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.
November 3, 2010 at 5:03 am
No ‘Yo Mama’ joke spring to mind at the moment, but I do recall when my high school and another high school were about to consolidate, they allowed the students to pick 1 out of 5 names for the new school. But there was even a write-in space. And so everyone wrote in ‘Yomama High’.
Anything that raises the respectability and stature of the job of being a mom, I am all for it. I see it as a bit of a stretch likening mom to politics, but its certainly feasible. Since becoming a SAHM, I have often wondered how I could translate being the CEO of the house into greater leadership in the workplace (rather than just returning to the same level as before). I think motherhood is highly respected in society but when it comes to the workplace, there still seems to be a stigma attached to it – that it hampers your ability to do the job.
I applaud women for playing the mom-card in politics, but only when it speaks to them being more capable than their opponent, not because it makes them just-like-the-rest-of-us (I elect you for being remarkable, not for being like me!).
November 3, 2010 at 10:03 am
I don’t think being a Mom card a politician better able to govern and I don’t think it should be used on the campaign trail. It is yet another tactic to obfuscate the actual agenda of the candidate. It seems to me that there are a lot of people who vote on a wave of sentiment but don’t really understand what the candidates really want to accomplish.
November 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm
Can I just say, I have such smart readers. That’s all. I’m lucky.
November 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Oh the great Palin debate. I’m a born and raised Alaskan, as was my mother, as are my four boys. I voted for Palin for governor, I voted McCain for president (I considered NOT voting for him when he selected Palin).
Since Palin has gotten into the political spotlight and media limelight, I can honestly say that the collective appeal of Alaska has gone down, and the perceived intelligence of our populace has dropped dramatically. No more are we asked if we live in igloos, but if we know Palin.
Do I think that mothers make better leaders? Not necessarily. Mothers are just like everyone else. Some are good, some are bad. Some are better at numbers while some are better at projects. Some are better at the planning stages of a project/report while others are better at implementing the plan.
I work fulltime in a very stressful career. When I come home, life is no less stressful. At work it’s paperwork, letters, reports, meetings, answers to court orders, etc. When I get home it’s laundry, homework, fights, bruises, cleaning, baths, etc.
I would love to get into politics. I just don’t have the time. If I had the time, I would.
As for the “Yo Mama” jokes: the list is endless –
Yo mama so fat she played pool with the planets
Yo mama so fat she sat on a rainbow and skittles popped out
Yo mama so ugly that when she was born, the doctor slapped HER mama
et cetera, ad nauseum.
November 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm
Aaaahahahaha! If it helps, the only Alaskans we seem to hear about here in the East are the ones who are mad at Palin for bailing.
November 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm
Of course. There seem to be a few factions in Alaska. The die hard Palin supporters (called “Palin-bots”) who, in some people’s opinions, seem to worship her as if the sun shines from her every orifice. Then, you get the die-hard anti-Palins, who are so wacky that they come up with conspiracy theories about how she didn’t have her youngest (and honestly, if you read their stuff, you can see why they’d believe it, they are pretty convincing). These are mostly the Democrats in our state that vote Party-line only. There aren’t too many of those up here.
Then, you have the rest of us. We don’t begrudge her the fact that she’s out there making money. It’s what capitalism is all about. We don’t like the fact that she said she would NOT run as VP if she was picked, yet she lied and did. She left before her one term was up. Many of us understand why. There were anti-Palinites that were throwing up ethics complaints left and right hoping one or more would stick. It was basically a way to keep her from doing state business. So, she quit. Many understand.
What most of us HATE is the fact that a LOT of her dirty laundry is being aired out (her oldest daughter and that guy she’s been off-on with), and the fact that everyone seems to think she is THE representation of what Alaska is. She isn’t. Trust me, most of us don’t wear the brands she does. Most of us don’t dress like she does. I saw an ET interview with her and she pointed to the lake behind her house saying they fish there. There are no fish in Lake Lucille and if anyone caught anything, they’d need penicillin, and it wouldn’t be edible. Only thing living in that lake is bacteria and leaches.
I wish more people could see the REAL Alaska, not the one that Sarah Palin shows. We have more to it than Wasilla. Anchorage is the biggest city in the state, and there are some nice things to do in town, and there are some ugly places in the city as well, there are beautiful areas, and there are plenty of other places around this state besides just the Mat-Su Valley.
Too bad we’re all considered “folksy” now. It used to be we were considered grizzled, burly, flannel-wearing shut-ins. I think I prefer that.