Vice President Mama: Could you put country before baby?
At first, when I heard the news about Sarah Palin being named as the Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, I was thrilled; a youngish mama taking a shot at the White House! Awesome. (And then I started reading more about her positions, which I don't agree with across the board. But that's another topic.) I was paying attention in between cooking breakfast and working, and I saw the cameras pan across a baby in someone's arms (cute crowd shot! I thought), heard her mention her oldest son had recently joined the Army, heard her say something about a baby.
A baby? She has a baby? "Must be a grandchild," said Jonathan. At 44? Nope. After perusing the internet, I discovered that Sarah Palin has five children, the youngest of which was born April 18, 2008 -- four. months. old. She went back to work as governor of Alaska three days after giving birth.
I, myself, worked while my children were young and absolutely believe that having a mother in all the highest offices in the country could be only for the good. However (and Jonathan called me a "momist" for this) I just don't believe a VP or President could do a good job with a young baby. I don't even think I do a fantastic job at my mid-level internet work with an infant. For me, the biological need to care for my little one trumps all; sure I'll try to do good things, but if I have to choose between, say, tending to a feverish, teething baby and negotiating a global conflict, my hormones are going to say baby.
What do you think? Could you put your country before your infant? Putting her other qualifications and political beliefs aside for the moment, do you think Palin -- or any parent of a very young child -- is a wise choice to lead our country? [added Sept 2, 2008] A friend on Twitter asked what I thought should happen if a female president were to accidentally become pregnant. I answered that I thought she should take 12 months maternity leave -- after making the ability to do so (paid if at all possible!) the law of the land. Now that's a topic worthy of our conversation.
This post was quoted in the New York Times on Monday, September 1, 2008 under the headline, "A New Twist in the Debate on Mothers."