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How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter

The Mommy Brain Blog

Thursday, October 30, 2008

hopeful about Obama

I write this with great trepidation, but I've finally decided to take my kids, aged 13 and 10, to an election night party. Anything could happen before Tuesday, heaven forbid, but I am encouraged enough by the polls and by the candidate to believe there's a chance that they'll have reason, right into their young adulthoods, to remember the night as a historic and so-necessary turning point for our country. It bears being with lots of other like-minded people.

In my own life, justifiably wary of politicians and in any case necessarily on the sidelines, as a journalist, I've never before been as engaged in a campaign as I have with this one, as much as I wish I'd done more. I've spent hours making calls to swing states, written letters to other mothers in Missouri, watched every single debate, even worn (eek!) an "Obama Mama" t-shirt. Worried, cautious, skeptical, doubting, I nonetheless appear to have moved past the point of praying that he'll get elected to praying he won't let us down.

Friday, October 17, 2008

teachable season

I talk to my 13-year-old son almost every day about temperament, self-restraint, self-control and yada yada but never have I come across a teaching aid like this week's TV split-screen images during the debates.

We were driving to his middle school today when he casually mentioned he's getting a lunch detention for calling a classmate a "bitch."

"I don't think it's fair," he said.

I took a breath and asked him if he'd noticed the difference between Sen.s Obama and McCain during the debate -- specifically Obama's cool composure compared to McCain's impulsive, irritable, blinking and blurting.

"Which one looked better to you?" I asked, deciding on the spot I probably didn't need to go into the details about how McCain has been overheard calling his own wife the c-word. "Which one would you rather be like?"

He looked like it was actually sinking in. Which kept me smiling all morning. Along with the powerful subcontext of our conversation, which is that maybe, oh maybe, the guy with the good character is actually, finally going to win.

For more context on the character issue, make sure to read the amazing recent Rolling Stone profile on McCain.

And don't forget to vote. And help call swingstate voters if you can! It's for our children's future, in so many, many ways...

p.s. "The Mommy Brain" was recently referenced in a column in The Washington Times . The columnist, with whom I'd exchanged a couple brief emails, suggested I thought Sarah Palin was smarter for having all those kids. To quote T.S. Eliot, "That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all..."