Women Should Stay Home, Have Babies, and Run For City Council

A clarion call for The Moms to run things

Women Should Stay Home, Have Babies, and Run For City Council

To the fortunate women who learned this week that their newly-minted college degrees were little more than vanity projects: Allow me - a stay at home mother (SAHM) of three - to be the among the first to eagerly welcome you to our ranks. I cannot express enough sincere gratitude to Mr. Butker for enlightening you all on the proper path forward. Truly, you are blessed and highly favored.

You see, our inherent gifts as mothers and caretakers are not only essential to the well-being of our families, but to our communities at large. As your colleague in this endeavor, I implore you to allow your husbands that dirtiest of work - earning a liveable salary - so that you may employ your talents in a much more critical venture: that heavily-scrutinized circus known as “City Council.” Once we allow our homemaking prowess to be harnessed for the greater good of our neighborhoods, we bless the overworked men currently occupying local government to return to their God-given vocation of breadwinning.

It’s understandable to look at the current crop of gentlemen serving as council members and think you don’t have the proper experience for elected office. However, the SAHM is an excellent (dare I say, perfect?) candidate with impeccable qualifications for the position. As much as we love a credentialed expert in his chosen field, a man is limited in how to apply his expertise to areas outside of it. After all, the average local representative tends to be one of two things: highly-salaried at an office in a neighboring city (not all that local), or comfortably retired and free to live life as if every day was Saturday (not all that representative). Whether we’re filling a jury or piloting a new parks and rec program, the goal of local government is to have “normal people” weigh in on the most important matters, to reveal the blind spots that experts leave in their well-intentioned wake. Who is more “normal” than a woman attending to the daily needs of her husband and children? 

Your new role as a SAHM will prepare you very well for communicating with voters. After a 16-hour day of managing little people with big feelings, no patience, and rodent-like attention spans, navigating hard questions from people who want simple answers will be a walk in the park. If you can adequately explain why the tooth-fairy hasn’t yet put money under your first-grader’s pillow, you’re more than ready for a voter who wants to discuss infrastructure costs. It will certainly be much easier than when your eight-year-old asks where babies come from, in the middle of driving the entire ballet class to dress rehearsal.

Forget that bachelor’s degree you went into debt for; the information gleaned from your normal life is more than enough experience to bring to the dais. Where a consultant must derive cause and effect from abstract data sets, you, the SAHM, experience both every day:

When the council rep with a job in the neighboring city may not be aware of how many medical offices closed in the last few years, you, the SAHM, likely know the relative availability of the pediatricians, urgent care centers, and orthodontists in town, whether any of them are close to retirement, and how long it takes at different times of the day. 

Where the retired rep might complain about morning neighborhood traffic, you, the SAHM, know that the public school buses have had waitlists for years, forcing hundreds of parents to individually drive their children each morning. That long drop-off line tells you exactly why they’re not walking or biking, either.

Where a city employee sees vandalism in the park, a SAHM knows there aren’t enough activities for teens after school. Where the planning division sees an influx of permits for new gyms, a SAHM knows the neighborhood isn’t safe or pleasant for a daily jog. Where a consultant sees high property values, a SAHM knows she can’t find regular babysitters.

You couldn’t possibly know all these things if you were forced to work a job! Can you imagine asking a man what grocery stores are in your city, and whether it’s safe to walk there? Do you hire a consulting firm to learn about low-cost activities for residents of all ages, or do you ask the other parents at the PTA meeting? Do you really think that retired architect cosplaying as the mayor would know if your city has activities after 5pm that don’t involve alcohol?

Working men don’t have time to worry their pretty little heads about these things. But you, the full-time homemaker, spend the majority of your day within your own town. You know what needs can be filled in your city boundaries and what you have to find elsewhere. You balance multiple sets of needs and time constraints with your sanity (mostly) intact. Managing budgets, planning projects, and forecasting major expenditures are all in a day’s work. Weighing disparate interests in a way that leaves everyone a little dissatisfied, yet able to move forward? That’s nothing to a mom who has to decide what the family will have for dinner that week.

“But the children!” you understandably cry, “Who will care for the children?” Truly what better gift is there, than that of quality time with his progeny? As you bid him goodbye at the door on your way to City Hall, take comfort in the knowledge that he deserves nothing less than the loving embrace of their sticky hands as he unwinds from a long day dealing with adults. Knowing you are soldiering off to be underpaid, overworked, and highly criticized, he will laud you for your selfless service to the broader community. Though should he, upon your departure, tremble in fear at the complexities of the evening meal, remind him to stay in his lane - and order takeout. 

Krista Jeffries is a Partner Writer for Resident Urbanist. She is a married mother of three currently living by the sweat of her husband’s brow on California’s Central Coast. When he allows her to leave the kitchen, she serves on the board of the local Housing Authority and is one of the founding members of SLO County YIMBY. In between making sandwiches and ensuring her spouse approves of her reading material, she sometimes writes for the San Luis Obispo Tribune and New Times San Luis Obispo. You can follow her on the website formerly known as Twitter, but you have to ask her husband first.

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