Saturday, September 6, 2008
A Woman I Cannot RelateTo
If nothing else, Sarah Palin has stirred up the decades-old question of whether a woman can "have it all". First, let me say that I am not judging her - but trying to relate to her as a woman, which I think is reasonable. Second, I will say that I certainly have nothing against working mothers. I was one - albeit reluctantly, and I think I did a pretty good job of the balancing act. I am still grateful that I established a career before having children, and I don't think the job of staying home is any easier than of working - they both take patience and dedication.
A woman having presidential ambitions certainly does not surprise me either. A woman wanting to be vice-president with a four-month old baby does. There, I said it.
I think back to the days of having an infant and all I can recall is that infant - nothing else. The baby was all-consuming and all I needed. I indeed, thought I had it all in those precious first years of their lives. Granted, I only did it twice - maybe the thrill and the all-consuming part wears off by the fifth one - I don't know.
I also need to insert here that I do not have any doubts that fathers are capable of raising children and that they are certainly as necessary to bringing up healthy, happy kids. Maybe that's Sarah's deal. But I can't get away from the fact that the baby is four months old! At that age, my children weren't more than a few yards away from one of my breasts at any given time.
Here's the other glitch - this child has Down's Syndrome. I have to be honest and tell you that my very first thought was - why are you having a baby when you're 44 years old? Of course, I know that these things can happen accidently to any of us - coincidently to her teenage daughter as well - I'm wondering if they can't get birth control up in Alaska ? But I digress.
If I was 44 and knew I was having a Down's Syndrome child I would definitely have the child, as most women would. But I would also know that this child would need even more of his parents dedication and attention. If you've ever known a family with a Down's Syndrome child I'm sure you understand. It's a great PRO-LIFE statement to have a disabled child, but it doesn't mean as much unless you hang around to raise it . (Okay, now I 'm just being mean, right?)
What does "having it all" mean? Why do we need to have it all in the first place? Is there something we need to prove? I think most women make hard choices and set priorities about family and career and most are satisfied with their decisions. You choose what is right for you, not someone else. So I am not saying that Sarah Palin cannot be a good mother and hold the second highest position in our government, which always includes the possiblity of moving up to the most important, but as for me, I just can't relate to that.