep this mommy happy. I went and voted alone.


next: SPANX for Babies?!
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
KS November 13, 2010, 9:17 AM

OMGLMAO. That was hilarious. We all have days where we think, THIS is going to be the worlds most perfect day and I’m going to impress the heavens with my spectacular parenting. Then the children you have lovingly nurtured since before the time they were even born set to work destroying every possibly shred of that dream. LMAO, thank you because now I don’t feel so alone. You win some/you lose some.

Tracy Hahn-Burkett November 13, 2010, 5:00 PM

Okay, I’m a huge believer in bringing your kids to the polls (see http://unchartedparent.com/?p=1955), but I think maybe you deserve some slack on this one. I hope you had a peaceful election day this year. Maybe you can just tell your kids what it was like some other time!


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