Well, we certainly seem to have an interesting lineup of candidates running for president this year, don’t we? (Okay, I know; understatement of the year.) And as the election season continues to heat up, the topic is bound to work its way into conversation pretty much … well, anywhere.
In a work meeting. On the line at the grocery store. At your great Aunt Edna’s 90th birthday party. It’s basically all fair game now. But there is one place you should probably cool it with the Trump vs. Hillary talk — and that’s on the playground.
When politics makes its way into your circle of mom friends, you basically have two options: engage or avoid. Execute this incorrectly, and you could certainly risk losing a mom friend or two by November, which would put a serious crimp in your carpool arrangement.
That said, here are a few helpful hints that will hopefully get you through this election season with your friendships safely intact:
1. If you decide to talk politics, pick the right setting.
It may go without saying, but even if you casually bring that latest thing Trump said and no one else on the park bench seems to be engaging (or even worse, if they’re trying to subject-change you), let it go. Don’t be Gretchen Weiners, trying to force “fetch” upon your playground friends. Trust me, it will not work.
My honest advice is to avoid politics entirely and change the topic — mostly because such things are very difficult to talk about in a meaningful way while chasing crazed toddlers through the library.
2. Realize that others may not care as much as you do.
Newsflash: They may not even be voting this time around. Or maybe they are, but they haven’t yet picked a candidate, and don’t feel like they’re “up” enough on the latest political shenanigans to join in on the conversation. If I was operating on two hours of sleep with a newborn and a broken coffee maker, the upcoming election would be the furthest thing from my mind, too. Sometimes it’s hard to be a mom and juggle everything at home, while also keeping tabs on everything going on outside of it. Having a little empathy for those who haven’t had time to do political research yet this season can go a long way.
3. Keep your sense of humor.
One way to make sure a casual politics convo doesn’t turn into a heated debate in the middle of Mommy and Me is to keep it light, and let things roll. (That might actually be the only way we’re going to get through this election.)
But this isn’t to say that you can’t have a serious conversation about politics at all with a fellow mom. If you’re someone who loves hearing other perspectives without feeling threatened or competitive, and you’re in a situation where you can actually talk, then go for it. Of course, shouting, “Well I really liked Rubio — and he’s super hot!” on the way to rescue a toddler from a slide incident at the playground might not be the best venue. (But hey, you roll the dice.)
4. Just like with all things parenthood-related, avoid forcing your views on others.
Someone’s personal life experience is what ultimately shapes their reality and their world views — on parenthood, on politics … on pretty much everything. And while that may be the polar opposite of your experience, that’s just how it goes.
5. Understand that the political beliefs of your friends may not affect their child-rearing theories at all.
Just because your friend had the same views as you on breastfeeding, preschools, and screen time doesn’t mean that she’ll see politics in the same way. And that’s okay.
6. Use social media sparingly for politics-related articles and posts.
One, because you don’t want to be that person. And two, because nobody ever says, “Well, I was going to vote for Hillary, but then I read this really great Facebook post on Trump that instantly converted me.”
7. Your final and sometimes best option is to steer the conversation back to your kids and their ridiculous antics.
Someone complains that one of the political parties is “full of moochers draining the system?” Quip back that your toddler is a total moocher and drains your system every day — and yet you still love him. Someone else thinks the minimum wage should be increased to $18/hour? Laugh that your kid’s allowance will not be subject to that kind of bump.
Finally, if all else fails, simply explain that you’ve given this election a lot of thought, and you’ve decided that Caillou would be the best choice for president. Because seriously, nobody would mess with our country if they had to deal with the whiny wrath of Caillou as a punishment.More On