"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mommy politics

I really try to stay out of politics. Too many good people disagree and get angry at each other. How Mary Matalin and James Carville have ever stayed married is way beyond my comprehension. Thank goodness I am a libertarian and don't buy into all this current madness.

What is currently disturbing to me though are the attacks on Sarah Palin as a mother. Media and others are questioning her abilities "to lead" by pulling her maternal status into the limelight, instead of her politics. Like her daughter's pregnancy, it should be a non-issue.

The fact that she is a mother, with a baby, with five children, with a Down Syndrome child, with a pregnant teen daughter should all be non-issues. I've read stay at home blogger moms attacking Palin for going back to work "too soon." Others are saying she should be spending all her time nurturing the special needs child. Media express concern how someone could be able to "do it all" in this position. Everyone seems to be criticizing her as a mother, because her life doesn't fit their definition.

Would I vote for this woman? Probably not, but it would not be because of how she handles her role of motherhood. In fact, I can identify with her a bit.

Some women have easy pregnancies and easy childbirths. I met with clients while having labor pains, went to the hospital & gave birth, then walked back to my hospital room for some rest , and left the hospital, baby in arms, all in less than 20 hours. I had business appointments two days later and continued working thereafter. I was able to bring the baby with me often, but I did have an extended family network to help babysit when necessary.

I, like Palin appears to be, am most efficient and creative when I am super busy. With proper scheduling, it is possible for a woman to be productive in the work force and still find time to cook family sit-down dinners every night, and spend quality time with children and husband. A politician who has staff, a stay at home husband, and a large extended family has an even easier time.

Like anything else, not all women are alike and not all women could thrive in this type of hectic life schedule. And not all families suffer consequences from this type of life. One can also point out many families with stay at home mothers who have pregnant teen daughters or special needs children and have difficulty handling it all. Palin seems to be resilient and organized and her family appears happy.

The feminist movement began when I was a teen. The message I always heard was about choices for women. Today women have many life choices, and there is no one size fits all family/work lifestyle that women must embrace. If a woman chooses to stay home with a child, breast feed and give the child organic food, let her do it without repercussions. It's what works for her.

If a woman chooses to work outside the home, bottle feed and take the child to day care, then embrace her decision and don't judge her. She may even have an enviable family life that just might make you jealous.

There are still many women who simply don't have the choice to stay at home or work nor have family or staff to help, but they have other ways of making good families through love, understanding, and encouragement. So don't judge them either.

In recent history, many people judged Bill Clinton as a "bad husband" because he cheated on his wife. Cases were argued that it didn't mean that made him a "bad president." The same can be said of motherhood.

Being a mother in all its different forms is a great occupation, but it is a separate issue from job performance in a workplace or political arena.


Going Like Sixty said...

As mayor, she wanted to impose her moral standards on the community by banning books.
As governor, she reduced aid for pregnant teenagers.
She has referred to the Iraq War as "God's will."
She wants creationism taught in public schools.
She believes in teach abstinence only.
Aren't these family issues?
My daughter has a son and never married.
I think this reflects on my parenting skills or lack thereof.
Plus: I just don't trust beauty queens that were on television... who said politics had to be rational?

Catch Her in the Wry said...

sixty: Those are politcal family issues. But questioning her appointment because she's a mother of five, because she's the mother of a special needs child, or because she has a pregnant teen daughter are all irrelevant.

Male candidates are never taunted with those questions. I believe it's mommy bigotry.