One word we’ll hear a lot this election year is “flip-flop.” No, not my favorite casual footwear, (hardly an appropriate debate topic.) No, this is the adjective the media will paste on candidates who have had the audacity to change their minds from time to time over the course of their long political careers. How dare they.

Flip-flop is one of those expressions that bothers me, (kinda like “I could care less” when what you really mean is you could NOT care less, that’s how little you actually care.) Most candidates accused of flip-flopping don’t change their opinion on an issue, only to change it right back again to their original conclusion. Most just flip. Not flip-flop.

Don’t we all?

When I look back at some of the stances I fervently adopted in my younger years, I cringe.

I used to think that a jumbo white bagel slathered in cream cheese was a healthy breakfast and that margarine was good for me.

I used to believe I would never want a cell phone.

I can remember devouring parenting books when I was pregnant with my first child and in between chapters looking up from my book only to look down my nose at other parents whose children were so obviously “out of control.” Boy, was I glad I was going to be in control! Consistent, firm, always confident as to who would be the one in charge in this mother-child relationship.

I was a perfect parent before I had kids.

Now I’m the one saying things like, “Don’t judge me!” when my toddler uses the bushes at the park as his personal commode. Now I’m the one who, five babies later, still can’t decide whether “crying it out” is a necessary evil or if I’m causing neurological brain damage. (The days are short but the nights are long.)

I guess you could say I’m a flip-flopper. But is that a bad thing? Now I’m much more likely to eat a bowl of hot whole grains for breakfast instead of white starch and cream. (But it sure was yummy…) My cell phone has made my life infinitely easier. Why did I wait so long!? And most importantly, I’m much more likely now to offer a wet wipe, a treat, or a word of encouragement to my fellow “out of control” sisters in arms than I was ten years ago.

Life is about progress, growing and changing. I’m sure there are things I’m adamant about now that will be completely unimportant to me in another ten years. I may read through all my blog posts one day and laugh and laugh at how naive I was. What a know-it-all!

It must be hard to be a politician and have every opinion you’ve ever uttered documented and recorded only to be brought up in your face the moment you’ve decided to become a little wiser. So little room for growth.

It’s like that great Mark Twain quote, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

This new year, I hope I flip on several issues until I get them right.

But flip-flops are still my all-time favorite casual shoe. You can take that to the bank.


Read more by Margaret Anderson at