I am thinking about inviting Sarah Palin to join my next “moms’ night out.” While she may be a conservative, nothing indicates that she has an aversion to red wine and girl talk. Sarah seems fun, can unleash a wicked sense of humor, and can chime in when the diapers/spit-up/pee pee in the potty/where is your child going to Pre-K conversation starts up. She has nearly twenty years of battle scars to prove it. And for those of us girls with only three mommy years under our belt—we sure could learn a lot from this veteran.
Now, Sarah would also be that mom in the group who seems to have it all—natural beauty, the hot husband, a successful career, five beautiful children, homemade caribou dogs on the grill for the 4th of July. The rest of us in the early years of learning life balance are on the sidelines admiring, envying or criticizing her for it. But, as we all know, even the Sarah Palins of the world have problems.
The first question that I would ask her is, “How do you do it all?” Working mothers everywhere struggle with how to make peace with the inner conflict between attending to the family and succeeding in the office. We have all faced that boss or coworker who makes you feel like your family always wins the conflict or seen that look on your husband’s or child’s face that says “another late night at the office?” While I don’t think there is a real answer to ending the inner conflict, I do think that it is possible to take life’s decisions one at a time. Frankly, the only person who can do that successfully is the one faced with the life decision.
So when some first expressed their dismay and then ultimately their disgust over the selection of Sarah Palin, I was puzzled. I actually had someone explain to me that they didn’t think that Sarah was qualified to be Vice President because she has a special needs child at home who needs her. Did someone forget Todd, who had already volunteered for full time stay at home dad duty? I don’t know what is worse—that someone assumed that childcare duty was Sarah’s only option or that Todd couldn’t do it.
My other personal favorite excuse for her disqualification is that “she isn’t smart.” That’s ridiculous. How could any of us withstand the scrutiny of a relentless 24-hour news cycle while embarking upon the most difficult test in the world without studying? I don’t believe that any incoming President can be truly prepared for all that he or she will face. What we need is someone with common sense, good judgment, and the ability to attract like-minded talent to the Administration. What we need is someone who was taught right from wrong and will say no to tempting terms when it’s the right thing to do. Our nation’s President must surround him or herself with good people who represent his or her ideals, who can present several angles/options to the important policy questions of the day, and also be willing to challenge the President when necessary but then accept the decision in the end.
For me, Sarah Palin is a symbol. Put aside any policy differences and the “he said-she said” of a national campaign and see her for what she represents. She represents all of us women out there with ambition, goals, and hope for a better life for our children. She is young and attractive. She comes from humble roots. She wasn’t afraid to challenge the powerful. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She is exactly what I hope my own daughter will become.
Sarah Palin may never run for national office again. But like so many before her, she did add a few extra cracks to that proverbial glass ceiling. She has made it easier for those of us who follow in her footsteps. And to those of you out there that shutter when she speaks and profess to fear her existence—you had better hold on because she isn’t finished yet. And neither are the rest of us who have something to say. And that’s a good thing.