"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

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.

Monroe_in_sling_baby
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."

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Not only is he just a few months old, but he also has Down's Syndrome! I just can't imagine this... I feel like I have no one to vote for. :(

I watched her speech this morning with wildly conflicting feelings. Part of me said, "Go, girl, you can be a mama and VP!" I mean, no one would blink an eye if a daddy of a new baby were running for VP. But something else inside me recoiled at the idea of a mama of a young baby (with a disability, no less) being put under the pressure cooker of a national election and then possibility a heartbeat away from the Presidency should something happen to McCain (a likely possibility given his age). I don't want to believe that mamas of little children are WEAKER than men, but I think we are maybe FOCUSED (hormonally, emotionally, mentally) in a motherly direction for those first few years.

KE--you have no one to vote for? Did you watch Obama's speech last night? Please take the time to watch it. He WILL be an amazing president!

As for McCain's choice for VP. Uggg! Give me a break. She has ZERO experience and for being a "heartbeat" away from being President--that is really scary. She needs to stay being a mom.

It's a choice. She can choose to put her work first. Just becuase she chose this doesn't mean she isn't being a good Mom. Just in her own way. Who knows what they are doing in their household. It could be amazing and the best thing for their baby. As for political strategies it could totally backfire for them.

I think it's really her choice...if her husband wants to be the primary caregiver, then it's really their family decision. And as for her hormones, the hormones of Bill Clinton and John Edwards have probably been a bit more destructive.

I have more of a problem with her virulent anti-abortion, anti-gay stands, her espousal of creationism, her disbelief in the reality of global warming, her desire to drill the heck out of Alaska, her advocacy against putting polar bears on the endangered species list, and the fact that she has a mere 21 months of experience, beyond being mayor of a 9,000 person town.

The latter are bigger deals to me.

I think Obama has a very clear plan for helping working families, we probably shouldn't forget that Biden was a single parent for several years. A former single parent as a VP would be tremendously powerful.

I had a really similar reaction - yikes! I can't imagine having a new baby and governing a state and doing a presidential campaign!

But then I realized that I cannot imagine wanting to be a politician, either, or wanting to be a beauty queen, or wanting to spend any time at all with the appalling John McCain, so I have to conclude that I have no hope of understanding anything about Sarah Palin's life. I don't think it'll mean she's any worse at what she does than anybody else. She's running alongside a man who can't differentiate Sunnis and Shiites - what's his excuse?

I couldn't do it....but she can. She's heartless. She is anti-gay, anti-choice, and. pro gun. with those beliefs, she doesn't have room to consider her children.

Staunch Obama supporter here. That aside, I'd gladly cast my vote for her ticket when she publicly debates Biden with the babe in a sling, nursing. Then I'll know she really gets what it means to be a working mama in this country.

She's a hard core pro-life supporter and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. If McCain thinks he's going to win over the Hillary supporters he is in for a surprise. Due to her views and that she is Republican I could care less if she has a small child or not. I don't want her to be the VP for this country.
Let us move forwarad with Obama and Biden!

Wow--I do have to say that I am pretty surprised that some mamas have suggested that they may for for McCain/Palin simply because Palin is a mother of a young child (in addition to her 4 others)and that she may also happen to be nursing her baby--really??? What about the other issues here? Being a "successful" working mama does not necessarily mean that someone would make an excellent leader of a nation. What about her stance on so.many.issues? If and only if I agreed with *any* of them, would I then consider voting for her at all--as is the same with any other candidate I might choose to vote for in any election. This, in my opinion, is what it means to make an informed and responsible choice.

Anotherworkingmama,

I think "Obamamama until..." was being extremely sarcastic with her little quip. (As in, of course she'll never debate Biden while nursing her little one.)

My son was born April 19, 2008. I could not imagine having such a high-pressure job--even just the campaigning, much less the actual VP position--with my little guy around (and I only have 2 others).

I love my hubby, and I think he's an awesome dad. However, I would be hesitant to take on what is essentially an around-the-clock job, leaving my DH to raise the baby. Not because I think dads aren't up to the task, but because I think a baby needs as much love and attention from his/her primary caregivers as humanly possible, especially in the first year.

Obviously, this is a big deal for a politician--who knows if this opportunity would present itself to Palin ever again. However, she is such a novice politician that it seems she and her family, as well as her career, would only benefit from her reigning it in a little bit. Stick with Alaska for a while longer; stay home with your new babe while you can. Then, in 8 years when the big O is out of office, then try your hand at the national stage.

While I am happy to see a Republican chose a woman, and in fact, mama as a VP candidate...I would have to agree that I am with Sarah on this one. How could you perform such as job with such a small child? How could you go back to work when your child is only 3 days old? I would venture a guess that this may indicate she is NOT breasfeeding....

But so much more, in my mind, are the sentiments of Kristin....I complete agree!

"her virulent anti-abortion, anti-gay stands, her espousal of creationism, her disbelief in the reality of global warming, her desire to drill the heck out of Alaska, her advocacy against putting polar bears on the endangered species list, and the fact that she has a mere 21 months of experience, beyond being mayor of a 9,000 person town"

And what about her education? A bachelors degree in journalism? Not to be an elitest, but I think a sound education in political science, law or something else would be beneficial...most certainly if you have so little experience!

Just to throw out to this crowd...for fun...she was a beauty queen also...is that a plus? haahaa

As I reread my comment...I have nothing against beauty queens...I just figure that the urban Portland mama is not so into beauty pageants. Kind of like the Disney princess thing...

choice = killing babies

You are not going to vote for her because she's not a baby killer?

I concur with Kristin and Sara, and am excited that a real in-the-trenches mama will be taking such a prominent role in the public sphere. There's no way I can imagine doing it myself, but if she believes she can, I won't second-guess her. Surely we don't want to suggest that motherhood is an automatic disqualifier for public office. And presumably the governor has an outstanding support network, in addition to unusual discipline and stamina.

(Will I be voting for her? Heck, no.)

I am glad to see this post. I have already had those same thoughts but have kept them to myself so far, because I figured I would get beat up for questioning her 'working mama' abilities. But seriously....a 4 month old baby with special needs? She needs to be at her house, not the white house.
She's not who I will be voting for anyways, but I really dont' think she was the right choice.

Me,

"choice = killing babies"

The only thing I dislike more than an anti-choice politician is a FEMALE anti-choice politician.

This whole concept that women who were going to vote for Clinton will now vote for McCain is absolutely insulting to women. I think McCain made a disastrous choice which makes me very very happy.

"She needs to be at her house, not the white house."

Seriously? Seriously??? Did you really just say that? Would you like to be judged on your parenting choices like that? Please save the judging for her political beliefs as you would if the candidate was a man.

I have no idea what type of parent Sarah Palin is. Outside of watching her give her speech yesterday, I have not witnessed her with her kids. I know absolutely nothing about her and her family.

While my personal choices may be different, it is not that uncommon for some parents to have demanding careers while raising small children. Close friends of ours have chosen this path. Yes, their children from a young age have been cared for by others. The parents feel that they are better parents than they would be if they spent all day with the kids. When with the kids they are excellent parents. They really question how I do what I do all day - while I question how they can do what they do. Mind you this is not done with judgement but with recognition that people are different.

With that said there are so many reasons why I could not support Sarah Palin in her quest - many have been already listed. For me the list of which is that as a lesbian headed family with two adopted children she would like to see my family not exist. That is my litmus test of sorts and it is non-negotiable. When it comes to her being a Hillary Clinton substitute - well she falls way short. Not even close.

Watching her speech yesterday I had to stop shortly after she started going over her experience that qualified her for the number two spot. She listed her time on the school PTA as part of her resume. Don't get me wrong - PTAs are very important. I am actively involved in the one at my daughter's school. Do I think in eight years I will be qualified to be Vice President because of that involvement? Not even close. The main difference between Sarah Palin eight years ago and myself today is that today I have more community building, political and management experience than she had then.

Of course, I would not be comfortable being selected mainly because of my gender.

As a woman, I'm insulted. Does the McCain camp really believe that just because Palin is a woman that Clinton supporters will rally around her? Does he really think so little of women voters? He must think that Clinton supporters were voting for her solely based on her gender. Hillary Clinton wasn't such a popular candidate because she is a woman, she was such a popular candidate because she is highly qualified AND a woman. Did he miss the fact that Palin and Clinton's beliefs are completely opposite? The bottom line is that McCain would have NEVER nominated a man with Palin's credentials. So why nominate THIS woman? Its sad to think that this is the best the Republican party has to offer in terms of a woman candidate. Its a step forward that they nominated a woman, but its two steps backward that they nominated a woman so completely unqualified. What that says to me is that they picked her strictly based on her gender, not because she's the best candidate for the job.

I completely agree. What does that say for family values to leave your 4 month old with Down's for Washington??

"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."

So, based on this, you wouldn't have voted for JFK? He had a new baby when he won the presidency, and I don't think anyone considered it a negative at the time.

Personally, I think we should stop thinking that a woman's number one purpose in life is being a mother with everything else second. Why are we even discussing what another woman should or shouldn't do in her personal life? When considering the vice president of our country, I wish people could just examine her views and politics just as we have every other president.

I'm really disappointed that you (and others) feel this way, cafemama. Will women ever be seen as equal to men in the working world?

choice= killing babies.


Pleeeeease. Choice = stopping the growth of cells. Do some reading and educating yourself on the facts. The only so called "Fact" that I have ever heard used by anyone in their pro-life beliefs is based on religion.......which is based on believing the unbelievable. It's called faith.
When a Pro-lifer can show me some facts and base their arguments on facts, I will listen because most, if not all women who are pro choice are not "pro abortion". That's ridiculous. Use your head.

And yes, she does need to be at her house. That baby is four months old and needs to bond with his mama. If She was a He, I would say the same thing. Running for VP is not an average, full time 8hr/day job. Put down your gun and go bond with your baby.

Diito on the "seriously??? Her house, not the white house??????""" SO working makes you a bad mother? So when you want to have a female physician, nurse, teacher, executive, hairstylist, etc, you assume that these women don't have families??????Or deep down you think they are bad parents? Come on, you are just as bad as Paulin is for women's rights. Get a clue.

"And yes, she does need to be at her house. That baby is four months old and needs to bond with his mama. If She was a He, I would say the same thing. Running for VP is not an average, full time 8hr/day job. Put down your gun and go bond with your baby."

So again, based on this premise, you don't think JFK should have been president either? Come on, people.

Ok, I had to pipe up. Don't let this debate devolve into the media-created "Mommy Wars". Most of us realize it's ok to choose to work inside or outside the Home.
What should raise everyone's hackles is that she was back at work THREE DAYS after birth - that's not representing the kind of work/life balance that I want this country to move toward! I want Dads/partners to have paid family leave to bond with their family also... not emulating the Japanese "salaryman" model of the absent breadwinner, whatever their gender. Notwithstanding her lack of qualifications and her policy positions (heck, I don't like Condy either, and she's a Woman of Color above a former glass ceiling), SP's choices of how to raise her kids should concern all parents.

When I first heard a CNN reporter comment negatively on Sarah Palin's running as VP with a 5-month-old Down's Syndrome baby (which she is apparently breastfeeding), I was outraged. No reporter would have made such a comment if a MAN were running for VP with a 5-month-old Down's Syndrome baby! I was similarly surprised to hear my husband, who is very supportive of women and really wanted Hillary in the White House as our first female president, say that he couldn't believe a mother of a 5-month-old would take on such an all-consuming task. Part of me agrees with that thought, mainly because I could and would never attempt such a thing with an infant (but wouldn't want to even without one!). But to hear it explicitly said on mainstream media and from my husband was shocking to me. And I think it highlights why American mothers continue to lag behind European women in our support networks -- most of the country (even the "enlightened" liberals) still secretly think that only a MOTHER who stays home or has a relatively low-stress job can properly raise an infant. So much for Hillary's "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" philosophy...

I don't think Palin is even remotely qualified to be VP to a 72-year-old man, but it has nothing to do with her family situation and everything to do with her lack of experience on national and international issues. I do think she will miss a terribly important bonding period with her son simply because a presidential campaign is grueling, but maybe she realizes that the Republican ticket is unlikely to win this year, so she's just trying to make a national name for herself while she has the chance, then go back to the relatively easy job of governing Alaska come November 5th! :)

For me, her family life isn't the issue.
John McCain is not young. Does anyone REALLY think this woman can competently run this country, fix all the problems we now have, etc?? Most people hadn't even heard of her before!

At the end of Obama's speech he said, "this isn't about ME, its about YOU."

That is a huge difference here-
In his choice for VP McCain was only thinking of himself, what will get him elected (women voters, die hard republicans, etc).

ps - on another topic- when i hear that a 44 year old woman has an infant I do not assume that she must be the grandmother...do most people assume that??

Things just aren't always equal. For example;

Sarah Palin does not = Hillary Clinton

Sorry, Amanda and sorry, John McCain.


Poor MaCain.
He was confused about the term "running mate" and thought he was choosing his next wife.

Maybe McCain doesn't really want to be the president. Maybe he's just talking the talk, but is actually a closet Obama supporter. Conspiracy theories aside. Ever since I found out about Sarah Palin, I've wanted to wag my finger at McCain and say, "tricky tricky". To me it was the move of a desperate man (or see the above conspiracy theory). What is he playing at? Who doesn't remember from elementary social studies that if something happens to the President, the VP takes over? Do you want Sarah Palin, with her background and experience, for President?
Back to the original topic, I couldn't do what Sarah Palin's doing. I couldn't go back to work three days after giving birth. However, that doesn't mean someone else cannot and still be a great parent. There are all kinds of families out there, and many that work well.

Wow. If Sarah Palin went back to work 3 days after giving birth to a special needs baby then she should have any kids let alone be making decisions for all of America's

McCain knows that Alaska is the American frontier for oil drilling. Enough said.

"choice= killing babies. Pleeeeease. Choice = stopping the growth of cells" amen to that.

I would choose abortion over child abuse any day. We as mothers know the strong intincts most women feel to have children. If there are circumstances in a woman's life that can overpower that instinct and give her a sense that this child would not be welcomed and protected...well mama knows best.

As dismayed as I was to hear she was back at work so soon after delivering her youngest child, I would assume that she took the baby to work. As governor, she lives in the governor's mansion, probably has 24-help (or at least several other chldren!) and the baby can sleep while she answers phone calls, meets with people etc. Yes, as governor she probably had choices that many of the women in this country DO NOT HAVE. Very few of us have jobs that we could bring the baby to work with us (but admittedly, some do). Some employers even have on-site daycare so that parents can continue to nurse. Ok, so the number of employers who do is frightfully, pitifully few.

Rather than attack her choices, perhaps we should focus on her stand on THESE VERY TYPES OF ISSUES that face the entire nation.

I'll reserve my thoughts about her other politics for my own private soapbox.

Wow, I can't believe the number of posts! Definitely this VP selection brought up a lot of feelings from people.

My first thought when I heard she had a 4 month old was "really? seriously?" I felt a little inferior (ok, this woman can be governor of Alaska, VP pick, mom, and former beauty queen all at once), but then I realized that I don't know anything about this woman. I don't know how much family support she has, I don't know her child care/day care situation, or if her hubby stays home with the kids. Everyone's different, and that's the beauty of equal rights...there's no one strategy that fits every woman or every mom.

I would love it if her nomination brought some women's issues to the forefront, like the need for affordable, quality childcare, and the need for child care for special needs kids.

Yes, my first comment was sarcasm. Sorry if that got lost in the translation. And my following comment has some cynicism and sarcasm as well, mostly so I don't repeat much of what has already been said.

McCain seems to have been very successful in his pick here to have all of us debating wether or not she should have the job because of her mom status. Better we bicker about that than keep our eye on every thing else going on, eh?

Amanda asks, "Will women ever be seen as equals to men in the working world?"

Of course not, not when we keep electing people like Bush and McCain who refuse to advocate advocate equal pay for equal work. And women like Sarah Palin are no better by continuing to allow themselves to be used as pawns in a desperate attempt to pander to women in America.

Sarah Palin seems like a lovely, caring woman and frankly, it's her prerogative to go back to work in such a demanding capacity with a 4-month old child with DS, but her extremist anti-choice stance is anti-woman.

She is anti-healthcare reform and THAT is anti-family.

I see a woman of privilege with an agenda of guns, big oil and and more of the same crap we've been getting for the past 8 years.

Just to pipe in here about placing this all on the mom --

My husband has been offered some very intense political jobs, but turned them down because we have a family of two small boys. Eric Sten left his job, in part, because he regretted taking too much time away from his family.

So, two big points:

1) Fathers change their careers, too, for the sake of their children -- it's a rare father who decides to do what Barack Obama has done and usually only because the opportunity is just so tremendous and they have wonderful support networks.

2) Politics is not, in any way, like a normal, 9 to 5 job. Sarah Palin will never be "done." Sarah Palin will be, just as an involved dad would be, *exhausted* out of her brain. Just plain and completely exhausted. My youngest is three, and I'm still regularly wiped out.

My question isn't about her mothering (again, men who actually take a big role in raising their kids get fried, too). It's about whether we want someone as VP who not only has her politics but will be totally and completely fried to the bone while on the job.

Good points Kristin. I myself have turned down a few intense political jobs in the last few weeks because I know what the work is like (you really have to do it to understand) and I can't do that with my kids right now. Like I said earlier - others make different choices than I do and we are all doing what we feel is best. That said this is a really tough year to be sitting out but almost any would be for a political junky like myself.

Your post reminded me of when Activitas was sitting down with city council candidates. After sitting down with Charles Lewis, LTF listed the fact that he "had a baby in the oven" as one of the reasons to consider voting for him. http://www.urbanmamas.com/activistas/2008/04/chat-with-anoth.html I know for a fact how many hours a person puts into a city council race - they really go home to sleep for maybe six hours. So, having a baby was OK for this man? Even a good thing?

I still will not vote for Sarah Palin for anything. I don't support bigots. There does seem to be a double standard though.

Shame on you mamas. You fight tooth and nail for the same rights as men and then you debate about whether or not a woman with a young child can be VP. You don't know her family's situation. Maybe her husband cares for the kids full time. Maybe she does breastfeed ( although that was the most irrelevant thought someone posted here - that has no impact on being a 'good' mama or a good candidate ).

Let's quit being judgemental and support the fact that a woman who is also a mom is realizing a major success in her life.

You may not agree with her choices but you would want the same respect from other women when choosing to accomplish your own dreams.

I was immediately insulted by this selection. This woman is no Hillary Clinton, not on her best day.

The good news is that she will have plenty of time in Alaska to bond with her new baby. McCain has lost his mind and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Yea!!!

Choice = stopping the growth of cells.
Don't these cells happen to turn into child? Doesn't that mean something? Or do we just turn off our brains at the growth of cells part and forget they are actually growing a child? I know this blog isn't about abortion, but to dismiss all pro-lifers as being ridiculous for believing things other than just "facts" seems a little like saying we should think like a robot. There are things in this world which can't be understood by "facts". Aren't we allowed to have gut feelings and go by them? It seems mamas should know what that is about. I can't count how many times my gut feelings have been more right than facts. My gut feeling is growing cells that will turn into a human life are worth protecting. And furthermore it is wrong to assume that every unwanted child will be abused.
And more on topic, there are many women, like myself out there who find themselves lost politically because of this issue. I support democratic values, and don't relate at all to a republican perspective but get stuck at the abortion issue. This is a tough topic, which is going to be key to the possible election of a female VP. Maybe McCain is trying to relate to people on the fence like me. Not sure it will work, but seriously think about it.

Valerie,

I'm 100% pro-choice, but I have my own personal beliefs and they coincide with yours to a great extent.

The deal, though, is I don't know if my own personal beliefs should mandate the decisions of others. I've never been in a situation of rape, poverty, incest, abusive relationship or whatever (whatever encompassing a huge range of human experience). Since I don't know how that would feel, I can't begin to presume.

In my ideal world, the government would be out of it entirely and the decision would be between a woman, her family and whatever form of community she has.

Valerie,
I don't like abortion either. But I believe in a woman's choice. I also believe in doing sooo very much more to prevent unwanted pregnancy. This can work.
Many of the "polls" out there have abortion as being at the top of most important issues for 3% of voters. I know, polls, schmolls, but to me it's an encouraging number because with the enormity and multitude of issues facing our country and the world, I think it's really in our best interest for us to select someone who will move us in the right direction on all necessary fronts. We can't get caught up on abortion or gay marriage, etc again. I know that sounds crass, but we have bigger fish to fry (sorry, my belief).. war, nuclear proliferation, the need for worldwide diplomacy, terrorism, faltering economy, global warming. I mean the list is daunting. There is so much at stake now that no matter how gut-wrenching and awful one issue is for someone, IMO, we have to elect someone who will help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, present and develop plans to make adoption more attractive AND tackle the big issues in a way that is different from what we have had for the 8 years.

I find it also surprising that this post has led to so many comments and the many directions it has taken.

What I find personally so interesting is that so many mothers support her decision to return to work after only 3 days of giving birth. And then talking about the whole gender thing in the workplace.

What about family medical leave? Aren't we clamoring for that? If we really want change in this arena, I don't think this woman is setting a very good example!!!!!

I believe that men and women are equals in the work place and they should be paid accordingly....BUT, I don't think that women and men are equal when it comes to caring for a newborn. And I consider that a PRIVILEGE of being a woman....breastfeeding, bonding..those first few days are so important between mother and child.

Heck, I will admit that I am a socialist (I mean I now live in Sweden)...and I am for 1 year paid maternity and 6 month paid paternity leaves (as they have here). Childcare is NOT even available here until children are 1 year old...but I don't think that any woman here is feeling "inferior" because she is sitting at home with her baby ..just to point out that most women take about 6 months, followed by the papa for 6 months for the first year......and then the woman has 6 more months to use as she wants until the child is like 8 years....

Just my two cents...but we are all different. Makes it all so fun to read and discuss!

Yes, I couldn't agree more! We (as in all Americans) have SO MANY THINGS to think about and this upoming election is exremely important...I, for one, will be thinking about the big issues at hand!

I think it is up to each of us to decide what we need to do when we have a baby - some of us have to return to work immediately because of finances, others can take a few months off unpaid to stay with a child, and a few of us get all of our FMLA paid for (where do you work?). In Palin's case, I wonder if she would have faced significant criticism from her constituents for taking three months off work to stay with her baby... she is in a position that puts her in the public eye and I can easily see her being used as an example of why women shouldn't be in politics or other jobs of influence.

My concern is less to do with what she chose to do personally than how it affects how she thinks about the rest of us. Does she believe that if she returned to work after three days then all of us should be able to do it (without all of the supports that she possibly could've had that SusanOR listed)? That FMLA should remain unpaid? That mothers/fathers shouldn't be able to take more time off to be with their infants without risking losing their jobs?

I have never had a thought of voting for McCain and hate the double standard that exists for men and women regarding parenthood, but as someone who has had her decisions regarding raising her children questioned by family and friends, I don't feel like I can guess why Palin chose to go back to work, have another baby, etc. I can just vote for those who will allow me the freedom to make the decisions that I feel are best for my family.

Sorry I posted on the wrong plance..

I know that I have had way too many comments on this subject....and the internet is full of lots of trash....BUT, in reading up about Sarah Palin, I could not help find something that was interesting. True I most certainly can not vouch for....but interesting none the less! And actually might explain the "back to work in 3 days" (I mean REALLY, do any of you know of ANYONE who has been back at work in 3 days?)

I don't want to spread gossip or talk trash..but it makes for interesting discussion. If this were true, how do you mamas feel about the possible "cover up", given her strong anti-abortion stance?

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/30/121350/137/486/580223

Heh, I was just going to post the same link, Rebecca. Interesting, very interesting...

But actually, I *do* know someone who was back at work in three days, after the birth of her 2nd. I was amazed (and to be honest, slightly taken aback).

Plus, if i were mccain i would have picked someone I'd talked to more than two times. He doesn't even know her!

Hi jj!

As a mother of a 2 1/2 yr. old and a 3 month old, I have to agree that it would be hard to imagine the additional stress. However, without any knowledge of her family system, I truly do not feel I am informed enough to state my opinion.

I agree with all of you that it is Palin's political beliefs that are really important here. With the potential that another Supreme Court Justice position could open up in the next 4 yrs (Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75 and currently the most liberal SCJ) do we want a VP who so opposes the woman's right to choose and who may not support family medical leave?

I do not think that McCain chose her in order to win Hillary supporters who would like to see a woman in office. Rather he chose an woman who shares George Bush's beliefs. By doing this, he pleases religious conservatives. By choosing a woman, he doesn't risk alienating those who already support him, but don't want to see the same administration for another 4+ years.

Frankly her beliefs scare me because the last thing our country needs is another 4+ years going in the same direction that we are currently heading.

I'm a guy, just to get my gender identity out of the way...

What I am curious to hear from UM readers about is this: isn't Sarah Palin's ability to juggle challenging career and challenging child-rearing the epitome of the success of the feminist movement? Why do I hear such resistance from women about her candidacy that is beyond just the policy positions she takes?

Dootz,

I would argue that no, Palin's not proving the success of the feminist movement precisely because her policy positions/beliefs would deny opportunity to others. Feminists want equality for *all* of us, not just a select few.

so, now they are saying that her 16 yr old is 5 months pregnant.

I was ecstatic to hear that Palin was the GOP VP pick... It will make it that much easier for Obama. And frankly I didn't even CARE who the GOP VP pick was; I am not even allowing my brain to wrap itself around the thought that we may have another 4 years of Bush.

So anon is correct....the daughter is pregnant...and if this woman is against sex education in schools and pro-abstinence...i think that the McCain platform has a real problem....

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/01/palin.daughter/index.html

Both Palin and McCain back funding for abstinence only education! I personally have a problem with this!

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/01/1320417.aspx

Let's keep one thing straight...pro-lifers are pro-birth. What happens after that moment is up for whatever circumstances the baby falls into whether it be poverty, single momhood with no extended family support, drug addict parents, 'normal' parents, etc. Why not fight for 12 weeks paid leave for new Moms (and Dads), health insuance for kids, childcare assistance, and don't even get me started on what parents of special needs kids go through. Why end the fight at pro-birth?

Is this country really pro-family? Our policies speak for themselves.

My last entry..I promise! (As you may be able to tell...I have been addicted to this story...)

For a point of discussion: just for fun....Does anyone think that her daughter might not be pregnant if her mother were a little less dedicated to work? I am not saying that she should be a stay at home mom...but, perhaps if she were not so busy with her aspiring political career, this might not have happened?

That't it...no more. I really need to get on with my life...haahaa

I found it hard to put into words exactly whay my problem is with Palin, beyond her policies. I think, for me, working in a male dominated field in the south with a young child, I feel like women who do what she did are rewarded. I mean, I always feel like I would be, & have been, rewarded when I choose my career over my child or family. That's why I left a very lucrative job to stay home for a while. It's almost reverse sexism, I think. Like, "Oh, we support working mothers! Look! A working mother! Let's offer her all kinds of money & a big title so we can prove it!" Does this make sense to anyone else?

I was criticized for asking for a raise to cover my childcare costs. I was actually told I should make a different choice during a performance evaluation. I guess I've got some baggage.

I think the problem is that she is held up as a woman who has it all, with very little experience for the job they are trying to give her. It feels like they are holding up the fact that she choose to go back to work so soon as a sign of how dedicated she is & so many of us are fighting to validate the fact that for most familes that isn't in their best interest. That's why it feels like such a knife in my back.

Rebecca I don't think her mother's work has as much to do with the pregnancy as the unwillingness to discuss birth control options with her daughter. I really feel for the daughter - she did not choose this attention. Her mother did. Now her parents are asking for privacy but given the times we live in she will not get it. When her mother decided to run for VP she gave that up for her family.

Personally, I have watched the conservatives use tactics made famous by Rove tear down people I respect (and some were personal friends). They have depended on rumors, lies and revealing secrets to win elections. I feel sorry for the girl but not her mother who chose to be part of this machine.

First of all, if her teenage daughter was knocked up during her junior year in high school, then doesn't that in itself say something about the ineffectiveness of abstinence only education?

Secondly, I couldn't agree more with what an earlier poster said about how McCain never would have chosen a man with Palin's (lack of) qualifications. Feminism is the belief that genders should be equal; afforded the same opportunities, rewarded with the same benefits and therefor, on equal ground so the best person gets the job, regardless of gender. Putting Palin on the ticket has nothing to do with equality and therefor has nothing to do with feminism.

Lastly, I could care less about this woman's personal life. I care about her political stance. Frankly, her professional life is repulsive enough for me to never need judge her private life.

I forgot to answer your question, though.

If I had people that could (correctly, mind you. meaning, per my specs) clean my house, do our laundry, shop for & cook our food, possibly. I'd also have to be able to nurse whenever, wherever I wanted. If all my job truly was beyind being VP was to be there for my baby, yes, I think I could do it. But, have an infant & a preschooler, well, things are getting a bit boggy. To clarify, if most expectations that I have a problem with anyway, regarding pantyhose, possible boob exposure, spit-up free clothes, I think I could do it. Not likely possible, though.

Okay, I only made it through 2/3 of the comments, so not sure if this point has been brought up...

I will not be voting for McCain under any circumstances, so there's that. Sarah Palin is completely unprepared to be president, family issues aside, but of course she can make any decision she wants re: her family life. 24/7 nanny? Fine. I don't care. BUT...

It's looking pretty likely that she was brought on the ticket to boost McCain's appeal in the Evangelical Christian base of the Repub party. James Dobson, revered Evangelical writer and radio personality, has now endorsed McCain based on his VP pick. If anything really bothers me, it is the hypocrisy of the Evangelical enthusiasm about Palin. You know if this was a Democratic 44 year old woman with a developmentally disabled infant (not to mention a 17 yo pregnant daughter) running for VP, she would be crucified. It's stunning, really, that there isn't an uproar in the Evangelical camp over this.

(I identify as an Evangelical Christian, for what it's worth)

Interesting how she's proud of her daughter for "choosing" to have the baby. Just an interesting "choice" of words.

I don't believe that McCain knew of this pregnancy. His lack of judgement all the way around is astounding!

Sarah Palin is the gift to Democrats that keeps on giving.

and Dootz, No. When a woman brings home the bacon, fries it up in the pan, while not letting you forget you're a man, oh and while also changing diapers, she is unfairly juggling. Feminism is about equal opportunity. In my opinion, the juggle results when a family isn't sharing duties appropriately or possibly has taken on too much.

This thread kind of pisses me off. I hate to see a woman in politics attacked for her family choices, period. It's wrong.
I'm not even going to say who I support, politically, because that is besides the point.

wow - your posting was mentioned in an article in the NY TImes today - fabulous!!!

This is such a great site. Even the New York Times is on to it.

A New Twist in the Motherhood Debate
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/us/politics/02mother.html?hp

Scroll to the bottom of the first page to see the reference to UrbanMamas.

I would like to believe that a woman is the same as a man and that Sarah Palin can hand over her new baby with special needs to an extraordinary man, her husband. And that the other 4 children will benefit with the campaign and election of their mother. BUT WHO ARE WE KIDDING? If my 17 year was pregnant and due in December, I would never have exposed her to the kind of humiliation she will suffer and remember for the rest of her life! And how insulated and self serving could one person be to think that they are only one who could fulfill the role of vice president? Its humiliating for women that Sarah Palin could have been used so egregiously and so willingly used for political purposes.

I'm sorry...

urbanMamas:

I am so pleased to read your constructive thoughts on McCain's VP choice! As a young married woman without children (certainly planning on a few kiddo's though!), I was wondering what working and "Household CEO" moms were thinking about this decision. Personally, I am appalled at McCain's choice of Palin, mainly for political reasons and her lack of experience in foreign policy and national issues (social security, education, our trillions of dollars of national debt, war in Iraq, the list goes on...)! I agree with many of you that she is putting her career over the best interests of her newborn and other children. And, I think it's comical that McCain thinks democratic women are so sour about Hillary not being elected that they would vote for just any woman. He's sadly mistaken, as we do not stand on the same principles as he.

I would be so disappointed if we as a country voted into the vice presidency a staunch pro-lifer, anti-gay (Kudos to the Mom on this blog that said she is raising two kids with her partner!), anti-environment, big oil and lifelong supporter of the NRA. (Can anyone tell me also why so many pro-lifers are supporters of the death penalty??) Let me also mention that over the past six months or so she has been asked repeatedly if she was open to the possibility of running for Vice President. Every time she responded with a "that's impossible for me to even consider right now." or "I don't even know what the Vice President does" as a far as job duties. Give me a break! She wasn't ready then and she is certainly not ready now.

God forbid she does get elected with the old "maverick," she better fight for more funding for our schools, better healthcare for the children of this country, and realize that global warming is not only a possibility-it's already here. I hope we can focus ourselves on what's really important in our nation today and our foreign interests as well. I am certainly nervous about bringing children up in a country that has forgotten about the American dream and fostering healthy and well-educated children.

Thanks for letting impart my two cents. I tip my hats to all of you mothers, both out in the corporate world and Household CEO's. Mothers are the backbone of our society.

Meg, San Francisco


Catherine Bateson, daughter of Margaret Mead, wrote a wonderful book called "Composing a Life" . In the book she writes about 'sequencing'. This refers to the idea that one can choose NOT to do everything at once. Women can multi-task and they also can benefit from living their life embracing the present. The frenetic energy displayed by Sarah Palin is not a good omen for the woman who may one day be comander and chief. I would urge the Republicans to reject her nomination and suggest she try pacing herself. A woman with her energy could be needed in our future. Lets hope life/time teaches her a more moderate approach!

The best thing about Sarah Palin's VP candidacy is finding out about urbanmamas.com!

Memo to Sarah and Bristol:

Choosing to have a baby (disabled or not) does not make you a saint.

Choosing not to have a baby (disabled or not) does not make you a sinner.

Choosing makes you a fully capable human being.

My son was also born with a serious neurological disability. I put my career on hold to care for him full-time. 17 years (including a second child) later, I'm still trying to get a toehold back in the workplace. Has my disabled son benefited from my care? Of course. Will he suffer in the future because of my permanently reduced earning power? Quite possibly.

Whether or not to have a child, whether or when to go back to work - these are tough decisions each person should be allowed to make on her own terms. Choosing Sarah Palin for a running mate is the decision I question. The cynic in me says McCain may have had full knowledge about Bristol's pregnancy, etc., and chose Palin precisely because he knew these issues would distract voters from demanding fully evolved and detailed policy positions.

Republican voters in particular should consider what (and who) motivated McCain to choose Palin over his own preferred first choices, i.e., just how scared is he of losing the election and what else is he capable of doing if he thinks it will help him win? Choosing Palin shows serious contempt not only for women and voters in general, but for members of his own party.

Well, Palin is less qualified to govern the country than even Dan Quayle was and look how that turned out... so that's very telling on McCain.

No, I was not a big Obama mama. But I will not vote for anyone who might pinch the reproductive choices of my daughter and myself. Just saying... life throws you curve balls sometimes and we want ALL our choices to be legal and available to us.

I am a male, what impact do you think this will have on other young females who might look at Sarah Palin as a role model? in regards to her daughter being pregnant, and do you think the upcoming marriage of her daughter is forced?

It's true we can't judge Sarah Palin. Although I must point out that while her choices are her own, she's free to make those choices...not an option she would extend to the rest of us if God forbid she were elected.
What I find most amusing in this latest twist, though, is listening to the Anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-sex-education Christian right tripping over themselves trying to justify their candidate's knocked-up unwed teenage daughter...

Read Gail Collin's column in the NYT ("Baked Alaska'). It's funny and hits the nail on the head. This is pure pander; they obviously aren't expecting her actually to do any work. (Bush himself has taken off 1/3 of the Presidency in vacations. A VP should get at least that.) Republicans nominate spokesmen - talking heads to placate the people while their cronies raid the treasury. Palin is never going to lift a manicured finger. If YOU want paid leave, if you want preschool, if you want medical insurance, if you want equal pay for equal work - you have to vote for the people who have been advocating that for the last 20 years (that would be Clinton and Biden, by the way.) If Americans vote their pocketbooks - and not treat this election like "American Idol" - then we will all be fine. It's the economy, stupid!

One more thought: Let's remember that Reagan rode into office decrying the moral decay of "welfare queens" and specifically targeted black teenage mothers. Interesting how the shoe fits on the other foot! White teenage mothers, apparently, are deserving of praise. Give me a break! If this isn't the most blatantly racist double-standard I don't know what is.

Great blog! Got it from the NY times article. I'm a mom of a 6 month old baby girl and by reading your post, I have come to the conclusion I'm a momist too.

yay Momists! and ditto to Gail Collins' "Governor Sarah Palin: we know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of ours. And Governor, you’re no Hillary Clinton."

I stumbled upon this site from the NY Times article. A lot of very intelligent comments here. A few things to remember before you vote for McCain. He just turned 72. The current average life expectancy for an American male is 76. Four bouts of cancer. Vietnam vets longevity is considerably less than average. POTUS is obviously one of the most stressful jobs. And what no one dares to speak of: Ten American Presidents have had assination attempts against them. Four have been killed. The idea of a President Palin is not an abstraction.

This is in response to the chatter on this blog about Sarah Palin (as well as the NY Times article today). I find it unbelievable that you would make such an issue over this. If it was Sarah's husband that was selected as McCain's running mate, would you even be having this conversation? I assume not because after all, a mother cannot also have such a career...right? I mean, isn't that what you are really saying?

I too was fixated on 'back to work after three days' - but do any of us know what that means EXACTLY? It could mean 'looked at an email' or it could mean 'took the baby to a meeting in car seat.'
I personally couldn't leave the house before 6 weeks with both of my kids (we were just in a bliss cocoon) but now I'm back at work as a VERY high level professional loving that too.

As the former wife of a politician and mother of four college students, I am appalled at the double-standard Gov. Palin seems to represent. I can tell you that politicians don't have a lot of family time, especially at that level of government.

Republicans have forced racist policies on minority "welfare mothers" including marriage promotion and abstinence only classes. Yet a white teenager is applauded for her pregnancy. She is an example of why sex education and choice are much needed.

Palin's ego and actions say a lot about her family values. To have a special needs child and go back to work after three days does not allow real bonding. She is neglecting the needs of her children and not offering proper parenting. If this family was black, there would be huge criticism about family values.

The Republicans rallying around her are hypocrites.

Responsbility - Sarah Palin had a Down's Syndrome baby in April. When our children were preschool age and elementary school, I felt it was very important to plan my work schedule around their needs as much as possible, to be there with them as much as possible That's not because I don't believe in the equality of women in the workplace. Its just because when I choose to become a mother, I made the commitment that for next 15-20 years, my priority would be to them. There will be time enough in my life to do many other things later, but while they were young, my priority had to be best possible mother I could - which really means being there.

A friend told me once that a handicapped child is God's way of teaching a person to put someone else's needs ahead of their own wants. Her Downs Syndrome child was then 5, and needed frequent medical and therapeutic intervention. I think any good mother will say she has learned that lesson from her children, but certainly mothers of handicapped children relearn it everyday.

The choices you make AFTER the child is born are just as important than the choices you make BEFORE. And now we find out that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. Should Sarah should have spent more time being with Bristol also? What values has she modeled for her daughter? What does that say about her sense of responsiblity to her most important job? Do we need someone like that as a vice president?

I can't imagine that the conservative Christian mothers I'm friends with, who choose to put their children first in their lives and many of whom homeschool, would admire a woman who clearly does not, regardless of what her anti-abortion stance seemingly indicates. But I know quite a few conservative Christian dads who feel the same way. Raising a child IS an important job, raising a handicapped child takes even more work.

Being good parents takes time, lots of it, intelligence, and a tremendous amount of unselfishness. I'm not saying that other jobs, like doctors and politicians, aren't important too, but they simply aren't MORE important than parentingg, with two parents, raising children carefully and giving the children their most important gift - time.

I have no kids at home anymore, but I worked all the way through raising a son and a stepson. It wasn't easy, and I was lucky to have a cooperative husband, good childcare, and someone who came in and cleaned the house every two weeks. I don't think the governor of Alaska should be disqualified because she's a mother, and I don't think she should have been chosen on that basis either.

But reading all the comments, I can't help but guess that Ms. Palin can afford many things the rest of us can only dream of like regular household help, regular childcare assistance and most of all, gold standard health care.

All that will make it less burdensome to attend to the needs of a special child. It will make it possible for her daughter to have the kind of care that will guard against the health risks that trouble teen moms who don't have that kind of access. And it will make it possible for her daughter's baby to enjoy the kind of advantages that are not generally available to the children of very young women who are married (or not) to very young men because they simply can't afford them.

I don't begrudge the Palins any of that. What angers me is that Ms.Palin and her running mate don't get it that the system is broken when they have those kinds of services and advantages, and the rest of us don't. I would hope that a woman and a mother would bring empathy and grace into a world that has too long been run by people obsessed with force and war, but there's no sign that Ms. Palin understands the rest of us.

I too looked at all your the comments as a result of the NYT and as a male following the presidential runup from Australia. Some good debate. Bottom line should always be, for any job, can this person meet the expectations of the employer.

Clearly a lot of people (you employer electors) who have posted comments have their doubts. McCain's judgement or motives in putting forward this candidate is another issue. For me his major lack of judgement was not running against Bush 8 years ago.

I totally understand the desire to insist that working mothers can do anything as well as men can do. Especially if you're working in a mostly male profession, where you know as soon as you get pregnant that your colleagues are looking for you to fail so they can take your place. I was so determined to beat back all the sexist creeps at work that the morning I gave birth to my son, I called into work and told them I'd had a slight delay getting to the office but I'd be there in time for an important meeting that afternoon. Exhausted new mothers just gut it out at work like that all the time. But this isn't just about whether Sarah Palin should get a chance to prove she can work and also be a mom. This is about how she'd perform if she suddenly became the most powerful person on earth, with millions of people's lives depending on her every decision. Isn't it kinda nuts to put someone in that position who's likely to be sleep deprived and strung out with an infant son?

I'm loving the poetic irony of a woman who has a choice as to whether she or someone else will raise her young children is so against choice others.
In answer to your original question cafemama, no, I do not believe it is possible for anyone to work full-time and also take on the role of full-time mother. Whether or not someone with a 24/7 nanny for an infant is counted as a working mother is related to whether or not the middle class extends to an annual income of 5 million dollars. ( . . . but seriously)
Amy P in FL, your comments regarding this fantasy of having it all are quite in line with my experience, and I greatly appreciated Monica in Cali's response to Dootz. Absolutely. I believe Sarah Palin is a step back for feminism.

How come men who are fathers can do the VP or President job. They can balance fatherhood and job! So, why not mothers? Surely, Gov. Palin has balanced her motherhood and her Governor's job and she both excel in those roles. You women and all of us should elect her to VP because she will excel in that job without jeopardizing her motherhood role! If later, she becomes President of the United States of America the more we should all be excited on this glorious scenario. Because being so remarkedly unremarkable like us, she like us can do service to our America.

You know what I thought of when I read that Gov. Palin went back to work three days after giving birth... could that possibly mean a reversal of maternity leave??? I know it probably won't happen but it does give pause for thought... can you imagine employers that are already cutting back on whatever they can saying well, if Palin can do that why can't other women do the same and thus we wind up facing another fight for the hard won maternity leave that even some men fight to take these days... that just doesn't sit right with me... she may be able to do that but it's NOT the reality for most of us working mothers... leaving that down syndrome child also leave me to wonder if it's not a way for her to cover the distraught of his dysfunction by not being around him as much and learning too that you and your daughter are now going to be breast feeding together...

I applaud her academics and achievement but I question her thought process and wisdom on the woman... 'Motherhood' front.

So many of the women around the country denouncing Palin for being both a full-time wage-earner (and a highly successful one at that) AND a full-time mother (gasp!) are just setting back the advancement of women by DECADES!

Get over yourselves. It's her *choice* AND *right* to do both.

It's about time that women get a fair chance to succeed in the business/political/academic arena, without feeling like children are the end of their career. Working mothers with nannies don't love their children any less than non-working mothers.

Stop condemning other mothers for doing what women before us have fought so long and hard for! We have enough problems with the men in this world giving us a hard time -- we don't need to gang up on our own, too.

It's about time the world was led by women.

I am a mother and a business woman. I spent almost a decade working in America, I am Australian, and I’ve travelled a lot. I'd considered returning to work after having my first (and only) child, because I needed to work- who else would pay for our needs?
After the joy and love of going through childbirth and bringing home my little son, I could not even imagine heading straight out to work at a time when the body is still going through the roughest time. In Australia, its common knowledge that with a new mother that the 3rd day after birth, a new mom would be going through a time of emotional chaos due to hormones... Impossible to imagine going back to work, let alone making a major decision for one's self, let alone a newborn, or one that is obviously requiring additional care.
However, having a sister who has a down syndrome child (my niece is now aged 18 yrs old & my sister is still in denial), I have seen first hand how going back to work, or not acknowledging the diagnosis is an easy way to distance one's self from that child. This new 2nd in charge of America if voted in, had only to hand the child over to someone else and go back to "an important" career". That child will need so much care, especially next year, when they can start verbalising “I want my mommy”.
Come on - the debate should not be about pro choice or no choice, experience or no experience, or even the fact that she is a perfect pawn in the drill or no drill pristine Alaska, to kill or not kill endangered species. This woman, who you (American's) and we (Australian's and the rest of the world) could have to rely on to deal with the future of the planet, cannot possibly rely on for the future - when she cannot even acknowledge the 100% needs of her newborn (or even possibly her daughter's newborn if you believe the bad press), and hand the child out of her responsibility. My sister still treats my downs niece as something "God handed down as punishment" rather than a worthy life requiring 110% energy to push to the limits, so why on earth could any mother go back to work to leave this child (any child) that needs more than the usual care. We all need a strong woman - not just a "token woman". Please! So many moms do this after a few days, a few weeks, a few months or even – in those countries that make our nikes and our cotton t-shirts a few hours after birth – but this is either a woman that gave up her child at the time when a babe should / must be with the new mother. Either that, or really..the babe is really her daughter’s and a miscarriage is just around the corner. Sounds terrible, but that would sound better than the fact she has turned her back on her newborn (and the deer, bears, penguins, husky dogs and other native animals) up in Alaska she is happy to kill on the way to the white house. Obama did it right by saying personal lives should not be a part of campaigning, but since the Republicans have put up a token woman, surely a gun toting, killing, non-scientific, "say no before marriage unless it's her own family" and mother in denial of a special needs child, with a "boss" who steps in line with George W Bush who has sent America backwards over the past 8 yrs - women, please - left or right - we ALL deserve more respect.

When I say her achievements I mean the political growth but she's not qualified to be in the role to follow POTHUS; she got where she is because of issue in her party’s politics in Alaska it doesn’t mean she’s right for the job; look at how beaten up Geraldine Ferraro was when Mondale chose her, comments about fears of having her make a wrong decision could be blamed away on 'Gerry's Hot Flashes' were awful to hear, with Palin it'll be about breast feeding in public... and now her parenting skills which seems not to be working since her daughter is pregnant.

She may be on point in politics but this ticket is lost if they think we are all so stupid we can't see it's not representative of the real American women. Women will never be equal to men, they will never get the same pay as men and men will never bear the full brunt of the parenting needs in the average household in America. I absolutely don't think the Capitol Hill movers and shakers will go for McCain/Palin in November.

I was 44 when I had my youngest child. Once I had committed to that child, there was nothing I wouldn't do to protect him and see him born healthy. After weekly ultrasounds and genetic testing, we knew that he was "ok." The day he was born, he went right to the NICU. It was a tough birth for both of us, just because of the way he was oriented. All I can say is this: I would never have risked a long plane ride in labor. That seems just reckless. I have always juggled work and motherhood, but I'm not impressed with Palin's "work life balance" in the least.

I am disappointed with so many comments. I thought "we've come a long way baby". I was a working mother and I am the bread winner of the family. We women can balance family and career, it's called organization. My children were not neglected cause I worked, I worked to ensure they had what they needed. Health care, food, shelter, clothing, good education. That is America. The right to have a family and to provide for that family. I am proud of Sarah and I commend McCain for his decision. Do I believe in everything she believes in, no. Give her time, you are going to find she is a reformer she with McCain will be able to clean house and bring America back to what our Founding Fathers believed in. America asked for this, America wanted McCain to show us that he is still a Maverick and will make the changes the people want. McCain responded to America and found what we were looking for. I can't wait to see her debate Biden. She will be ready and it will be good.

Whether Palin can manage motherhood and grandmotherhood and be VP at the same time is not the question. This woman has no qualifications to put her a heartbeat away from the presidency. Her only education is that she has a BA in journalism. Her experience in local government is as a member of city council and mayor of a very small town. I understand her female cousin took over her position as mayor of the town and now the town is unhappy with her, but she refused to resign. Then there is the matter of the brother-in law State Trooper whom Palin had fired over a family squabble---shades of soap opera. But she was only Governor for 18 months. Senator Obama Graduated from Columbia University, and Harvard Law School, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude. In school he specialized in international law. At the University of Chicago he taught Constitutional law for 12 years. He was Illinois State Senator for 2 years, and now a U.S. Senator for 4 years. He has written two nationally known books. It is pitiful for Republicans to say that Palin has qualifications equal to Obamas. That is a blatent lie. She has nothing to offer except to bring fundamentalist extremist evangelicals to the party. Sure much of the party is going to support her, but only because they want the Republicans to win the election, no matter the consequences of this unacceptable nomination.

What I find really disturbing about the national response to Palin's candidacy is the way her and her family's personal reproductive choices have become so shamelessly politicized by conservatives (and others, yes, but one at a time). I read in the NYT that conservative women are "thrilled" with Palin because she lives her pro-life values, "even when that's hard to do." I don't want to be too cynical--but jeez, it's hard not to be in this culture--but when a poor working-class white girl or a young African-American or Latina girl turn up pregnant and want to be mamas, conservatives aren't "thrilled" about their choices. They start talking about abstinence education, the ultimate form of denial and self-hating rhetoric. We are sexual creatures--this is not new or surprising or bad. Abstinence-only, which Palin of course supports, as she is nearly a walking cliche of textbook conservatism, is shame-based. It's ignorance disguised as charity and faith.

On the one hand, conservatives are "thrilled" and say Bristol "made a mistake," just like the rest of us; on the other, teenage pregnancy is otherwise treated as a scourge on society, something to be repressed and erased through abstinence-only blockheadedness. The hypocrisy is too much for this mama! Make it stop!!

I find Gov. Palin's comment to the press about her daughters' pregnancy "Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family." …to be a contradiction since she doesn't seem to portray any difficulties that her return to work so quickly says to the world.

Having just published a book about empowering mothers, I was so conflicted when I heard about Palin's run for VP and her tiny baby. My first thought was, I want to know who is taking care of that baby! Not so I can judge her or them, but just so I know. For example, if she has a hands-on-husband, or a great mother/doula, or someone she had known forever and trusts... I'd feel more comfortable with the whole deal.

This outsourcing of childcare is still a huge and controversial topic. In our focus groups (we interviewed more than 500 women all over America) most moms seemed to have stopped being judgmental or superior about whether other mothers were working outside the home or not. They were more focused on their individual situations and whether or not they could make their own lives work better in a way that suited their families. And that's the thesis of the book: you take care of yourself so you can take care of others(www.momstimeouts.com).

BUT when you are VP, working 24/7 and have FIVE kids, there is no way you can take time for yourself. Maybe she is Type A and a superwoman, but I predict Sarah Palin would be conflicted and burned out before one year is up.

What I learned from all our research is that everyone has difference tolerance levels and different personalities, and we are too quick to judge the choices other moms make. So I struggle with my own instinctive (and to me, old-fashioned) reaction that says, this just doesn't feel right.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment