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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website,

Will Sarah Palin be the Ultimate Working Mom?

Categories: Infrastructure, Uncategorized


Sarah PalinI’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?

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31 comments so far...

  • I agree with you . . and more so I’m tired of ALL politicians parading ALL kids like showpieces for our approval. I have to say, I think the Clintons did a great job sheltering Chelsea until she was older. I hope Palin and Obama make the same choices but it’s not looking good . . . politicians kids shouldn’t be a gimmick.

    Gretchen  |  September 7th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

  • Yeah, I too cringed when I saw that baby. I wondered why he didn’t cry with being around so many loud people and with it being so late in the day, but then I remembered that the baby has downs and may not respond like my children did. Anyway, I thought to myself that the child should have stayed home, and just to make an appearance via video so that his ability to carry on with his schedule is preserved. Okay, Sarah, we moms will let it slide this time, but schlep that baby around where ever you go and you will have a lot of angry moms to contend with!

    Robin  |  September 7th, 2008 at 6:29 pm

  • Don’t worry you weren’t the only one. I am not even a mother and I wondered about how the baby dealing with the noise and how he did not cry at all. Then the really cynical side of me remembered something I read about soothing syrup, but that is probably a bit far fetched.

    Uma  |  September 7th, 2008 at 8:01 pm

  • I too wondered why wouldn’t she leave the children at the hotel?

    But perhaps it’s because the public wants to see the children. Yes, it’s not good to parade as you say, but, if the youngest children weren’t there, then we would wonder why. Or we would judge her saying, see she had to leave the kids. She can’t be close to her kid, she can’t be there as she should for her kids. What kind of mother is she if she is running for VP. The nanny is raising the kid.

    So when you are in the public’s eye, no matter what you do, you will be scrutinized. Like Beth Mildred said about her nasal surgery, “you damned if you do, you damned if you don’t.”

    I personally liked the fact that the child was there. I felt empowered. Yeah, she can be a mom and a VP and possibly President in the future. I said, women can have it all.

    Vera Babayeva  |  September 7th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

  • Another thought.
    I also wondered why the Obama kids were at the DMC. They are young too. Shouldn’t they have been sleeping at the hotel too? Should we also question Michelle Obama’s parenting decisions?

    Vera Babayeva  |  September 7th, 2008 at 9:40 pm

  • If I see one more article trashing Ms. Palin’s parenting choices on WorkItMom, I will never return to this site.

    SKL  |  September 7th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

  • Honestly I think think is an overly harsh judgment. She is definitely in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position with her children. If the baby had been home with her husband people would ask why her husband wasn’t supporting her. If the baby was home but her husband was there people would say oh they just pass off a 4 month baby to anyone? Passing around a baby at a loud event may not be ideal but it certainly isn’t a dangerous situation in any way.

    Being the VP with an infant is not great timing. BUT I don’t think its reason enough not to run for VP. That’s how life is, the timing never works out the way we want it to. Putting myself in Trig’s shoes, I would be devastated if I found out as an adult that my mother had passed up such a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, especially as they have the resources to provide excellent childcare for him.

    And as for the comments about the kids being there for both parties - this is an amazing experience for them that will be an incredible memory for the rest of their lives! I think it’s worth staying up past bedtime for.

    Laura  |  September 7th, 2008 at 11:45 pm

  • I’m with Gretchen. I’m tired of all of the children of all of the candidates being used as props.

    As for little kids being out late… I do have to point out that pesky little time zone thing. 10 p.m. EST is 9 p.m. in Minneapolis/St. Paul and 8 p.m. in Denver…

    Lylah  |  September 8th, 2008 at 1:58 am

  • I just returned to this blog because I was checking the visitors on my site.

    I also just read the comments posted on my blog about my thoughts on Palin on Yahoo Shine. And here are some more thoughts of mine.

    I am tired of us women trashing our fellow woman, Palin. We always complain about how we don’t get enough support as working mothers and finally one steps into the scene, and we are still complaining. This is a shame. We women got to be ashamed of ourselves. We are not supporting each other. We are trashing each other. And then we wonder why working mothers dont’ get enough support or get ahead in the workforce. Because we are not letting each other grow!

    And out of all the people, I didn’t expect you, Aliza, to judge.

    I have been reading and really liking your blog, the business resources and tips you provide. So I was under the impression that you’d support a woman like Palin. While you keep saying you are not judging, you are.

    vera babayeva  |  September 8th, 2008 at 4:27 am

  • I definitely think her husband should be there.

    For an infant, there is a thing called a “babysitter” - would have allowed husband to be there for Palin w/o a 4-month-old having to be in tow.

    And I think there is a huge difference between an infant and a 6 or 7 year old. I do think it is a “once in a lifetime” moment for the children who will remember - albeit vaguely - the event. I don’t have a 6 or 7 year old yet so don’t have any experience there.

    Not sure how old Piper is - but when her father handed her the infant, I held my breath.

    Aliza  |  September 8th, 2008 at 11:32 am

  • I’m a raging liberal and therefore not a Palin fan. I have all sorts of issues with her, but this is not one of them. “The night mommy got nominated to be VP” is not an event every child gets to put in his/her scrapbook and I’m fine with them all being a part of her history-making appearance. I would have left the baby at home. There was nothing to be gained by his being there except PR points. But I only raised one child and she has five. I imagine that by the fifth one you get pretty casual about hauling them around everywhere.

    Carolyn S.  |  September 8th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

  • One thing you’re missing: it may not have been Trig’s bedtime. They’re from a time zone at least 2 hours earlier than it was in Minneapolis.

    I took my daughter to a college football game when she was an infant. Not the smartest thing because she didn’t do well with the noise but aren’t most of us getting on-the-job training as moms? We make mistakes, try to learn from them, and move on. Getting judged by others doesn’t help and if she’s smart, she’s not listening to any of the stuff going on about her and focusing on what she needs to do for her work and her family. Good advice for everyone.

    Julie Lenzer Kirk  |  September 8th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

  • I’ve been to a “Bollywood” concert where everyone who had a child brought him/her. Just sitting around me were several women holding very young infants, younger than Trig. This was a new idea for me - probably because I was #3 of 6 close-in-age kids and my parents couldn’t logistically take us anywhere at that age. Now let me tell you what a “Bollywood” concert is. Bollywood is India’s Hollywood and most of their films have music and dancing. This concert was a series of music and dance from the Bollywood movies and it was LOUD. Every single one of those little babies slept right through it. Babies are amazing.

    Ms. Palin took Piper to work with her during her early months, so she knows what a little baby can tolerate. Not every child has trouble sleeping, etc. (Both of my kids slept through the night earlier than 4 months.) This is just another parenting choice that Ms. Palin is free to make without working women, of all people, trashing her.

    SKL  |  September 8th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

  • I think she would have been equally criticized for leaving her children at home. Because of societal biases against working women, it would have been easier for Palin if she were older with older children.

    Heidi Reimer-Epp [Botanical PaperWorks]  |  September 8th, 2008 at 5:54 pm

  • I’m not a fan of Palin, but I have no problem with her kids being there. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event for her and her family.

    So the kids are off their routine for 48 hours, it’s not going to ruin their lives. Knowing that they were left behind in the hotel for the biggest moment in their family’s life, might just break their hearts.

    Lisse  |  September 8th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

  • Hmm, but it was ok for Obama’s small children to be at the DNC? Where is Michelle Obama’s criticism? I think if Palin’s kids had NOT been there then she would have been criticized for that too. I am a mom to 3 kids and there have been times my kids were allowed to stay up past their bedtime — this was kind of a special event don’t you think? I really hate to hear moms criticizing other moms — none of us are perfect.

    RM  |  September 8th, 2008 at 8:55 pm

  • How many times have we seen this before — kids and grandkids of all ages at the conventions — why the criticism now? Not all kids have perfect schedules — my youngest would take late naps and stay up until 10pm at night — that just worked for him. And they certainly weren’t passing him around like a football — the family members were holding him. I don’t think it is lack of judgement — this is such a huge event in her life, it is only natural to want the ones you love surrounding you and supporting you. Who are you to be judging Sarah Palin anyways?

    Becks  |  September 8th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  • Personally, I don’t think it was bad parenting. I would have wanted my family with me too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with kids staying uo for special occasions — and this certainly was a biggie. The baby looked perfectly happy and I am sure that if he was upset a family member would have taken him backstage.

    Momma Bear  |  September 8th, 2008 at 10:10 pm

  • I’m not a Palin supporter, but of all the things I’ve read against her, this is the most rediculous ‘criticizm’ I think I’ve come across. I most certainly would have had my 4 month old son with me for such an historic event. I would have had him with me regardless. I think you are nit-picking something that is nothing. I think family is a big part of both political sides and MY family consists of ALL of my children, not just the ones who ‘will remember’. Wow…**rolling eyes**

    Lizzie  |  September 8th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

  • Let’s look beyond the public image to the real issues: is Palin qualified to be President? The VP being only a heartbeat away from the presidency….

    Daisy  |  September 9th, 2008 at 1:02 am

  • I believe that all children from infancy through at least 5 years old should have been in bed at a reasonable time. However Alask time zone is 4 hours behind us.

    Therefore all of Palin’s children would be woke when they were. When she was giving the speech apx 10pm Eastern, Alaska Time it would have been only 6p.m.

    So perhaps this is why they were not in bed.

    However in general anytime past 7:30p.m/8pm Alaska time the kids should be in bed or preparing. So basically Palin’s kids were on the border of being up too late.

    I have a toddler and am expecting–and it normally takes 1 hour to get her whined down and asleep nightly.

    I am sure that Palin and her family stayed at the convention later than just for her speech.

    They still should have been in bed, but I guess she felt that the family needed to be there at this time–for her first convention/public speech.

    Now in the future if we keep seeing the children she is not exhibiting good parent skills.

    I personally feel Obama and Michelle children were old enough to be up when the convention took place to support their parents.

    They could have taken longer naps during that time–and rested all day to be able to function. In addition school was not in session. And/or they could be homeschooled.

    Mrs. Robinson  |  September 9th, 2008 at 4:57 am

  • Ive said this before and ill say it again. you loiberals make me sick. sara palin is running to change america and make it a better place for YOU and you just want ot take her down. WHY!?? sara palin sands for freedom and change and u all just want her to lose because you think she is a bad mom. shame on you.

    Sindy Howard  |  September 9th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

  • Interesting thought on Sarah having her kids at the convention at a late hour … and very interesting comments on this topic for sure!!

    After my first was born, I could not have agreed with you more Aliza. We had a great schedule and my full attention was on baby #1 - I did everything he needed. I literally did nothing else. (Well, okay maybe I worked for about 6 months, but had him with me at all times.) The convention environment was something that would have been completely off limits to my precious child - the noise, the number of people, the hour of the day - all were foreign elements to baby #1. (He is now almost 4 and would have LOVED to have been there that night! Just like his dad … “mr. social butterfly”)

    Now that we have baby #2 (who is almost 2 already!) I can say that I do things very differently. We have certainly changed our lives, but I allow and tolerate more with this one. I imagine Sarah is much the same … after you have a couple, your boundaries change.

    My children are much more resilient than I ever imagined they could or would be … I think most children are …

    Yes, it would probably have been better for Sarah’s kids to be in bed at that time … but how many times is their Mom going to be “front and center” like that again? I think it’s more important to share the experience as a family … and I agree with another commentor that if we keep seeing them on stage in the spotlight, that isn’t good … I believe she is not one of “those kinds” of moms.

    And yes, I’ll be voting for the McCain/Palin ticket. :-)

    Dalon  |  September 10th, 2008 at 12:59 am

  • I agree with Aliza. It is a little upsetting to see a baby that small carted around on stage. And no, this is not a liberal or conservative issue - it’s an issue of trying to balance work and family. Sometimes as mothers we have to put our child’s needs before our own.

    It is hard to do both, and I am not faulting anyone for trying. I’m a working mother who sometimes works too much, is in front of the computer much more than I should be and find myself juggling much more than I should - I can only imagine what it is like to be a VP candidate. However, when I’m working, I make sure that my kids stay on schedule.

    It’s hard to say what I would do if I were in Gov. Palin’s shoes - and none of us really can - but based on past experience, I’m pretty sure I would have left the baby with a sitter and out of the limelight.

    Jenniferds1127  |  September 10th, 2008 at 3:16 am

  • In response to Sindy Howard who said;
    “Ive said this before and ill say it again. you loiberals make me sick. sara palin is running to change america and make it a better place for YOU and you just want ot take her down. WHY!?? sara palin sands for freedom and change and u all just want her to lose because you think she is a bad mom. shame on you.”

    I am a liberal and before I make you sick, can you please tell me one thing Sarah Palin has said since you have been introduce to her that gives you the idea she stands for change in America?

    What about her campaign thus far tells you she stands for freedom? Oh, and you say she wants to make America better for by taking away my right to choose, by telling Al Gore that all this global warming stuff is BS, by continuing on with this war that is killing 1,000’s of people and taking money out of the hands of American people. Really, is that how she is going to make it better for us. Have you been in a cave the past 8 years?

    It has been 12 days since she was announced as the VP candidate and she has yet to give a real political interview to the media. She has not answered one question or said one thing about what she plans to do to change America. All Ms. Palin has been doing (if you have been paying attention) is bashing her opponent and repeating the same half truths over and over again.

    Sarah Palin won’t give a real interview because she is using this time to teach herself about Foreign Policy so that she can stand a chance against Joe Biden in the debates. Good luck there.

    I am sickened by the fact that a good majority of women have been suckered into liking Sarah Palin because of all the wrong reasons. Because she is a mom with five kids is no reason to make her VP. The media is being suckered too and I can’t wait until everyone realizes what a farce this is.

    The Sarah Palin pick was a tactic used to aide in failing campaign. Yes she revived his campaign for now, but there is more style than substance. McCain really does have women peg correctly though. He knew that a certain demographic of women would fall for her. You’ve got to give him that.

    Obama wouldn’t be so cunning to the women of America. I am sure of it.

    Lori Daly  |  September 11th, 2008 at 12:22 am

  • Will Sarah Palin be the ultimate working mom? I really, REALLY hope not because I really, REALLY hope that she won’t ever get that chance.

    Robyn  |  September 11th, 2008 at 1:00 am

  • The specific issue of an infant being handed about a stage at a massive event doesn’t bother me as much as what it signifies to me: Palin’s hypocritical stance toward those “family values,” whose proponents (James Dobson, et. al) have used to propel her to that stage.

    “Family values” groups say women belong in the home raising their children, that they shouldn’t get a choice about when those children arrive, that their job is to nurture children and take care of the family. Those groups — which are her primary supporters — want women to be governed by their men, to be stripped of some of their human rights. So I find it quite offensive that their “poster child” mom gets excused from having to adhere to those same rules, that this “pit bull” of a mother gets to choose to blithely abandon her “God-given” job.

    As one of 10 children and the mother of two (young adults now), I’m like you, Aliza — most reluctant to judge other parents’ choices. I can’t say whether a baby at political events is good or bad for them.

    But I can say that I’m extremely offended that this is the route the right-wing has chosen to take to try to lull us working moms into thinking their policies actually support us!

    Thanks, Aliza, for getting this discussion going. It’s been ignored because of all the other “dirt” that’s been uncovered, but I think it’s a more important point than the bedroom antics.

    Joan Kremer  |  September 11th, 2008 at 3:55 am

  • Gayle Kesten  |  September 12th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

  • I want to know what she thinks about healthcare? And the economy, and social security, everthing else that we that will be still dealing with long after the dust settles. Ya think that for one minute that McCain gets the office and that she speaks her mind that good old DC Boys won’t put her in her place (right) Atta girls now, reel em in. It will change. Or shall I say it won’t change.

    kbegnaud  |  September 14th, 2008 at 3:50 am

  • I don’t see any of the candidates taking their kids to everything all the time. I think the RNC was more of a time to meet Gov. Palin and her family. They didn’t seem to be flaunting anything and it didn’t seem to be out of the ordinary of any other presidential national convention I’ve seen from either party over the years.

    I was proud of her for being proud of her baby and saying she would be an advocate for special needs in the white house. We all know special needs kids need all the advocates they can get!

    Annemarie  |  September 14th, 2008 at 7:05 am

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