Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin

That’s the title from the WSJ opinion piece…by a women.  Obviously it caught my attention – I mean Sarah Palin has opened the Mommy Wars in a whole new way (Hilary didn’t so much because her child is an adult – working motherhood for her had been hashed out it in ’96).  But Sarah Palin is the mother of 5 young children and so she is front and center in the debate.   According to this article, it quoted other columnists as fretting that Gov Palin was not a good role mother for working mothers because she does too much – 5 children, high profile job, and all without the help from government agencies.  Of course Sarah Palin has an ace in the hole – the support of her husband who is on a leave of absence from work.  This means he is stay at home dad, in case anyone was unclear.  Gov Palin also credits a strong network of aunts and grandparents.   The problem with this, some other Feminists have pointed out, is that this means she’s not advocating for maternity leave, universal pre-k or equal pay.  One the one hand Sarah Palin is great role model – she has managed to combine work and family…but because she is doing it on her help, she not feminist enough…

So is Sarah Palin a good role model for today’s girls – will they look at her and see the embodiment of having it all – or is she is bad for the feminist agenda of equal pay and more government support for working mother’s?

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Newsweek Article: Study – Kids of Priviledged Working Moms Fare Worse

than kids of privileged non working moms….Wow – can you believe it…the title alone is enough to strike any working mom in the gut.  A study (as reported in Newsweek) found that the children of affluent moms who returned to the workplace fared more poorly on tests (at age 10 and 11)  and were more like to be obese than kids of affluent moms who stayed home OR less affluent moms who went to work. SO again, this study and article focuses on that small group of mothers who have a choice about working or not. The study found that working moms who found care for their kids outside the home also had an advantage -presumably because the care they found was better than what they could have provided. Ouch…

So now I am feeling guilty… on the one hand I bet I qualify as an affluent mom.  On the other hand, I don’t feel like one.  Between the student loan debt it took to get me to this state of affluence, the outrageous costs of housing and the subsequent plunge in the market which has made my house worth less than what I bought it for, I feel like I have to work.  Not much of a choice here if I want to pay my oil bill this winter.  I also believe that my day care arrangements are excellent.  Though I felt a small moment of panic when I realized that one of the boys in my son’s preschool class knew the letters of the alphabet better.  I immediately bough a workbook and have resolved to use it at nighttime – mixed in with Curious George will be an alphabet review…

The author of the study is careful to say he draws no conclusions about working vs. non working but does say that it indicates a need for better support for working families in general.  I for one know that I would feel a lot easier about not working for awhile if I knew it would have been easier to get back into it again.  And with hindsight, I might have done a few things differently with real estate…and I would have tried to win the lottery.

But ah well – we all try to do the best we can – and that’s all anyone can ask.  So working moms and and stay at home moms – don’t beat each other up about our choices – sometimes it is a choice, sometimes it isn’t…. and you just never know.

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