I’ve been living in Alaska for the last three years so have watched Sarah Palin’s move from Mayor of Wasilla to Governor of the State and now to John McCain’s running mate. I, too, have some of the same questions as many other Americans such as: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be Vice President of the United States?
While I think she is a relaxed and natural public speaker, delivering her acceptance and convention speeches as if she were addressing fellow parents at the PTA, I question the validity of most of what she says.
But my main concern isn’t if she is yet another pandering politician who I wish I could trust but simply can’t.
After watching her at 10pm Eastern Standard Time/9pm Central Time at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota and seeing her family pass 4-month-old Trig around like a football in front of the roaring crowd, I kept thinking, “If I were in that stadium, wouldn’t my baby be at home, with a sitter, sound asleep at her proper bedtime?”
I must admit that I probably would never have noticed the baby, much less the parade of her other 4 children, if I were still single, aggressively career-oriented, and child-free. But as an older mother of a 2-year-old, I was offended and appalled.
Now I will try to put my “don’t judge the way I parent” hat on. I personally resent it when others question the way I parent, the way I choose to define motherhood. And I must say I can be a rather unconventional mother in many ways. I also am re-energizing my career and feel so much better now that I’m working closer to full-time and my daughter is in full-time day care. So I get the whole “women deserve to work, even moms” thing.
But all of this reasoning and rationale still doesn’t make me feel better about seeing an infant passed around like a football in front of a stadium full of screaming people at any time.
At four months, my own daughter was just getting a sleeping schedule down and while I did travel with her in tow to both Europe and South America when she was 3 and 4 months old, all of my activities revolved around providing her with a routine to optimize her sleeping and eating schedules. And when I couldn’t provide her with that, my husband remained with her at the hotel to let her sleep and to feed her.
Again, I’m trying not to be judgmental. Every parent has different theories about what is healthy for their children. But passing a 4-month-old baby around like a football in front of a stadium full of screaming people? Republican, Democrat, Independent, I don’t care - to me, that was a bad parenting decision.
Which leads me to the real question: Will Sarah Palin be the Ultimate Working Mom if she becomes our Vice President? Or will she set women back so far not because of her frighteningly prehistoric views of women’s rights, but because she exemplifies so many of the things that terrify me about putting an unqualified woman - with bad judgment - at the forefront of our country’s leadership?
Yes, she is a working mom. Yes, she is ambitious. Yes, she deserves to work. But at what cost to her children?
I’m one of the lucky working moms because I can afford daycare. I could also afford in-home care if I wanted it (I finally chose daycare after over a year of in-home care to give my daughter the chance to socialize with other children). I can even afford not to work a near full-time schedule. And with those choices, I still struggle to find the balance not only for myself, but for my husband and my baby.
Sarah Palin is also one of the lucky ones. She can afford a babysitter. She doesn’t have to parade baby Trig out in front of a stadium full of people just to prove she is a working mother or to highlight the fact that she has a special needs child. She doesn’t have to treat him as a mere prop in her political campaign.
I’m all for her flaunting that she is a working mom, but she could have easily put photographs of her two younger children on the big screen and tell the crowd that they were back at the hotel asleep.
That would have gotten my vote.
Instead, her lack of judgment as a mom puts a very bad taste in my mouth. I think she is giving working moms a bad name. And I’m not looking forward to seeing “baby on parade” again and again on national television.
What do YOU think?
Subscribe to blog via RSS