The Goddess Speaks
Moms should stay out of the Oval Office
I've been in both Palin women's shoes. They didn't fit at first -- there was a lot of pain involved in breaking them in -- but I eventually found I could walk in them and even: Dance!
To be pregnant and unmarried in the 1950s was a huge trauma, but that was me. The solution was to get married, and fast! Everyone did the math and the true story came out, but life went on. I was 19 and my husband was 18, but he responded to the huge pressure by finding a good job in San Francisco.
I changed status so many times in those early years I had to look in the mirror daily to see what hat I was wearing. Was I a new bride, a student in beauty school, a new mother -- who exactly?
My son was born 11 months after my daughter and life became mostly wet: diapers, faces, sheets. Mine was a soggy world!
This was pre-Pill and pre-disposable diapers. I used diaper-folding time to meditate and find a calm "center." I needed one.
Thankfully, much has changed, but being a good parent hasn't. My daughter was 38 when my granddaughter was born and she needed me. I had the time to give and I gave it gladly.
A 17-year-old Bristol Palin is going to need her mother. If Sarah is our vice president, will she be there? I for one would want the vice president to be on the job as second in command of our country.
When my kids were going into the "Hell Years," becoming teenagers, I knew they would really need me. I gave up continuing a promising newswriting career because I felt I could not let my kids come home to an empty house.
I figured my first and most important job was to raise my kids. I had to be there with an open ear and an open heart when they got home. Maybe they wouldn't want to talk, but I had to be there.
I never regretted the choice I made, and I would say this to Sarah Palin:
You have more kids than I did, one of them is a Down's syndrome child. They will be grown and gone faster than you realize and they will need you. I don't care how good you are at multitasking or how much help you have, no one can take the place of Mom.
Your first responsibility is to love your kids and listen, to share their hopes, fears and disasters.
This is a complex world to grow up in. Your party claims that the family is the building block of our society. Mrs. Palin: Your actions speak for you. Your kids won't wait. Politics will.
Dacie Armstrong is a Hawaii-based freelance writer.
The Goddess Speaks
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