Unpleasant truth: How many women out there honestly believe that Palin can't have it all and question her decisions? I started thinking about this all after a conversation with my own mother tonight, a Hillary supporter who is now open to the McCain/Palin ticket but who claimed she has suddenly had a pause because of how much Palin is dealing with in her personal life with all of her kids. This from a woman who herself had a child as a teenager and manages to balance career and family concerns.
I had a dismaying thought: I watch the media hysteria on this topic, and get angry. Some women watch it, and they agree with the media. They wonder: What the heck is Sarah Palin thinking???
Then, I read this story. Turns out my mother is not alone.
I'm getting an increasing sense that it's not only the media asking the question - should Palin be running for vice president with all of those kids, including a pregnant daughter? Good grief. I suppose it's borne out of some women's own practical life realities - the trying to balance it all phenomenon, only to realize that something has to give. I get that.
But still. No one raised this question about other women with children (Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Nancy Pelosi). Is it because the children are older? Is there an ideological bias? Granted, a lot of women in political life have been childless (Condi Rice, Janet Reno). Is that the message we want to send? That it must be either/or? Then what the heck have we been talking about all of these years? Why are we even bother sending our young daughters to college? (Sarcasm, there).
What's the message here? That only women without young children should run for public office? This is putting the issue of gender advancement back years. I wonder if younger women feel this way or if there's a generational divide. (50 and up, like my mother?)
And what of Todd Palin? Doesn't this line of thought do him a great disservice, as if he's not an equal life partner and father? As if he's a missing person in his own family?
Now, my mother herself was a single mother who raised her kids without the help of a partner. Maybe that colors her experience... I don't know. But if Todd Palin takes on additional childcare duties while his wife is the quintessential breadwinner, what business is it of the rest of the world and what, for goodness sake, does it have to do with her ability to lead?
I understand the practical realities - I am a working mother - but it's frustrating to say the least to see Palin's career choices and historic achievement so devalued by average women, not just the media elites.
You know what I wanted to say to my mother (and did): Sarah Palin has made a choice, as all women do, about what the proper balance is between work and home for her own family. Presumably, she made this choice together with her husband, Todd. What right does another person have to challenge that personal choice? I say that women should back off and let other women come to their own decisions about their own lives.
More on the Mommy Wars. I keep thinking: Why are we talking about all of this? It's ridiculous.