Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin - SuperMom?

Yesterday, someone asked "so, what do you think of McCain's choice for a woman VP?" I'm honestly not sure why anyone cares about what I think about a political topic, but since I was asked I'll go ahead and answer. You might be disappointed in what I have to say. You might have already had the same thoughts I'm about to express.

Sarah PalinIn no particular order of importance or relevance, here's what I think:

• She's very pretty
• I love her glasses
• She looks fabulous in red (we can't all pull that off)
• Her kids are adorable
• She's a wonderful public speaker

That's probably not what anyone cares about, I know. Truthfully, she simply strikes me as a wife and a mother who is not only having her cake and eating it too, but she probably grew the wheat for the flour, shot whatever wild animal dared walk in her wheat field, frosted the cake herself, served it with cute little mint sprigs and organized a cleaning crew to sweep up afterward. Then ate grizzly bear jerky later on, and never once messed up that gorgeous hair. And all that was on her day off, from running a state. (I need a nap just thinking about her busy life, and this lady is a year OLDER than me! To find out more about what she really does, go here)

Now then, down to the real issues. I'll be upfront here and admit that until this week the only thing I really knew about her was what Albert Mohler posted about her earlier this spring in this post right here. I read that and was instantly in admiration of her for that stand alone. In a culture where disposing of the precious unborn is as common as stopping off for fast food on the way home, Sarah Palin never even considered aborting her precious unborn son when she learned that he had Down Syndrome. From all the reports I've read, advances in medical technology that allow for this testing on unborn babies, have also burst open the door to a higher rate of abortions on this group of precious little ones. Some sources say as high as 90%. That's a truly staggering stat. For Sarah Palin and her husband, it wasn't even a consideration. Good for them!

Sometimes I wish I had more time to persue things that interest me such as politics (I know, for some people that's like saying "I wish I could have more root canals") but the truth is, I don't have that kind of time. Certain aspects of politics drive me completely nutty, but certain other aspects do interest me a great deal but I just don't have the time to invest there. I'm a busy mom myself, staying busy with the things that pertain to raising up my own adorable kids and for that reason alone, I'd never even heard of Sarah Palin until this year. I'm fairly certain she's never heard of me either. She's the Governor of Alaska, I'm a stay at home teacher/mom in Ontario, we don't exactly mingle in the same circles.

For a lot of people, the "real issues" as they pertain to Sarah Palin are her positions on key topics such as abortion, gay marriage, education or the environment. For others, other issues would be more important. For me, and probably for a lot of other Christian wives/moms, the standout issue is that she is a wife, is a mom, and is in a position of authority and leadership. I think I'm going to speak for a lot of us when I say "how does that really work, and is it Biblical that she has this role of leadership to begin with?" I think that's a legit question.

I'll be totally honest here and say I don't know, for sure, where I really stand on this or what I really think about it. I know that I've never read anything that strictly forbids (Biblically) women to have a leadership position in a secular/civic context, but I've also never really looked that closely at it. Now if she were in a pastoral role that would be a different ballgame, but that's not a role she has assumed so we wont even go there. She's a governor, which simply but not-so-simply means she runs a state. Every issue that affects the residents of the great state of Alaska, she has to know about & make informed decisions about. That's the condensed version, for a more detailed overview on what a state governor's role actually is, go here.

So then, if you've read all the info at the above links, you might be wondering yourself how a wife and mother of 5 (four still at home, one just a 4 month old baby) juggles those roles, in addition to what would be demanded of her as governor - let alone - what adding the VP role might mean. I have to say, I don't even know how it's possible, unless she's managed to squish another 18 hours into each of her days to do all the things she should be doing, in each role she has.

I realize this may not be a popular opinion, and I truly have no bone to pick with Sarah Palin (after everything I've read about her in the last week or so, I actually admire her for a lot of reasons), but I just can't balance this in my own way of thinking. I don't care who you are, you can have the most amazing multi-tasking skills on the planet, but you still only have so many hours per day, just like the rest of us, to fulfill your role (whatever that role is) in the course of that day. If you have multiple roles, such as wife, mom, employee, etc., you have to somehow find a way to strike a balance and juggle all those roles without allowing anything or anyone to suffer due to your other obligations. That is not an easy balance to find or maintain even for the most dedicated moms.

I read something yesterday that was rather critical of Palin for this, and while I sort of cringed at the way it was said, I understood that way of thinking because I am a mom too, and I get that it's an uber-demanding role in and of itself. Especially when there is a baby in the house. Having a baby in the house almost means you're ExtraMom, since that baby needs you constantly (minus nap time, which almost never seems to come often enough for a tired mom to recharge her own batteries). That little angel needs changed, bathed, fed, burped, walked, rocked, cuddled, sung to, admired, doted over... and then its nap time for 2 hours and then they need all of that all over again. Anyone can tend to baby's basic needs, but not anyone can be mommy to that baby. And that's just ONE child in the home. If there are older siblings they need mom too, in different ways, and at various times. From what I understand, caring for a DS baby requires even more of your time since they often have a range of health issues that non-DS babies don't have.

So I guess I said all that to say this: I don't know how she's doing it, how she does it, or how she will do it, should the McCain/Palin ticket go all the way. I realize that a woman in her position has a lot of help, but she's still a wife and mom and no amount of staff or personal assistance can be wife or mom for her, that's her role alone.

I suspect it is entirely possible that I've missed something important in this small observation. I'd really like to hear from others (men and women both) on what they think about this sort of role-juggling, especially is it pertains to the roles of Christian wives and mothers.

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