Friday, September 5, 2008

Working Moms

You know it is pretty interesting that we still seem to be having a debate about whether or not motherhood should or should not include working outside the home. Sarah Palin's bid for Vice President seems to have stirred up the discussion once more.

For all of the millions of mothers who work outside of the home you would think that this discussion would be far from done. For many, the economy has made the family's choice, regarding work, for them. For many families, both spouses must earn an income. For many others, husbands and wives have been able to determine within their own family how it is that both spouses can enjoy a successful career and still attend to home responsibilities. Sometimes the solution is to be able to work from home. How having two working parents has affected the children involved is still up for discussion. What is pretty clear is that a necessary ingredient in successful family life includes everyone working together, and that needs to happen whether mom works outside the home or not. It's not such a tragedy if the kids have to pitch in either, in fact in my experience, it builds character.

Everyone seems to be so concerned about what Sarah Palin's choices should be as a wife and mother and elected executive official. No one seemed to mind it when she was elected Governor of Alaska - but heaven forbid a Vice Presidential nominee should have family responsibilities - as if men chosen for that position don't! The double standard coming out of the liberal media on this issue of late is quite amusing, since it was o.k. for Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and a host of other Democrat women who also have family responsibilities to be seeking and attaining a high public office. Yet it is now not o.k. for Palin to be seeking the Vice Presidency with 5 kids and a husband. Perhaps Republican women are the ones that liberals want to have home barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Does anyone honestly think Palin hasn't discussed this job prospect with her family and made appropriate arrangements?

Palin may have 5 kids and challenges in her family but the point here is she has a supportive family - her parents included - that help her do what she has the opportunity to do. She very well couldn't do any of it without their love and support. She doesn't need to be the only one shouldering family and work issues that surround her life, and it is clear that she isn't. I think we are all in that situation in one way shape or form - men included. We all couldn't work and support our families without our individual family units working together within themselves to care for kids and family issues and to share the responsibilities and roles involved. What we have discovered over the years is that the work of raising kids and dealing with family issues should not fall on any one spouse, especially the woman. Men can - and do - share the responsibilities of home life these days. What they have discovered is that it doesn't make them any less of being a man in doing so, in fact it most likely creates stronger family bonds.

The roles we assume are choices we decide upon within our own homes. Another family's choices regarding work and taking care of a home may not be your choice or my choice - it is theirs alone. Unfortunately, we tend to place judgment as to whether another family's choice regarding work and caring for their kids is a good one or not, and really it is not our place to judge that. There is no one right way to create the balance needed between work and home. I know that I have written before about parents who "outsource" parenthood, but I think what I have tried to say is that it is vastly different for kids to be raised by transient strangers in daycare settings, then to be taken care of by extended family members or switching traditional parenting roles. But that is my opinion. In the end, families do what they need to and choose to do.

Women, no matter what their party affiliation or what their job, have to make their own choices and you can be certain that Sarah Palin has worked this out with her own family. The media and anyone else need not be so concerned. Let the discussions revolve around issues and how our national problems should be tackled instead of what our candidates family arrangements look like.