Monday, September 8, 2008

my comments have turned into a post

I write this with great trepidation. I'm nervous. I worry about judgement. I don't want to offend. I write this because I found myself stating my opinions as comments on too many blogs. I realized I should just put it out here on mine and invite thoughtful, respectful, and considerate discussion. It's okay to agree to disagree.

I have never been interested in politics. I have my personal views and opinions on the whole political system and the people who are involved within, and I have no desire to discuss that. I will have to say, though, that this election has been so different and I have found myself more interested.

My interest was piqued even more when Sarah Palin entered the scene. Knowing nothing about her before that fateful announcement, I have to say that I think I like her as a politician. She's a firecracker and I think she would be a great addition to the White House. I wonder about her limited experience as a politician but I don't think that disqualifies her to be a vice president and think she can add new and fresh perspective and vigor to a tired, old system. That, to me, is pretty exciting.

A lot of people think she's been scrutinized and judged too much. Maybe she has, maybe she hasn't. I think any candidate is put under the microscope and then the focus is on their personal life and issues as much as their political views. So, for a woman and mother to be put under this same microscope, we're going to get the discussions that we've been having. People say, "we wouldn't be judging a father of 5 if he were in this situation." I think that's true. But it would probably be a different situation. There would most likely be a mom at home to take care of the five children.

And that brings me to my only real issue with Governor Palin. Please keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion. I respect yours, please try to respect mine.

Sarah Palin is a mother, first and foremost. She may want to be a mayor, a governor, or even vice president first and foremost, but she can't. She made motherhood her first responsibility by the fact that she had children. I don't know for sure, but I don't think she would disagree with anything I just said. So for me, it's the priority factor that I see lacking.

I'm sure she would say that her family is a priority and I believe she's done a fantastic job of juggling the family and her political life. I think, though, that taking the office of Vice President would become the priority in her life. How could it not?

I do believe that mothers can work outside the home and still be wonderful mothers and raise well balanced children. But I think it's difficult. I am often amazed at how a working mom can find the energy, time, and desire to be a mom after the energy and time they just put into a job of some kind. I know how exhausted I used to be being a stay at home mom. I couldn't even imagine trying to do an outside the home job, too. Let's be honest moms... motherhood is exhausting.

And even though my personal opinion is that the best scenario is to have the mother stay at home with her children, I'm not saying that all moms should stay home. I'm a realist and I know that we all do what we have to do and I am not here to judge.

So, without trying to judge (I really am trying), I'm having a hard time seeing any mother of five children (not to even mention that two are dealing with special circumstances) take on two such important jobs at one time.

I think of what we, as moms, deal with on a daily basis as a plate. Our plates are all individualized but they are still a plate that only holds so much (we can't make our plates bigger). We have motherhood duties, household chores, maybe a job, volunteer work, or a special project. We have hobbies, kid's activities, things that are important to us such as exercising or church activities. We all know that we can only do so much in a 24 hour period. Oh, how we wish there was more time in the day, but there isn't. We heap onto our plates as much as we can. But, again, our plate only holds so much. When we add something, something else will fall off. We may not even realize that something has fallen off - but it has. Something is being neglected or forgotten.

So back to Sarah Palin. How much of her plate would being the Vice President of the U.S.A. take up? I don't want to pretend to know. But I'm questioning it. I question it because I think that being a mom of five children would, or should, take up most of that plate. I have a hard time not seeing that something important falling off her plate. And I care enough about her children, her as a mother and role model, and the office of Vice President to not question this.

If you are a mom I have some questions for you to reflect on. How many kids do you have? How much energy and time does it take you to be the best mom you can be? What are your children's special circumstances? Do you feel like you've mastered the job of motherhood? How exhausted are you at the end of the day? And two final questions... On top of what you're doing, do you think you could take on another job as big and important as Vice President? What would fall off your plate?

19 comments:

Karen said...

Wow, not only am I the first to post a comment, but I never comment! Yet, I comment because I feel passionately about this election and this issue of Sarah. Indeed there are polar views, even among Christian women, but in the end I think none of us can judge Sarah, but we are called to pray for her, and so I do.

I only have 2 children, both healthy and in grade school, and I work ¾ time. Some days I’m exhausted before I leave work, some days I have a lot of energy until I hit the bed. I tend to tasks during the workday that are family responsibilities, ensuring a smoother home life, and if I am called away from work for one of my children, I immediately go and am mom for my child. I think the key to balance is to be 100% wherever you are: when I am at work, I try to be 100% present and invested in my job, when I am at home I try to be 100% present and invested in my family.

For Sarah, I don’t think this is as critical an issue as it needs to be because she has already run a small town and has been running the State of Alaska as a mother of 4 or 5. It seems apparent from her success in those positions and her acceptance of the VP position that she and her family found the balance needed to be able to meet the demands of those jobs in Alaska. I wouldn’t be surprised that her duties as mayor and as governor were much more time consuming than the actual job description of Vice President. Then again, I believe she’ll play a much more active role in contributing to government than the current and past VPs have played. It seems that through Sarah’s desire to improve her kids’ education (through PTA) and her home town (through city council and mayor position) she found her God-given gift of leadership that moved her to where she is today—reinforced by her success in the offices she’s held. I believe that when God gifts a woman with a leadership mantle, he provides the strength and resources needed for that woman to serve Him in that capacity as well as in her other roles. She has the full support of her family and a vast number of friends. I remind myself that she could have said “no” and remained in the Governorship (balancing work and family) or she could have stepped down after her baby was born and her daughter became pregnant. But I think she sees a higher calling that also encompasses meeting the needs of her children—that is, fighting for change in this country so that her kids will grow up in a safer, better world. I believe Sarah might be an “Esther” -- being plucked from her people to serve the king, of whom Moredecai said “and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

Melissa said...

I can understand what you're saying. Her kids should be top priority and I believe that they are. I'm not sure how I feel about all of this either, but this is what I know.
But I have to admit - the thought of having a mom with a specail needs kid in there... it brings even more mixed feelings! On one hand, I know how much time those little guys need. And regular parenting is hard enough! Add a bunch of other needs on top of that and it's down right impossible to really function on some days. I worry about that. On the other hand, the thought of having such a STONG advocate for these kids in such a high office?? The thought makes my heart soar! Could we have insurance reform on the horizion? Will there be more regulations made so that schools can't give the bare minimum and get away with it? What changes would come about??
Here's what I see when I look at that family: a loving couple, great kids, and struggles that a lot of people can relate to. I'm not sure what her husband does... I know several stay at home dads... is that their situation? I'm just curious...
I know she isn't as experienced as some others, but maybe that's what we need?
I don't know. I'm still not sure what to think... you've asked some great questions though...

diana said...

thanks karen for your two cents. i don't really want to debate through the comments but i will ask how can you be 100% present as v.p. when you have all the things going on at home, and how can you be 100% mom when you're v.p. of the country? that's the basis of my concerns. i don't think you can.

thanks, too, melissa for your honesty. it is my understanding that the father is not a stay at home dad. he has a couple of differnt jobs (fisherman and oil rigs) and is a big participant in a snow mobile racing. i would probably feel different if he was a s.a.h.d. if i'm incorrect with this info, someone feel free to correct me.

Karen said...

Great discussion to keep going! Word has it in the news that the dad is quitting his oil rig job to be a stay-at-home dad. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/08/30/us-vice-presidential-candidate-sarah-palin-on-family-and-career-115875-20717685/)

kailani said...

In my case, I know I could never take on such a huge responsibility. I already don't have time for everything in my life.

Anonymous said...

I have my own reservations.

BUT!

What if she is gifted with extraordinary parenting skills? The kind of skills that exceed what we occasionally see in parents that really impress us. The kind of skills that open a realistic door for a mom to excel at an executive position?

I think in the Kingdom of God such moms exist. I don’t think a mom of small children is automatically eliminated from such a position. But, I do believe such moms are extremely rare, and average and above average moms could not and should not be in such a position.

AND!

What if she is one of those people (woman or man) that is thrust into a position that is just right for the times. What if she is a Lincoln or King or Roosevelt or Churchill? Could it be that we a jaundiced towards our times and cynical about the role of one individual to truly change things?

Some have written that she can play a rare and pivotal role in several conservative issues (Not necessarily Republican issues. The two terms are not synonymous.). Such a role is dearly needed since most policies are stalemated, and have been for years!

BUT!

I don’t trust John McCain nor even Sarah Palin to rightly discern her role. The office is simply too high and they are far too close the situation to see it with true clarity. Yet, something of a phenomena has happened. And I wonder if it is more than a human thing. I wonder if we might see something unseen for several generations. I hope I am not too cynical or too jaundiced to still believe!

SO!

With reservations, I am really hoping her and John McCain can be used by God (I am not a theocrat, nor do I think God is, but I believe in the hope of a God entranced world!) to re-open a door to a political culture that is far more healthier for our nation as a whole and our role in the world than what we have grown used to under the past several administrations.

-Another sibling

Humble wife said...

Thanks for letting me know about this post...I am sorry lots going on here, forgive me...
I copied your questions so I could respond...


How many kids do you have? 4

How much energy and time does it take you to be the best mom you can be?
I homeschool so in addition to the normal mom things...of four teens- I am the educator. I am filling out records, making sure that they are up to date...on classroom, extra curricular activities, working, and God.

What are your children's special circumstances?
I have a daughter with a lung disease...she has extremely low immunities and therefore we attend to some things similar to one that has a cystic fibrosis child...we have to thump the lungs etc. We must also keep her away from sick people and that is a balance due to the fact that we live in the US...so we have a great homeschool network that warns of us of illness they have and they avoid us. My second son had a severe reaction to his immunizations when he was two. We have had therapy for years, and a diet to monitor the sugars. His initial symptoms were similar to autism...but 14 years later we know that he is not autistic, he does have speech and muscle delay. These health issues affect me each and every day. Bill and I went out of our way to be the one home. Especially when my daughter was small her lifespan was given as 5 years.So we have defeated the odds...as she will be 13 soon. We do a lot of activities together because of the health issues...as if she passed away i always wanted the boys to have happy memories of her...

Do you feel like you've mastered the job of motherhood? Nope, as each age is a crash course on life. Babies you have to do it all, but for teens they want you around just off to the sidelines and an ear for the crises that they may have...

How exhausted are you at the end of the day?let's just say I don't dream much!

And two final questions... On top of what you're doing, do you think you could take on another job as big and important as Vice President? Not for a year or two...unless Bill was home full time...

What would fall off your plate?Bill working. end of story I believe that all the ages of youth need mom or dad home.

Hope I wasn't too wordy or too revealing of personal things.

SharonB said...

Such a thought provoking post and one that I too have wondered about. But not because of Sarah, I see more and more women taking on a career(not just a job)and motherhood. Unless they are far better than I ever was (maybe they are) I don't see how you can be a mother and career woman.

That being said, I also know couples who have made the choice to reverse roles. Because the mom can make the money to support a family dad chooses to stay at home.

I can't find anything in scripture that this would be wrong. My personal belief is that parents are to raise there children. So as long as mom or dad stay home and raise the children I believe that it's between them and God.

But I don't know...just my thoughts.

Momma Roar said...

I feel like this is a once in a lifetime thing and I believe God can call women to amazing positions like this.

When I'm 44, Quintin will be 17, Elle 14 and Colin, 12. I think that is better than going into office with children the ages I have now (6, 3 and 1).

I believe her children will have some amazing opportunities for their educations and it may shape them more into the people God is calling them to be more than if they would be in Alaska.

Honestly, it makes me sad that some women may not want her to become the best she can because they have her in a box. I'm a mother and I homeschool - I believe she can be a mother that is the VP!

My two cents...

MightyMom said...

yes, some things will fall off her plate...things like keeping the house, which most SAHMs do, but the VP does not (staff), things like cook (staff), things like drive kids to and fro (staff)....these are the things that have fallen off of my plate, as my husband does them.

remember that she's not leaving the kids alone to themselves and nor is she any less of a very much involved mother by accepting even as daunting a job as VP.

at least she doesn't have to....the choice of how to make that situation work for her family is HERS. and those outside of the family may not understand how or why it works. you do not have to be physically present 100% of the time to be 100% devoted mother

MightyMom said...

1 further thought, and I mean this sincerely, not sarcastically.

she is up for election for Vice President. Not election for Mother of the Year.

Yes, we all adore her kids, but many men have left their families to put our country first...not the Pres, VPs, military.....etc. It is just as admirable or disadmirable (is that a word?) for women.

Again, she's not leaving the kids for the wolves to raise...no more than I leave mine to them.

Jamey said...

I want to post on this...but I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I have my opinion...and I am afraid it would come out judgemental, which I am trying hard for it not to be. So for now...no comment. For NOW...

GREAT topic though, and great questions!!!

Heidi Jo said...

i applaud your courage.

my brother has been a full time dad for his daughters for the growing up portion of their life. as my sister-in-law worked full time. i would have been the first to say that a mother's role is irreplaceable, and i still believe that, but what my brother gave to his daughters was nothing short of astounding. how do we know that sarah's husband will not do the same.

secondly, let's face it, how much, outside of campaigning, is really expected of a VP? now, i'm not undermining her role if elected, but what other work environment allows your office and work place to be minutes from your family.

finally, it is just for a season. and yes, it will require sacrafices for all. but i think that sacrafices are made by the family of whomever takes the challenge to serve their country. that same brother, i aforementioned, will move his family to washington state this winter to be near his wife while she serves her country in the guards. it isn't ideal. but they will make it a learning experience, a family opportunity to grow and experience something that nothing else would.

MightyMom said...

this is off topic,

you've been on my heart all night. I hope that all is well in your corner of the world and that your day is full of laughter today.

Sarah

Penless Thoughts said...

Great thought provoking post, Diana!!!

I am a mother who raised 4 kids and always worked at different times throughout that time. As adults I have asked all 4 of my children if they ever felt deprived or left out because I worked. All four have given me an emphatic "no".

I always was 100% mother and my kids knew that and the love I had for them. I always let my bosses and employers know that my kids came first. Because I was a good worker and gave my best to my job. when at my job, I never had any trouble taking time off for school assemblies, meetings, sick children, or anything that came up that the kids needed.

Enough about me. I wholeheartedly support Sarah Palin for VP. She, and her family, have been dealing with her very important and challenging positions AND her family before she even came to any of our attention. It amazes me that now that she has "come to light" the entire country thinks they need to decide whether she is capable of this or not and whether she ought to "stay at home".

I truly believe that God has called her to this place for this time. He has done it before in both Deborah (which I posted about yesterday) and Esther. The Proverbs 31 woman talks of buying a field, planting a vineyard, making fine linen and selling it, delivering girdles to the merchants, etc. Doesn't sound like she was strickly a SAHM only.

My true, bottom line opinion is that God did not make us all clones and all alike and that each family, and each situation is different, and only the family knows what is best for them. I have personally known some SAHM that the children would have been FAR better off than staying home with the lazy, sit in front of the TV all day watching soap operas, in the midst of a filthy house, and the kids having to eat raw hotdogs, etc that they could find themselves.

We each are called to be good stewards to God with our lives and what He gives us. That is Whom each of us must give an account to and it is His voice and leading that we must listen to and heed.
Susan

Maxine said...

Karen, I came here from Penless Writer because I was curious. I am so impressed by your posture and loving demeaner in presenting these reservations. These are issues that need to be considered and none of us should be quick to "jump" into a situation with excitement without examining just the kinds of concerns you have. I have struggled within myself, back and forth, on this whole issue of Sarah and her family requirements and what is happening here with her VP nomination.

I have always held the calling of wife and mother high, for myself and my daughters. I would fight vehemently against my girls going into politics. But for some reason which I can't totally explain, my heart has been telling me that this calling of Sarah to this position is a right one. Like I said, I can't explain why I have been strongly impressed in this direction. I think much of it has to do with the need of our country at the present time. With what's been happening on the Obama/Clinton scene, I have been worrying if anything is going to take our country out of the clutches of the political left.

I'm not sure, but I do think that perhaps this is from God. That God has had it happen this way, because it is the only way to get the attention needed. I do believe if, and I must stress IF, God has sent Sarah Palin for His purposes, He'll give her family the needed strengh to work through this together.

Let's all pray for His will. I can see that you are. Thanks for this wonderful post.

Maxine said...

Diana, I am so sorry I called you "Karen" when I commented. This is my first time here to your blog and for some reason, my mind tricked me up on your name. Nice to meet you!

Pam in Colorado said...

If God is behind this, there will be all resources needed for this family. I think that Dad can do an amazing job as the primary care giver. Many have proven the tremendous benefit that kids can have by having Dad around in this role. Unfortunately some Mom's aren't healthy and good with and for their kids in the real world. In this case, it seems both are very much involved and attentive to their family's needs.

Do I question and wonder as you have been? Absolutely. Do I think I could do what Sarah Palin is attempting to do - NO WAY! Not because I think it would be wrong or harmful to my kids, but instead, it is not my personal God given nature, talents and abilities. I have successfully raised children while working full time, as a single Mom. Not my first choice, but it was what it was. Now I don't have to. We still deal with things we would rather not, but we do not have all encompassing control - even though I would like to think I do. ;)

There are so many things in life that can interfere with raising your kids as you would like. Some cause troubles, others can create amazing opportunities, learning lessons and just what they need to be whom God designed. We are not always able to see the difference from where we stand.

I have 5 kids. My first three had special health needs or behavior needs, my last two, so far, seem not to have anything that require extra attention. It matters not in the end, they all require exactly what they need as individuals to be within that happy, healthy place we seek for them. Have I successfully parented them all? I guess time will tell. I know I have failed many times but God redeems. We are still working with one of the teens. His choices changed our plans and what we considered wise and good.

Can someone like Sarah "have it all? With God's help and direction I believe they can. God gave us examples in His Word on such things. Will we be able to see and understand it at the time? Probably not. So much of life seems that way. Our hindsite is still flawed and skewed compared to God's vision.

I appreciate your bringing this up. I don't have the answers but I do have opinions! LOL. I usually don't discuss politics with anyone other than my husband and my kids (if they start asking). I like when people can question, give respectful opinions - even if they are different (perhaps especially if they are different). It helps us grow, if we allow it. Thanks for opening up this window of conversation. :)

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to get over here and read this. You've had some great comments so far!

Good for you, Diana, for stating your opinion and reminding people to respect it. We all need to extend a little more respect to those around us.

Being at the beginning of my journey as a mother, I don't know what it's like to have children in the ages/stages that Sarah Palin does. But a good friend of mine found out at age 39 that her 17 year old daughter was making her a grandmother. So through my friend, I saw that struggle.

I know that each woman is different. Some can juggle career and motherhood. A lot of the "mundane" tasks of motherhood would be taken care of by staff as MightyMom mentioned. My hope is that any mom, especially one running for Vice President, would know the difference between quality time and quantity time.

We can spend all day with our kiddos, but if it's not quality time, is it time well spent? I would hope that Sarah seizes every opportunity to have quality time with her family.

I think by focusing on the quality time she can do a great job as VP. I, on the other hand, couldn't handle it. That's why I'm not running ;-)