While watching all the election coverage over the past few months, something hit me. I’m not going to get into the particulars of political issues or who won this race and who lost that one. (I congratulate all the candidates. After all, it’s not polite to talk politics at the dinner table!) But I made a motherly observation that I had to share. After all was said, spent and done, I realize that we as mothers have something ridiculously obvious in common with political candidates. Even the ones with chest hair and receding hairlines. These candidates have experienced a level of sleep deprivation over the past several months that only a mother can understand.
These candidates spent countless months preparing for the election just as we prepared for the birth of our children. Whether it’s morning sickness or negative ad campaigns that force people you thought were your friends to turn on you, we endured. Lying awake night after night, preparing for the due date. (Or Election Day.) Getting rest in between ugly debates and restless trimesters, we endured. Knowing that win or lose, the day would come. Regardless of how long the labor or campaigning, there would be an end result.
As a new mother, when I woke to a crying baby at 1:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. and had to roll into the office the next day, I felt like I had been hit by a George Foreman Grill by the time the alarm clock went off. (I soon realized there was no need for an alarm clock. I had the real thing!) I had to eat enough carbs to feed a family of five and drink three cups of tea just to get through lunch time. Imagine doing a campaign speech on three hours of sleep? And if you made a mistake, it would be recorded live and played over and over for hundreds, sometimes millions of people to see? Running to the office on four hours of sleep was a norm, so Ibuprofen and tea were my best friends. I can only imagine how much coffee and tea the candidates consumed just to keep going every day.
In the days following the 2012 Election, I hope all the candidates, their volunteers and families get some much needed rest. (Before moving on with their lives and plans.) Just as you relished the time a relative offered to visit so you could hide in your room, hug your pillow and hand over the baby (and baby bottle) for a few precious hours of mommy time. (Glorious mommy sanity.) Yes, win or lose, giggle or gurgle, there is nothing more sacred than sleep!
What are you doing with your leftover Halloween candy? (Besides snacking on it every night?) Do something different this year. Turn it into a dessert & share it with friends and family! Send in your Halloween-candy-turned-dessert recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org and it could be featured in Jackie's next book!
Jackie Hennessey is the author of How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker and blogs at www.ventingsessions.com. She lives in Barrington with her husband and two children.