First there were “soccer moms”, then for a while it was “hockey moms” and now finally the media at large is just referring to these women as “suburban moms” which is probably the most accurate description of the women they are trying to lump into one category. But the accuracy ends there. I have been a “suburban mom” for the better part of the last two decades. I’m here to tell you, we are not a voting block, and there is pretty solid evidence to back that up.
While hanging out and socializing (when we still could) with other moms in my suburbs, I can tell you we have had any number of political disagreements. I’ll give you one glaring one that is played out across America on a regular basis: guns. I have many, many friends throughout Michigan (where I call home) and Virginia (where I actually raised my kids) that are solidly pro-NRA, pro-gun. I am 100% anti-gun. We are all still friends.
Wait… how is that possible?!?!
Well, simply put, because outside of the Internet and larger media world where no one can get along if they disagree about anything, in the actual suburbs, we can have a variety of opinions on a variety of topics and still get along with other, even in the suburbs of that hotbed of controversy, Washington, D.C. The truth is our disagreement is rooted in the same fundamental belief that brought us out to live in the burbs in the first place: we all want our families to be safe. For my pro-gun friends, that means owning guns, to me, it means wishing no one owned them.
The fundamental underlying need to feel like our kids are safe is driving our opinions. This is how people find common ground. So yes, there are a few things people can learn from suburban moms in the political landscape, and it’s the same lesson we are all teaching our children from the moment they interact with each other: be kind, learn to get along and play nice.
There are a lot more issues we suburban moms disagree on, because the suburbs are a patchwork of all sorts of people with different backgrounds. But if we were a voting block, I can tell you there are certain things that would look different across the country, based on a few things the vast majority of us ladies out here in the suburbs can agree on:
Women still don’t earn the same amount of money for the same work that men do. The latest figures indicate the gender pay gap means female workers are making 81.5 cents on the dollar compared to men. We suburban moms may disproportionately be stay-at-home mothers (work that is TOTALLY discounted by society) but I have never met a woman who thinks it’s okay for females to be paid less than males. If we were really voting as a block, I think we could have eliminated this nonsense by now.
We Love Our Children and Want the Best for Them
Studies have shown pretty conclusively that children benefit from early childhood education, in other words, prior to kindergarten. Whether this is schooling at home with mom or going to preschool it seems like with this level of overwhelming evidence pre-k, even part time, ought to be part of public education. It also helps working mothers. And yet, every election we get a little lip service from both parties about supporting preschools and then nothing happens. If suburban moms voted as a block, it’s hard to envision this not getting done.
We Love Our Kids, but Know They Are Also Pains in the Butt
COVID-19 may have shed a little light for the first time to most dads how hard it is having the kids around 24/7. It’s no surprise to suburban moms. Remember that old back-to-school ad where the mom is dancing through the aisles to “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? That speaks deeply to the soul of the suburban mom. We need the break, and rejoice for the six to eight hours the kids are in school. As such, regardless of our political party, most moms agree that teachers are underpaid. After all, they don’t just put up with our own kids all day, but everybody else’s kids as well. They are seriously underpaid (it is also a predominantly female profession, which may explain the poor salaries). If we voted as a block, we may see a bit more funding going to our schools.
So I’d say it’s pretty evident that we suburban babes aren’t voting as a block. But maybe we should…?
Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.