If the idea of wrangling your kid(s) through the voting process at your polling place sounds like a challenge, the YMCA is ready to help you out.

When my son Spencer was a little over 3 years old, I took him with me as I went to cast my vote on election day. All was going smoothly, even after a bit of time had been spent waiting to get into the voting booth. He was patient, calm, and easy to deal with.

Until we stepped into the booth.

I was focused on the ballot itself, making sure that I filled in the proper circles in a neat and tidy manner, when I heard a woman's voice coming from the voting booth adjacent to mine.

Woman: Oh. Uh...hello there.

Spencer: Hi! I'm Spencer! What are you doing?

Woman: Um...trying to vote.

Spencer (lifting up the flag-like cloth that separates the booths): So's my dad! See? Are you coloring on yours like he is?

Me: Oh, hey! Come here! You're not supposed to talk with other people while they're voting! (to the woman who, at this point, is now trying to continue voting) Sorry about that...he's new to the whole representative republic thing...ha ha...let's just get this divider back in place--

Spencer (to the woman once again): My dad says you can try on pants in here if you don't wanna vote! (a little joke I'd made in the car, now coming back to haunt me) Are you trying on pants?

Woman: Did your dad try on pants instead of voting?

Spencer (looking at my pants): No. He's just wearing old pants.

Me: ANYBODY KNOW WHO THIS KID BELONGS TO??

So, if you'd like to avoid exchanges like this one, the YMCA of the Rock River Valley is offering up two hours of free childcare on Tuesday. No appointments are needed.

Here are the Y's locations offering the service:

  • SwedishAmerican Riverfront YMCA: 8am-Noon and 3-8pm
  • Northeast Family YMCA: 8am-Noon and 3-8pm
  • Puri Family YMCA: 8am-11:30am and 4-8pm

Parents can utilize up to two hours for free. Drop-ins are welcome. Click here for more information.