Reassess The Role of Government
Moms are also fed up with partisan gridlock, and they want a leader who can help the parties work together to make smart choices. "I definitely feel like we have a do-nothing Congress," said Toniel Speidel, 36, a Democrat, who has a 7-year-old and 1-year-old twins. "Everything has become about 'How can I turn your record around and twist your words?' Both parties are doing it. It drives a deep divide within the country."
That dissatisfaction seemed to cut across all age groups and party lines, and many of the moms in our group wanted less from Washington, not more. "While there's a lot of optimism among people my age, there's also a growing mistrust of the federal government," said Stephanie Lind, 26, a mom of daughters ages 3 and 1. A former Ron Paul supporter, she said that she was still undecided. Others expressed concerns about excessive regulation of health care, including contraception. "I feel like the government is very concerned with my womb, and it bothers me," said Babb. Added Grant, "Social issues like abortion are important because everybody has an opinion about them, but it's less likely that you'll see anything done about them after the election."
And while all our mothers wanted better health care for women and children, there was little agreement about how to improve it. "It's financially impossible for the entire country to be covered," said Stamatelos. "People opposed to 'big government' need to keep in mind that government does many good things that families value, including providing health care," countered Sharon Lerner, 45, a Democrat and mom of kids ages 4 and 6.
"Everything is about funding," said O'Brien. "That's why people say everyone votes on the economy. We live in a zero-sum game. There is less money than there was because of the economic situation, but you can see the contradictions. The list of what people want is long and expensive."
Our group definitely wished to see less bickering and more accountability in this presidential election. "The candidates are out there trying to court moms," said Divina Rodriguez, 30, a Democrat and mom of children ages 4 and 22 months. "They make promises, but they have to be there to support what they say; to put money and power and action into all these promises."
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Parents magazine.