When I heard about Sarah Palin’s nomination for VP, my first thought was, “Sad! There’s no way she’ll get to spend enough time with her kids. She’ll practically never see them again.” THEN I asked myself if she was up for the job.
I stay home with my kids every single day, and still I often feel like I haven’t done enough or haven’t spent enough time and energy on them and their needs. This hit me especially hard this week as Laylee started kindergarten. I suddenly realize how little time I have with her and how quickly she’ll be off on her own. Now, more than ever, I’m so grateful to have the luxury of staying home with my kids.
I didn’t always feel this way. In high school and college, I knew what a sacrifice my mom had made to stay home with me and my siblings and I appreciated what she’d done. However, I couldn’t imagine doing the same. I was a good student and really successful. I excelled in every job I was given, and felt that in the workforce I could achieve success beyond nearly any of the guys I knew.
And then I had Laylee and Dan got a good job out of college and going back to work did not even cross my mind. I haven’t looked back. Truly. I love what I do 90% of the time, which is better than any other job I’ve had. But that’s me.
There have been a lot of questions circling in the media about whether or not Sarah Palin will be able to give adequate time to her family responsibilities if she’s elected. Let’s face the truth. There’s no way she’s spending much time with her kids now, let alone if she’s elected to one of the highest political offices in the country. It’s just not possible. No doubt she has a solid support system and people to help raise her family, but she personally cannot be doing the major parenting in that house.
Is this okay?
I truly believe that the only one who can answer that is Sarah Palin herself. It would not be okay for me. I jealously guard my time with my kids and don’t trust anyone to do the day-to-day raising of them but me. This is not to say that I’m the most qualified parent in the world, but at least if I’m the one teaching and spending time with my kids, they’ll get messed up in ways that I have a smidgen of control over. But that’s my choice.
There are people who would and do say that if I really cared about my kids and wanted to raise them right, I’d homeschool them, that sending them off to public school is giving up my responsibilities as a mother and teacher. Luckily, I get to make that choice and this year public school feels like the right decision for my family. We’ve put a lot of energy and thought into that decision.
I don’t imagine that Sarah Palin woke up one day and decided to run for Vice President on a whim. She and her family are doing the best they can and making the decision that they feel is appropriate. Perhaps she even agrees with me that children’s lives are greatly enriched by having their mother around more, but it’s possible that she sees her family’s sacrifice as beneficial to the greater good of society.
Perhaps she thinks that the pros of her political service to the country and the world at large outweigh the good she could do in her home. Perhaps she’s right. I hope she’s right. No, she can’t do it all, but it’s just possible that Sarah Palin is trying to do the most of what’s best within her sphere of influence.
When I see a woman like Sarah Palin go forward and take on a huge and highly visible task like this and succeed, aspiring to a role so heavily dominated by males, I feel like it adds even more weight to my decision to be a stay-at-home-mom. It reaffirms that yes, a woman can do anything in this world, but I choose to stay home with my kids. Her choice highlights the grand possibilities. My reality is smaller, less visible, and more covered in boogers. I’m happy with it. I hope she’s happy too.