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Parenting Along Party Lines?
I'm about to out myself here in a very embarrassing way. There's something I haven't told you all. Something I've been hiding. You see, I'm married to a, um, a, ahem... jeez, this is hard to say. OK, I'll whisper it to you - I'm married to a Republican. Now you know my horrible secret.

I wouldn't say that T is one of those judgmental, holier-than-though, "if you're a Democrat you're Satan" Republicans. I mean, he's not Ann Coulter. But he's a big believer in smaller government, fewer regulations, and anything pro-business in general. At the same time, T is all for gay marriage, against the death penalty (though sometimes we'd both like to make an exception for people who harm children), and T believes that he's not entitled to an opinion that counts on the abortion issue until he grows a vagina and becomes hormonal every month. He's a fiscal conservative and a social liberal.

I, on the other hand, am not by any means a socialist but I think there are many ills in this world that those of us blessed with intelligence, good health, and plenty of material goods have an obligation to try to fix. I don't mind paying a little more in taxes if no child in this country goes hungry and everyone has affordable health care. That's where T and I differ. And maybe it seems like a small difference, but no single issue has caused more strife in our marriage than our fundamentally different views on the obligations of government and society. T is a good man. He's actually the best person I know and it may be corny, but he makes me want to be a better person. Knowing that, I find it incredibly frustrating that T continues to vote for Republicans. He could go either way, vote for either party. I mean, let's face it, the Republicans haven't exactly been tightening the fiscal belts lately. But T continues to vote for Republicans who share absolutely none of his core values on social issues. His voting record tells me that he values fiscal over social policy and that disturbs me.

I'm not looking for marriage counseling from the World Wide Web, but I've dragged all of this out because our political differences have become more of an issue since we had H&H. Before the kiddos came along, we could fight discuss an issue and then agree to disagree. Then I would just go quietly write a check to my favorite political candidate. (Shh! Don't tell!) But now I find myself wondering how I'm going to instill my values in our children without alienating my husband. And I worry even more than H&H will choose to follow their father's lead. I could get the kids a new bedtime story, but I'm afraid T would retaliate!

I know there is no easy solution to this problem. All I can do is lead by example, show my kids how fortunate they are, show them how the rest of the world lives, and show them what they can do to help. The rest I have to leave up to them and hope that I've taught them to make the right choices.

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Blogger PunditMom said...

Good luck, LawyerMama. Fortunately, my hubby and I are on the same poltiical wavelengtht.

Your husband sounds like a moderate Republican so there is hope for him yet! LOL

But seriously, I think that you are right on when you said that you just have to express your viewpoints to your kids just like your husband will express his and ultimately your children will decide what they believe. That's all you can really do.

p.s. I didn't know there were children's books out there about political parties! Thanks for sharing the links.

Blogger bubandpie said...

Children love to rebel against their parents politically - at least, they do once they reach voting age. So let your hubby indoctrinate them as hard-core Republicans, secure in the knowledge that they'll do a volte-face as soon as they move out.

Anonymous CrankMama said...

My hubs and I agree about politics but he's a rabid atheist and I'm a "spriritualist"... THAT difference is really starting to show.

Regardless of what the different beliefs are between parents, I figure we give our kids a gift when we help them traverse the ideologies...

Blogger mad muthas said...

ahha! ann coulter - mrs coulter from the philip pullman trilogy (soon to be portrayed by nicole kidman). are they in some way related?

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

MM - They must be. That would explain a lot, wouldn't it?

Blogger Gunfighter said...

Don't worry... the loopy Repubs will drive your husband out of the party soon enough.

The Republicans aren't really about smaller government, they are about big government that is intrusive upon the lives of OTHER people.

Blogger FFF said...

My husband and I are the same way. I'm a liberal leftie, and while he is liberal socially, he's fiscaly conservative. (but even he couldn't vote for W. a second time!) I don't know how to talk about it with my kid, but I think if you just explain the differences between the parties, and teach your child to care about others and those less fortunate, there can only be one answer. At least that's what I'm hoping! :)

Blogger ExPatSW said...

Actually, you and T remind me a lot of me and S....the early years. I was staunchly left wing and he was (gasp!) a registered republican. And yes, he voted party line. Once C came along, I had much the same fears as you do now. You know C....whose values do you think she has?

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