The problem, to Michael Diaz, was one that many moms and dads of young kids face all the time. He and his wife wanted to volunteer on a suburban Philadelphia political campaign this summer. But who would watch the kids?
This wasn't a choice between a $15-an-hour babysitter or a $13 movie ticket. This was about a class of voters, ones too often sidelined from civic engagement due to the all-encompassing act of being a parent, unable to participate deeply in what will be a historic election year in Pennsylvania.
And the die-hards — the activists mobilizing for this year's general election — know that Democrats and Republicans in the swing state that delivered Donald Trump to the White House are duking it out, big-time, for all sorts of elected offices.
They're battling over whether Gov. Wolf remains governor or his brash challenger, Scott Wagner, wins as the Trumpier of the two.
They're wrestling over whether women will break into the state's all-male congressional delegation. (ANSWER: They will.)
And Democrats have a tsunami of candidates challenging Republicans for state House and Senate seats in a bid to take control of — or at least cause some mortal injuries within — the deeply conservative legislature.
Door-knocking volunteers could help tip the scales one way or another.
That is why Diaz, volunteering for the Ridley Park campaign of Democrat Dave Delloso for a state House seat held by outgoing Republican Nick Miccarelli, tried to solve the parent problem.
If roped into campaigns, they could be a game-changer.
In a post I noticed a few months ago on Facebook, Diaz asked: Does anyone know if any campaign has ever done child care for volunteers?
Yes, he was told. Elizabeth Fiedler. The young progressive mom from South Philly who whipped the Democratic establishment earlier this year by pavement-pounding her way to a primary win for a state House seat.
Soon after, Delloso's campaign got committeewoman Maureen Carreno to be the office babysitter. And for Fridays in July, Diaz and a few others would drop their kids there and head out to meet neighbors in the working-class and lower-middle-class district near Philadelphia International Airport.
The called it "potluck" night: Toys and books for a handful of kids, and Carreno's homemade food for an even broader roster of volunteers who would show up, nosh, and hit the bricks to canvas.
"It's been deliberately small-scale so far," Diaz told me a few weeks in. "I think it's something that we as Democrats are going to be looking at in other campaigns."
I was surprised to hear that Fiedler had a serious child-care operation in her South Philly office during the primary. It's in place now, too, as she heads toward the general.
I asked who else had done the same.
"I wish the answer was 'yes' and 'let me count the ways,' " she said.
I sighed even as I was in awe.
Not enough political candidates are parents with young kids. That means not enough politicians truly understand how fragile life has become for this group, given the weakening of the economy, public schools, and wages for many families.
As the mom of two kids, 3 and 1, Fiedler is on the front lines of family life. She took the kids along to voter stoops while campaigning. Imagine taking a tired toddler to a stranger's door. The woman deserves not just to win but to become CEO of Planet Earth.
"Many of my supporters, especially my early supporters, were people I knew from parent groups here in South Philly," she said. "A lot of them were folks who had not been politically involved before, but they wanted to do it."
Creating a child-care nook inside her campaign office, she said, "was borne out of necessity." And it gave her a great reality check, stepping out of one quiet office into another where kids were playing and buzzing around.
I was bummed to learn a few days ago that the child-care arrangement in Delco had dissolved due to resources.
Delloso's campaign manager told me a goal was to get it up and running again by Election Day, at least.
"If you sign up to do an hour or two shift at your poll, you can drop them off for a short time, sign a release, work the polls, and come back," she said.
Props to them for having given this a go at all. Maybe this means other campaigns will take the leap, too.