The Corner

Palin, Sexism, and Motherhood

A sampling of e-mail in reply to my post yesterday:

– Mr. Lowry:

I agree wholeheartedly that I would not attribute most of the questions regarding Palin as VP/Mom-of-infant as sexist. More like Bad Faith. Lefties always maintain that women can have it all, but their calculus is that women SANS husbands can have it all; hence, the need for subsidized daycare, etc. So, here we have a mom with a very supportive and involved husband who can have it all as long as he is in the picture. Without his support there is no PalinVP magic. I think THAT is what irks feminists the most. She is a model of the reality that women can have it all in the context of a functioning and supportive family.

If she were a Leftie single mom who had shunted all of her kids to daycare at 3 months (max) and who supported abortion, etc., and who had been tapped by Obama, there would be Hosannas until election day.

No such luck.

– As a homeschooling mom who does a few other things on the side, I look at Palin as the exception that proves the rule. She exudes a genuine love and enjoyment of her children, not the “I need to pursue MY goals” narcisism that other career women do. Not to mention she got into all this because she was being an active mom, rather than instinctively subordinating her family to her ambitions.

Honestly, though, I feel exhausted just imagining what her days must be like. I am one stay-at-home mom who is happy to cheer her on from the sidelines…

– Hey Rich –

Short version: my wife and I decided that for the household to take a paycut in order for me to engage my new-earned Masters Degree so she could stay home with the two girls (then aged 1 and 3 years) was absurd logic.

So I sucked up the ego, changed a lot of diapers, and found a way to contribute to society while keeping myself from going crazy (published my graduate thesis, wrote three books about LA racing history and became an automotive journalist).

I now find myself with a rocket scientist wife, two girls (12 and 14) who can hold their own in mixed company, and a lot to be proud of.

When Sarah Palin came on the scene, my first thought was “So what?

This kind of thing happens to me all the time.”

Keep your chin up, shoulders back. At the very least you’ll have good posture.

– We love Sarah for being our “wonder woman” who does it all. As we know the story now, she is a jaw-dropping phenomenon who seems to be able to birth a baby in the morning and wrestle malefactors in the legislature in the afternoon.

She is a beautiful, delerium-inducing inspiration. But she is not a model for conservative women any more than Tiger Woods is a model for my golf game. Most women will have to make some trade-offs.

– Rich,

As a conservative mom who stayed home (and home-schooled) her children, thank you. While I will be voting McCain-Palin, I have been thinking this over myself. At a time when almost no woman did so, my mom went back to work in the 50s when I was a baby and the aftermath convinced me that young children need their mom. I even have a couple of women relatives in my grandparents’ generation who were career women and their example was another circumstance influencing my decision to stay home.

You touched on three areas, family support, job perks and health, that all seemed to combine exactly in the right fashion for Palin to make this all possible for her. I’d also add to the health aspect that many, if not most, women do not have her incredible recovery and bounce-back from childbirth. Most women cannot “have it all” and I hope her candidacy doesn’t bring that meme back. Even Palin will miss out on some of the moments of bonding and mothering that are one of the most incredible blessings of life.

– Mr. Lowry,

Spot on, friend. As a husband to a four-children-5-and-under-stay-at-home mom, I agree completely. My wife is highly educated (BS Ed., and MA in Hebrew) and chose to stay at home. I, too, have wanted to say, “Good for Sarah Palin, BUT. . . ” She has missed some stuff at home, without a doubt. Her family has made some trade offs. That’s their choice and I don’t begrudge her or them. But claiming that there is no difference in the family dynamic of a mom who stays home and one who runs for political office is just, well, silly – not to mention saying it also cheapens the currency a bit in regard to smart women like my wife who have made different choices and sacrifices.

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