Six years ago I started this journey that I called Mommy Mayor. I was embarking on my third year on council, my first term as Mayor and I did so with a toddler and infant in hand.
I started Mommy Mayor as an opportunity to highlight all that woman can do, to bring awareness to the successes and obstacles that come with being a working mom and a mom in public service. To be honest I also did it as an outlet for myself, writing my column allowed me to feel less alone in my daily struggles and hopefully it felt others feel like they were less alone.
Eventually my term as mayor ended, my job got more complicated, my children needed more of my attention and things got in my way and my column went on an extended hiatus. But today I am restarting this column not because my life has gotten less complicated (it hasn’t), not because my children need me less (I’m writing this at 10 pm because that’s my first free minute) but because I realized that I still had more to say and I luckily found someone who would let me say it.
So, what exactly is it that I have to say? First, there is the simple message that being a “Mommy Mayor” shouldn’t be unique or groundbreaking and yet it is. Second, there is the constant struggle that comes with being a working mom – the guilt we juggle, the calendars we keep, the traditions we weave into little moments, the utter exhaustion that comes with a job that never ends and the moments of utter joy that is our reward.
But there are lots of woman out there breaking barriers – in bigger ways and in bigger cities than me and there are lots of working mom blogs that will make you realize that everyone feels equal parts guilty, happy, sad and apprehensive every day. More than anything I realized that I wanted to talk about how elected office is a call to service – not just to be elected, but to serve my community, to make things better for our residents and for our children. And how we can all work to instill service as a value within our communities and our children.
My hiatus began because life got busy but it happened to coincide with the 2016 election – it’s not a secret I, and my girls, were huge Hilary supporters. But I didn’t want my column to be a biweekly update for why you should vote for Hilary and once the election was over, I didn’t want it to be a column about the 101 reasons Donald Trump shouldn’t be president.
And so, I, like much of the country regrouped and probably went through a very extended phase of mourning. And what I realized was that while life carried on around me, while I went to work and while I volunteered at my daughters’ school and planned vacations, what I realized we had lost was a conversation about how we should talk to each other, how to bridge divides and how do we raise children who want better for themselves to stop a cycle of constant fighting and one-upmanship.
So in the last three years I’ve added another to do to my list – work to instill a sense of responsibility in my children – responsibility to each other, to their community, to their country and a sense of history, the importance of our systems, our elections, and the importance of listening and debating. I’m not striving for young Democrats or little activists – I’m striving for active, engaged citizens.
This time around Mommy Mayor is one part working mommy blog, one part political and two parts a discussion of how we raise children in an environment that seems hypocritical at best. So, I hope you’ll join me on this journey because this should be the start of a new conversation.
Mommy Mayor – a conversation about how we deal with modern work/life balance, encourage equity and shape a more thoughtful, engaged and respectful generation.