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Can Napoleon and Anwar Sadat exist in one mom’s head?

Submitted by on Monday, 16 June 2008 No Comment

Thank God for the Internet. And thank God it wasn’t around when I was in college or I’d still be working on my bachelor’s. Other than painting my nails, procrastination options were limited back in the 80s. Not so now.

Which is why, faced with a sink full of dishes and loads of laundry this afternoon, I fell into an interactive leadership quiz a friend blogged at a site I moderate. Based on answers to four questions, the quiz determines which of 16 political leaders you are most like. What the heck — it beats a case of dishpan hands.

What started as a diversion from domestic duties, though, turned into hours of introspection when the results on a companion military quiz contradicted both my self-image and the results of the political leadership test.

Could I be two people — a peacemaker and a dictator? Did I become this way when I became a parent — are negotiating skills and militaristic chain-of-command traits necessary for a mom to survive?

The political leadership quiz told me I’m Anwar Sadat. I’d hoped for JFK, but you could do worse than Sadat. Key architect of peace between Egypt and Israel. A realist rather than an ideologue. Kept things squared away at home before plunging into what could have been domestically disastrous talks with Israel. Nobel Peace Price winner. The assassination thing is a drawback.

Buoyed by an answer that didn’t deflate my ego, I moved to the second quiz. My martial doppleganger: Napoleon.


Some of his skills I admire. “”Brilliant planner,”" his after-quiz biography says. Others traits — summarily executing enemies, plundering, looting and generally running roughshod over Europe — aren’t so great. And Waterloo is more than an Abba song. It’s also synonymous with ignominious, crushing defeat.

Sadat and Napoleon, Napoleon and Sadat. Who is she, the guys must wonder.

They see Sadat more often. Like this morning, when they were about to brawl over a Thomas the Tank Engine set. Little Guy had two Annies and Big Guy had two Claribels. Big Guy wanted one of each, but Little Guy wouldn’t budge. We reached a peace accord without calling Jimmy Carter.

There are times, though, when I have to be Napoleon. Try getting out of the house with two preschoolers without having a brilliant plan. It could take half the day.

Even his dictatorial skills are necessary. What time do we leave for work and school? Not negotiable. Mom has to make the trains run on time. Oops. Wrong dictator, but you know what I mean.

I try to give the guys warning when I need to go Napoleon, but they’re not old enough to get it. Or maybe they are and want to haggle anyway, on the off chance Sadat will surface.

Just as I had made my peace with the convenience and necessity of my dictatorial side, though, a blogger on the other site suggested I take the military quiz again. “”You don’t write like Napoleon,”" he said.

I did and came up with Dwight Eisenhower.

Cool! Everyone liked Ike. And his philosophy neatly merges my political and military sides:

“”I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.”"

Note that he said “”rather.”" I think that gives me room to say, “”Get it the car now. It’s time to go”" when I have to.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.”

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  • Bnic said:

    “Greetings from an alter ego’s iconoclastic propensity. Don’t omit the duality of woman/man or the inherent, overt/covert presence. Ike told Patton to get in the car and Napoleon left 4/5′s of a frozen army rotting form Kiev to Brussels the spring after.

    Great stuff sister!”

  • Debra (author) said:

    “Good point about Eisenhower and Patton, who’s almost as tough as Big Guy!”