A mother of a job

If I hear one more talking head complain that Sarah Palin couldn’t possibly act as vice president or president because she has five children, including a special-needs child, I think my head will fly off.

In case you’ve been in a hole somewhere, I’m talking about quotes like this from the Telegraph in the United Kingdom: How can she reconcile such a high-profile job as “veep” – a “heartbeat” away from leadership of the free world and all that – with bringing up five children, the oldest of whom is about to serve in Iraq and the youngest of whom is just five months old and has Down’s Syndrome?

Or this, same source:  The former beauty queen with the myopic gaze, who traded pageant chic for power suits and designer specs to stalk the halls of power in the 49th state, a breast-pump under her arm and a BlackBerry in each hand…

Or how about this from the New York Times: In interviews, many women, citing their own difficulties with less demanding jobs, said it would be impossible for Ms. Palin to succeed both at motherhood and in the nation’s second-highest elected position at once.

Impossible?

Really?

While I don’t agree with Palin’s politics, I take issue with anyone who says a mother cannot hold any job as long as she has the physical capabilities to do so.*  What is it that a vice president does that is more taxing than the life of a governor of a state one-fifth the size of the whole country, complete with natural resource issues, international borders, and budget crises? There is travel, of course, and late-night meeting times and other inconveniences, but these could be accommodated. How many other high-level families inside the Beltway have household help to deal with basic family issues? All the Nannygate stories we’ve heard over the years would indicate that it’s no sin to find help to make sure children are well-supervised (unless you hire the undocumented).

And not to burst anyone’s bubble, but everyone who thinks George W. Bush does all his own work every day, raise your hand now!

That’s what I thought. Presidents and vice presidents have “people,” assistants and staff who perform triage and make sure their executive has the right information at the right time, drivers, planners, secretaries….you name it. Any busy mother I know could only benefit and bloom in such a situation, not get bogged down.

As for having a special-needs child, I have to say that since I’ve had mine, I’ve had to become smarter about time management and more efficient with resources to accomplish all the tasks I want to in a day. The many parents in similar circumstances I’ve met, both in real-life and online, manage their families’ lives with a sharp eye, making doctors’ and therapy appointments, trying medication schemes, advocating their child’s cases at school, seeking out social situations that benefit their child. All the while, they work and take care of significant others and other children–some even care for parents as well.

I mean, imagine my surprise to find I agree with Phyllis Schlafly!

“(Motherhood) changes your life and gives you a different perspective on the world,” said Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative organizer who helped defeat the equal rights amendment nearly three decades ago.

“People who don’t have children or who have only one or two are kind of overwhelmed at the notion of five children,” Ms. Schlafly continued, mentioning that she had raised six children and run for Congress as well. “I think a hard-working, well-organized C.E.O. type can handle it very well.”

That being said, I’m not sure Palin as a mother is making good decisions at this particular juncture. Would I have put myself in a national spotlight when my teenaged daughter was having a painful personal crisis, knowing how the media sharks would devour her? Not likely. That’s a decision she’ll have to live with.

Women have had to balance many issues as they’ve made progress through the years, and Palin may have rationalized that to move women forward a step in the ranks of equality, that this sacrifice was worthwhile.

Robert A. Heinlein, in his persona of Lazarus Long, says, “Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, “equality” is a disaster.”

Perhaps this will be the outcome of Sarah Palin’s choice in the long run.  On the other handWill she be good for women or an awful embarrassment? Too soon to tell. But, heck, she can’t be any more embarrassing than a vice president who gets indicted like Spiro Agnew, can’t spell potato like Dan Quayle or shoots his buddy like Dick Cheney.

It’s Sarah Palin’s choice to make, not naysayers in the media and the political parties and the religious extremists– hers.  I, for one, support her right to make it. You go, girl.

*For example, a pregnant woman would have a heck of a time shinnying through an 18-inch diameter pipe. But women who have the strength, endurance, intelligence or any other skill it takes to fulfill a job description (and there really aren’t many that list “penis” as a requirement), should absolutely be equally considered and hired.

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8 thoughts on “A mother of a job

  1. Holy Moley! Can’t agree any less with her politics, but implying that she can’t be president because she’s a mother? Did anyone give JFK that kinda grief because he had a toddler in the White House?

    My kingdom for a “Gag of Justice” for the silly talking heads who are focused on ALL THE WRONG ISSUES. Platform, priorities, ability to unite the country…these are the things we need to look at. Not whether the VP candidate has ovaries!

  2. Amen.

    And aren’t women better time managers than men in the first place? PLEASE. Being a mother ought to give people extra credit for high-stress, highly demanding jobs.

  3. Evidentially, some of us aren’t listening to the same ‘talking heads’ here.

    From my perspective, nobody on my side of the political spectrum is debating Sarah Palin’s ability or inability to be Vice President based on the fact she’s a mother, it’s her judgement and her positions on certain issues that’s coming under fire.

    Just because she’s a woman is immaterial to the debate – Palin is a bad leader and has chosen – willingly I might add, to take positions that are defiently anti-woman, anti-family and flat out anti-democratic. How this is being construed as being ‘anti-woman because she’s a mom is nonsense.

    I’m seeing in some of these posts some pretty snarky comments about men not being able to do the same as women that having a penis automatically makes you stupid and I have to ask you all, isn’t this reverse sexism? And isn’t it just as bad as flat-out sexism?

    *Waits for awalkabout’s head to come flying off now*

    Not at all. If you read the post, you saw I said I did not stand with Palin on the issues. But there have been media folk and others arguing about her qualifications based SOLELY on her status as mother of 5. Whether I’d ever vote for her regardless, she should have an equal chance to serve as VP candidate, penis or not. That was my point. Besides…stupid is as stupid does, isn’t that so?

  4. I’ve heard a few comments along those lines, that she’ll end up neglecting her family or her duties as VP. Some of these comments have come up as side issues to her having an unwed pregnant teen daughter, which is another thing I’m rather sick of hearing.

    Personally, I’m only interested in the politics of a canidate, not thier personal lives. Unless their personal life involves something illegal, it’s not really a problem for me. I don’t care about the person’s marital status, religion, hobbies, any of that crap. That part of their lives is only an issue for me if it impairs the ability to do the job. I only wish that more people could feel this way. Perhaps American politics will cease to be a joke to most of the rest of the world.

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  6. Had lunch with your wonderful sister today and a small world story — I KNOW HER HUBBY! She shared your blog with me and I SHARE YOUR SENTIMENTS about Palin! Great minds think alike! In fact, one of my recent blog posts echoes yours!

    Nice to meet you in blog world. Your sister is great! It was great to meet her in the real world!

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