Urban Formerlies might remember “snaps,” those one-liners about one’s mother that were popular around the 7th grade.
One kid would insult another kid’s mother in a way that was so corny and over the top that he couldn’t possibly take offense; instead, he’d say, “Oh, SNAP!” Then he would snap something more potentially insulting back, and on until one of one of them got tired of the game or it was clear that both of their mamas were so ugly that when she tried to take a bath the water jumped out of the tub, or so ugly that you’d have to tie a steak around her neck to get the dog to play with her. “Yo mama wears combat boots!” was one I remember was tossed out frequently, and I could never quite put my finger on what was insulting about that. I was like, so? Maybe they offer good arch support.
Anyway, I thought of snapping when I read Judith Warner’s piece in the New York Times about politicians playing the mom card this election day. “Yo mama’s a politician!” Seems to me that given what many people think about politics and politicians of all parties–that they’re often phony, untrustworthy and easily compromised–that could be the ultimate snap.
The article points out that women candidates are embracing and using their momness (momitude? momnificience? momniscience?) to convey that they will govern according to the gingham-printed homespun wisdom, practicality and ability to shoot from the childbearing hip that was automatically conferred unto them when the baby passed through their vaginal canal (or was taken out with latex gloved hands by C-section, as the case often is.)
I dunno…like all moms, I’ve had to make snap decisions, weigh risk and perform shuttle diplomacy (I have twins). I’ve had to smile when I felt like tearing my hair out and come up with polite, yet effective on-message answers when what I wanted to say was, “Because I’m the MOM and you’re not, so there!”
But lord knows I don’t think I’m qualified for public office because I manage to negotiate compromise between two seven-year-olds, both of whom are screaming that it’s their turn on Club Penguin.
Of course, most moms are highly qualified to do many things besides dole out tater tots. Managing a household with children–a complex mini-corporation, complete with budget and expectations of productivity and shareholders that need to be satisfied–is the hardest job I ever tried to do, and I had a husband who did more than his share. I lasted three months on my maternity leave and was dying to get back to the office.
But it doesn’t follow, I don’t think, that all moms would be better at governing because they are moms, and I agree with the article, which seemed to say that playing the mom card was a wee bit cynical.
So I have three questions (no pressure–answer any or none!):
1. Do you think moms, or parents, for that matter, are any more qualified to hold public office than the child-free?
2. If you had to pick a party based on your parenting style, what would it be? I’m a lefty Democrat type in the voting booth, but I think if we took my mom-style of governing to the national level, I’d have to be a Republican. As often as not, I resolve sibling squabbles by saying, “Can you not see that I’m eating! Leave me alone and go work it out for yourselves.” That’s like kicking it back to the states, no? Small government in my house. Yesiree.
3. Do you remember any good snaps? I just saw, “Yo mama’s so ugly she scared Freddie Kruger!” Har.