Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And by the way....

Could they have paraded that baby around any more? Jeez. I want to say really judgmental things about having a baby and going back to work three days later and then deciding to run for VP OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY when that baby is just FOUR MONTHS OLD. Instead, I'll say this, as Nicole pointed out and Roni confirmed, Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, a woman who is two heartbeats away from the presidency, and a mother of five, Nancy Pelosi waited until her youngest child to nearly complete her senior year of high school before running for office.

I guess that's how elite moms balance work and family in places like San Francisco.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it remarkable how, from time immemorial, the Right has been preaching that women with young children ought to stay home to care for them, etc., etc.--and now, suddenly, Palin is being defended by Republicans in ways that make it sound like men and women are, and should be, entirely interchangeable? Has Palin cannonballed through the glass ceiling?
Lizi

roni said...

Robin, I have friends who, after having their second child, had to confront the reality of how difficult it was to balance a career and motherhood. All of them had a support network--engaged husbands who cheerfully did housework, grandparents who didn't need a reason to babysit, and a menagerie of paid help. And guess what--one by one they decided that it wasn't worth short-changing their kids and decided to be stay-at-home moms. So there are some degenerate "San Francisco values" for you...putting your kids' needs before your own.

Robin Aronson said...

I know. The painful irony of this appointment is "blue" women end up feeling anti-feminist and exasperated and "red" women and men, who would lambast a Democrat who made the choices Palin are holding her up as a beacon of family values. We're all running around saying: What? Are you kidding me? And they're not! And you know, if Palin's husband were a Stay at Home Dad, it'd be one thing, but he's not. Not even close.

If there's a worst of it one aspect of its awfulness is that, as Maureen Dowd's quote shows, everyone's going to treat Palin with kid gloves. If someone attacks her, everyone will howl "Sexist!" Anti-Mom!"

So we can't engage and we can't debate and once again the presidency will devolve into the culture wars and the goal of leadership and vision and a drive to protect the common good and defend the weakest among us is lost.

Carolyn said...

i am a little wary of judging Palin's decisions as far as family life go. I don't think we have any solid information as to how she manages her life - just snippets here and there (firing a chef, not having full time childcare...), which give no real insight into how she handles things. it seems to me that we are all just a bit overly defensive about our own choices whether we stay at home, work flexibly or full time. why can't we acknowledge her accomplishments without feeling like we're somehow coming up short? not knowing anything about her her support network, parenting style (i don't think having a pregnant teenage daughter is indication of failure to properly parent), etc i wouldn't reflexively say that she is shortchanging her kids. i've read that her infant has a crib in her office and that she nurses during meetings. while this is probably not a realistic a option for everyone, it apparently works for her. sure i may be jealous, but who am i to judge? if she can do it - and it seems like she can - and she's comfortable with her decisions, more power to her. that being said, she's no hillary or michelle!

carolyn said...

sorry - i meant to put "or michelle" in parentheses as sort of tongue in cheek since she is simply a family member to a candidate, and therefore 'off limits'/not related to discussion. that being said, michelle IS a pretty cool example of motherhood...not that it matters for this election?!

Robin Aronson said...

I agree with you in theory, Carolyn. In general I try not to judge other women's choices vis-a= vis their work-family balance. In this example, though, as voters, I believe we're being asked to judge Palin on her work-life choices. I think they're meant to recommend her as a candidate who can juggle multiple demands and who makes "the right" choices (I guess that pun's intended). Moreover, I suspect that her "do it yourself" choices could, in the long run, actually become a set back for women who are looking to restructure how we live and work to make the two more compatible. I urge you to check out the piece on Slate I linked to in the post titled the XX Factor. Here's the link:
http://www.slate.com/id/2199131/

It's extremely. unfortunate that this is where the debate on our VP is, and not, say what her thoughts are on any number of domestic or foreign policy issues beyond drilling for oil and choice, but there it is. Welcome back to the Culture Wars, the Mommy Edition.