Monday, September 01, 2008

my confession of double standards...

It's been a few days since McCain announced Sarah Palin as his choice for VP and my opinion of whether this is good for the Dems has flipped and flopped and then flipped again. But regardless of what McCain's reasons were for choosing Palin, as we discover more about her, I've found myself more and more uncomfortable in discussions about her.

And it has less to do with her politics than her status as a mother.

Politically, she is as polar opposite from me as possible on almost every front, and that's pretty much what I'd expect from McCain's running-mate.

So why on earth do I find myself judging her parenting?

My first gut reaction upon hearing that she has five children, with the youngest under one, is to wonder what kind of super powers this woman must have to be able to run a vice-presidential election with so many kids?

And then I remember, "Oh yeah, I work." (At least usually...)

"But Self," I think, "you're not running for vice president of the United States. If you did that, you'd never see your kids. Who would make sure they do their homework? Who'd make sure they didn't have too much screen time? Who'd kiss them goodnight?"

"But she's serving as a strong example to her children about what women can do, whether they're mothers or not. That's a powerful message."

And who knows? Maybe their father is the one who is more hands-on.

Soon after Samuel was born and I'd just returned to work full-time, a friend who stayed home with her kids said to me, "Wow, I don't know how you do it. I don't think I could hand my kids over to someone else to raise them."

It took years for me to truly get over that comment. Even though I didn't believe that having my kids in daycare meant I wasn't raising them, her words triggered the guilt lever and I wondered whether or not I was doing my kids a disservice by working on my career--something that makes me happy and is also quite helpful in paying the mortgage.

And I certainly don't mean to start a battle between working moms and stay home moms--I feel very comfortable with my decision, with the fact that this is a very personal choice people have to make for themselves, and that every family's situation is different.

But even though I pray Sarah Palin is never elected as Vice President, and that I feel that her nomination was a desperate move by McCain for PR (a move that is truly insulting to women in general no matter what Palins' accomplishments include), I feel genuinely guilty that my gut reaction is to question her parenting choices, when what I believe I should feel is an acknowlegement of her success.

1 comment:

Marketing Mama said...

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, too. Trying not to judge, keeping my thoughts in check, etc. Even though you and I have different politics, it appears, and I'm happy she's on the ticket for the republican party.

I know how hard it's been taking on a new job with a baby over the past few months. I know how exhausting it is to try to 'do everything' and be everything, but I support all women who want to do it all... and that's what Sarah Palin has already proven she can do. Is being VP that much more difficult than being Governer? Truly? Probably not. Is being Governer that much more difficult than any of the other full time (plus) jobs that many working moms already have in our country?

If I was picked out of the blue to be the VP candidate, you bet I'd say yes. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. And she has the full support of her family.

Plus, I bet she has a nanny (or someone) to take the night shift!