Conway's comment launched a spree of political speculation and intrigue, but for me, and I'm guessing for lots working mothers everywhere, that "unless" caused a totally apolitical bolt of big, fat, stomach-churning, "Tell me about it."
Because most days, saying (or more typically, thinking) "unless" when you're talking about the future of your job is the reality of what it means to be a working mother.
Unless one of them gets sick. Unless one of them can't back on the rails. Unless one of them really can't read. Unless one of them is not in a "phase," but is going to stay this way forever.
You cannot predict, plan, or program your kids — not their personalities, not their needs, not their good or bad days, months, or years. Stuff happens. I don't want to be a downer. Sometimes it's wonderful, OK? Like one of your kids can hit a ball better than you ever imagined, and her opportunities suddenly start taking her places you may need to follow. But a lot of times not-good stuff happens, and their life — and your life — gets turned upside down and inside out.
And that, in a nutshell, is so much of why being a working mother is hard. It's a daily exercise in balancing the one million big and little uncertainties of your kids' lives with the one million big and little uncertainties of your work. It's a weather front of limited visibility that never really clears, or at least it doesn't for 20 years.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining, or saying it should be any different. There's no easy way around it, really, because for women, your peak child-raising years generally tend to overlap with your peak career-building years. That's life. And with four kids, I willingly stepped into that mishegas every morning for 25 years, and I loved it.
But inside my head and heart a lot of those days, just like so many working mothers, there was a cacophony of emotional noise around both my kids and my career: guilt, worry, exhilaration, confusion, excitement.
And with every thought about the future, the refrain, "Unless."
This political season has been filled with more craziness and BS than usual. I wish it would end. But through it all, I'd vote for one true moment.
And it came Sunday night when Kellyanne Conway uttered a single word.
Commentary by Suzy Welch, a business journalist, best-selling author and CNBC contributor. Follow her on Twitter @SuzyWelch.
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