Children are always changing. It’s the best and worst part about being a parent. On the one hand, any annoying thing your child does may disappear tomorrow with no explanation. On the other hand, just when I thought Dawson was finally not sleeping like a raccoon on meth, he decided to start wanting to nurse five times a night and then wake up at five in the morning every day. It’s the nature of the beast. No one can say parenthood is boring. Lately, I’ve been thinking about some of the unique challenges of being not only a mom, but a publicly and openly conservative mom.
My son is with a babysitter right now. It’s kind of weird. I’ve been a stay at home mom for his entire life, and when I started doing more work with Halsey Media and Right Millennial and the various other things I have going on, it was my youngest sister watching him three mornings a week so I could go to Starbucks and work. Dawson has spent virtually all of his time with family since he was a newborn, and a solid 95% of that time has been with his mom.
But, alas, my babysitting superstar little sister isn’t here. I’m in New York for work, for two weeks, and though I’m thankful to be able to bring my son almost everywhere, the reality is I do need at least a few hours every few days to really sit down and do my job. So, I found a babysitter for a few mornings a week when I’m travelling.
I am extremely lucky – the first person I met was “the one”. My babysitter is lovely. She’s great with Dawson (probably far more patient than I am, especially with the whole sleep deprivation thing.). She has a son about the same age, and watching them play together and become little buddies is absolutely adorable.
But there was something I hadn’t thought of: how to answer the dreaded “Oh, you work from home? So what do you do?” question.
I managed to dodge the question for a full three days of babysitting. “I’m a journalist.”, I’d say. My usual go-to. It worked.
But then, this weekend, she invited me to one of those direct sales parties (Unpopular opinion: I usually like sales parties. They have food! Or wine! Other people coo over my son while I look at jewelry or scented candles or makeup! I get to shop!), and I ended up having to come clean to the lady selling the jewelry.
I’m not sure if my babysitter heard.
“So, if you could have voted, you would have voted for Trump?” Said the (lovely, funny, Greek) jewelry rep, her voice a little too quiet, like she didn’t want to embarrass me if I said yes. Which, of course, I did.
It’s one thing for me to avoid The Question in the first place. It’s another for me to lie, mislead, or actively deny what I do or what my political views are.
Fortunately, it all ended well. Actually, she subscribed to my Youtube channel. Though obviously a left-leaning voter, she was very reasonable and seemed genuinely curious about what I had to say.
It got me thinking.
How much should I try to downplay my job and (by extension) “controversial” politics?
When I meet a nice mom at the park, and we get to talking about What We Do, should I just tell the truth?
When a group of moms on Facebook get to discussing vaccines, should I bring up my own struggle with liberty vs. morality (Vaccinate your damn kids, please)?
When someone brings up single motherhood, should I share my honest experience of single motherhood as not being empowering or enviable?
Okay, the last two, probably not. I’m honest, not suicidal.
But maybe I’m wrong.
The world I know here, talking to my readers, feels so different from the world out there. Here, I have allies. Maybe that’s part of it. If I say something and people really hate it, there will always be a few who will at least be willing to listen, and to assume the best of me even when they disagree. Out there, in the mom jungle, I’m not so sure.
Do I want to risk losing out on a babysitter or a playdate because I am determined to stick to the truth about who I am, what I do, and why I do it?
My instincts tell me that if I let a person get to know me, and they see I’m a decent human being, they might not mind so much when they find out I don’t like feminism or Islam or liberal economics (also, screw commies and socialists for real). Then again, my own mother and sisters who have known me for 25 years seem to think I’m some sort of radical extremist, so maybe not.
I have a feeling I’m going to be thinking about this stuff for a very long time. How do I raise my child to not fall for liberal nonsense, without pushing my own views too hard? How do I handle it when he gets older and starts offending his playmates? What do I do when I inevitably get in trouble in the media again and have to explain myself to a babysitter, or a new mom friend?
For that matter, what do I do if I ever gain the sort of notoriety where I get recognized by the general public? Does Dana Loesch get dirty looks when she picks up her kids from school? Does Jeanine Pirro get painted as the crazy Republican lady by her daughter’s new husband’s family?
I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!
Another “best and worst” thing about being a mom: there is no manual.
Worst: Leaving the hospital with this squishy potato child that you have to keep alive with your boobs and a room full of baby items you probably don’t need. Bonus points for ex-husband who has no clue how to help, so doesn’t help at all.
Best: Letting your almost two year old have a sip (or ten) of your iced coffee and not giving a damn if people stare. Bonus points if you’re in a park full of moms who make their kids eat gluten free or vegan or something.
Worst: Your childless, partnerless little sister telling you not to talk about politics (“He shouldn’t have to listen to your skewed views!”) in front of your toddler.
Best: Your toddler listening in to your conversations all day, every day, about things that matter to his future and the future of his country.
Being a conservative mom is really cool. I like getting to think about the future in a new way. I like getting to see that my pre-parenthood thoughts on feminism were right. I like that I can understand the pro-life issue a little more after having gone through pregnancy and birth myself.
It’s also kind of directionless and lonely and weird. I hope I can find more (Shoutout to Kia Carter, wife of one of my friends and colleagues Josh Carter) conservative or libertarian mom friends. Hurry up and have babies, millennial friends!
Soon, I’ll be writing about trying to convince my son out of going to a liberal college.