McCain & The Working Mom.

What drew my attention was not the first-term, 44-year-old Alaska governor who was standing at the podium proudly accepting the invitation to join a presidential ticket. My eyes were instead focused on a woman in the crowd.

 

Dressed in a navy blue T-shirt bearing an American flag, the woman had, just moments earlier, been politely listening to GOP nominee John McCain explain why he made his particular choice of a running mate. Before revealing the name of his VP, Sarah Palin, McCain talked about how his announcement would “shake up Washington.” It wasn’t until he mentioned that it was the week of the 88th anniversary of women’s suffrage when it dawned upon the woman in the flag T-shirt -- who’d likely been standing in the Dayton, Ohio crowd for hours -- that the vice presidential nominee was not a guy. The spectator’s mouth fell open. Her eyes widened. She looked at the man standing next to her as though she couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. It couldn’t be a woman. Could it?

 

A few minutes later, a mother of five – who gave birth to a baby with Down Syndrome in April, whose eldest son is being deployed to Iraq in September and who was celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary on this day – stepped in front of her first national audience. With a nod to Senator Hillary Clinton’s 18 million primary votes and the 18 million “cracks in the glass ceiling” created by her failed presidential bid, Palin said, “. . . [I]t turns out, the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

 

It was stunning news to try to absorb as viewers watched Palin, her children and her husband on stage, particularly coming on the heels of the previous evening’s historic speech given by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as he accepted his party’s nod on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

latebloomer
09.17.08

The problem with the right is that their agenda usually includes family values and although one can say that her unmarried daughter's pregnancy is not her choice it is somewhat her responsibility as the parent-what type of supervision was provided for this child? And we would talk about a male counterpart if his child was in similar situation. I have not made up my mind about the republican ticket yet but I can tell you that her "choice" is not mine nor do I think that we should know what her choice is- you know seperation of church and state!

moonmom
09.14.08

Frankly, I don't care what kind of mother she is. My theory on motherhood is that everyone does what works for them. Plain and simple.

What I do care about is that we are essentially choosing not only our country's president, but the leaders of the free world. I want them to be informed, inspiring, intelligent and know a heck of a lot about diplomacy, foreign policy, and domestic issues of men, women, and children.

I'm sure Sarah Palin is a fabulous mom and does the work-life balance just fine. I just don't want her as my VP, thank you very much. She does not support the issues I think are important and we have polar-opposite viewpoints on just about every major issue. That is why I will not vote for Mccain/Palin. It has nothing to do with her ability or passion as a mother.

I wish people would stop talking about her mothering and start asking her to be up front about what she stands for, and let people decide based on that. Imagine that--voting on issues???!!

leslie morgan s...
09.09.08

Leslie Morgan Steiner

I was at the R.N.C. at 6:30 am on Wednesday. Palin was up early, practicing her speech in the empty Xcel Energy Center before the media and the delegates were around. And I have to say, she was BRILLIANT. Whether you agree or disagree with her politics, the woman has incredible moxie and charisma. Especially when you consider she has five children ranging in age from 4 months to 19.

Most women I know (myself included) make career compromises as we have more children. It is the very rare woman who gets MORE ambitious and MORE successful as she has more children. Sarah Palin is showing us all how unique, personal, chaotic, painful and glorious motherhood can be. And mostly, she is showing every person in the Republican Party -- the same party that has done nothing to support working moms by legislating daycare subsidies, or incentives for companies to offer part-time and flextime work, or even supporting FMLA -- that successful working motherhood is not an oxymoron.

But the caution here is that not every woman can juggle work and family the way Palin does. I hope she isn't saying that -- because most women need more support (and more birth control) than Palin in order to balance working and raising kids.

Amy3
09.05.08

I've got an article up about this in the Around the Watercooler section of mommytrack'd. Send some comment love - let's kill this double standard once and for all.

And ARLn3kids - you rock!

gina
09.03.08

i guess we have dick cheney to thank for people having a perception of how much power a vp has in the presidency. But, really, with McCain not even voting for equal pay for women, how do we think that palin is going to have any say in anything that would even possibly represent the better good for women in the US? it is such a ploy that is would be funny if it was not so sad and scary for the knee-jerky way he chose her. does it bother anyone that they vetted her one day before she was offered the job. one day? mccain only met her two times. interviewed her twice. I have had much more stringent interviews for much less important jobs than a vp. ay yay yay.

KelleyS
09.03.08

I think we should give women the freedom to do things their way. Sarah Palin is rasing a family and doing a big job -- good for her. I love that we could have real life experience from a working mom in the White House, which is just as relevant to a working mom like me as vast political know how.

miteypen
09.03.08

Whenever a woman accomplishes something, it shakes up society's concept of what a woman is. I don't agree with Palin's position on birth control education (none) or abortion (under NO circumstances) and probably a few other things, but I do think it is disingenuous of feminists to criticize her for doing what she does while having five children. Certainly no man would be criticized for doing the same. However, it is always assumed that a man with a family has a wife at home to take care of the kids and the house. The difference between them and Sarah Palin is that she doesn't have a wife! You can't count her husband because he works full-time, too. Maybe they have a nanny. Many working women do. One can only hope that they have made provisions for the children one way or another. But it is not Palin's sole responsibility to do so.

What about if she were a single mother? Would some of these criticisms about her not being there for her kids me any more valid?

ARLn3kids
09.03.08

Who cares what somebody's pastor beleives, whatever happened to separation between church and state?? I mean that relating to both Obama and Palin. I don't automatically go along with everything my pastor says either unless it's something that I truly beleive in. Also, it is crazy to see so many women being critical over a working mom and her INDIVIDUAL CHOICES on a WORKING MOM'S SITE--why don't you all give Sarah Palin a Break since that seems to be some of your favorite lines. If a man went back to work as soon as his baby came out, NOBODY would be saying a word! I wouldn't expect this kind of SEXISM from professional, educated women. Furthermore, if you don't agree with Palin/McCain's records / values then VOTE for someone else!! There are more people to choose from, and I doubt that the Republicans chose Palin to try to sway Female Democratic Liberals anyway. But for women on the conservative side let us have someone who FINALLY speaks for most of us without bashing her non-stop! No I wouln't go back to work after 3 days since giving birth, but when your on a MAN'S Typical Career Path sometime's you have to do what you have to do. I think ALL women can appreciate that, and quit being so petty about her teenage daughter, and her baby, she is a GOOD MOM! Just because she isn't exactly like everyone else isn't exactly a Bad thing, especially since most of you can't really say what you would do since your NOT the one's running for VP of the US, and fighting men tooth and nail to get a foot in the door. Vote for whoever you think is the best candidate because of what kinds of laws they'll pass, and not because of the number of days they didn't spend on maternity leave!! As far as the INEXPERIENCE goes, at least Palin's only running for VP, check out Obama's lack of experience and remember he is running for an even higher office than Palin. Good Luck to all whatever your choices, I'm PROUD to be an American where we can actually discuss our differences FREELY, and without oppression, and hopefully without too much Judgement.

shelleyjayt
09.03.08

I don't know if you are referring to my comments in particular or the comemnts in general. I apologize if I came off as hostile. Not my intent. But these are citable facts.
Where I wrote my opinion I hope it was clear.

LALAWYER
09.03.08

Seems to me we should respect each other's differences of opinion. I think it is cool that here, unlike lots of other forums, there are readers with quite disparate views. Part of what is so inspiring about this election is how it has engaged us all in political discussion more than we have been in a very long time.