Meredith O'Brien Says Candidate's Wives Can't Win.
I’m going to ask you to imagine something you don’t want to imagine, but bear with me:
Let’s say that you’re the mother of children ages 7, 9 and 25, and had another child who was killed in a car accident over a decade ago. And one of your worst nightmares has come true: You’ve been told you have a fatal disease for which you can only manage the symptoms. In the meantime, your husband fervently believes that he needs to tackle a huge project, one that will disrupt the entire family for an indefinite amount of time but will also serve a higher, loftier goal. You, knowing loss as intimately as you do, don’t want your illness to get in the way of your husband’s dreams, so you decide that, for the duration of your husband’s must-do dream project, you and your young children will make the best of it, love one another, be together and make memories along the way.
But if you’re a mom who’s in the public eye, your choice makes you a target. Folks in the blogosphere tut-tut that you’re being selfish and shouldn’t be dragging your grade-school-aged children along with you and your husband pursuing his dream. You should just forget about the dream and stay home with your children, the internet tells you, because that’s what other people say they would have done had they been in your position. And because of your public status, the media are only too happy to exploit this difference of opinion.
Elizabeth Edwards -- attorney, mother, social activist, cancer sufferer and outspoken spouse of a Democratic presidential candidate who’s waging an underdog campaign for his party’s nomination – doesn’t deserve to be singled out and rhetorically slapped down for her choices. Elizabeth and John Edwards have decided to go on a family adventure (a long-shot presidential campaign), to take their young children out of school for a while to travel the country and create memories that they hope will last a lifetime in their children’s hearts. So whose business is it how they live their lives as a family for as long as they possibly can? Elizabeth Edwards was clearly stunned by the recent flurry of criticism, which was kicked off by a New York Times story about how the five presidential contenders who have children under the age of 10 parent while on the campaign trail. She responded to the controversy by personally posting a heart-wrenching comment on a web site that criticized her and told her to get off the campaign trail: