Thursday, February 10, 2011

Where's the Love for the SAHM?

There is all this blow up due to a Politco story about Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin.  Politico wrote the story in the guise that Santorum was taking a swipe at Palin and Politico said he "inferred" that she was making speeches for money.  There are rumors that she turned down the keynote speaking slot on Saturday night due to the money not being there.  Only the people involved in the negotiations know what the truth is.  But, it is well-known that she and the leader of CPAC don't get along.

His comments in part:

“I have a feeling that she has some demands on her time, and a lot of them have financial benefit attached to them,”
“I don’t live in Alaska and I’m not the mother to all these kids and I don’t have other responsibilities that she has,”
Regardless of what you think of Santorum and his voting record, the one thing that you cannot question is his social conservative cred.  He is staunchly socially conservative.  He and his wife have had eight children, one of which that passed away at birth.  His children range in age from 19 to 2.  His youngest child is special needs and was not expected to survive.  While she has many issues, she was a very happy addition to his family.  Since leaving congress he has been working as an attorney and his wife is a stay at home mom. 

Palin was interviewed yesterday by Sean Hannity and was asked about the Politico story.  Her response:

“I think the reports were much worse than what he really said. I think some things were really taken out of context. So I will not call him the knuckle dragging neanderthal that perhaps others would want to call him. I’ll let his wife call him that instead.”
She then went on to say that her children have never stopped her from doing anything. 

Santorum, as a special needs parent, has a unique perspective on the demands of the parents of a special needs child. Again, he is a social conservative and very strict Catholic.  Is it really so crazy that he views motherhood and care giving as the most important role that a woman plays in her life?  I don't think that it is.  Palin has three children at home.  Two of which are very young and one is special needs.  The demands of that are real.  It isn't something that he is making up or just throwing out there for no reason.   

For those who have not spent a great deal of time around a special needs child you may not be aware of those demands.  Change is not something that these kids handle well.  They depend on scheduling.  I once read a book written by the wife of a famous athlete and a line in that book has always struck me.  I may be paraphrasing here, but basically she said that they don't learn to live in your world, you learn to live in theirs.  It is something that has stuck with him ever since.  To give an example of what I am talking about, I know a mom who has masking tape on both her kitchen and dining room table.  The tape is labeled for where the plate, glass, fork go.  If they are not in the exact place that they are expected to be in, the child won't eat, he also won't eat if his food touches on the plate.  Special needs kids have a difficult time with time zone changes, they are not always good with strangers and are not comfortable with new situations.  They find going outside of their comfort zone difficult to handle.  Of course every child is different, but these are generalities that are pretty standard with special needs kids. 

Families of special needs kids have a much more difficult time travelling and simple things like going out to dinner can sometimes be a brutal experience.  I am in no way diminishing the gifts that these kids bring into the lives of their families, but it is a different experience than raising children without disabilities.  The point that Sarah was trying to make is that just because she is a mom doesn't mean she can't accomplish other things.  Which is a true statement. 

I came across an article written back in November.  Apparently this isn't the first time that Palin has used the word Neanderthal when commenting on what women can do.  She made this statement shortly after the 08 campaign came to an end. 

There are still the Neanderthals out there who pick on the petty, little, superficial, meaningless things – like looks, like whether you can or can’t work outside of the home if you have small children – all those type of things where I would so hope that at some point those Neanderthals will evolve into something a bit more with it, a bit more modern, and a bit more understanding that, yeah, women can accomplish much.

No one is saying that every working mother is a bad mother.  But, it wasn't all that long ago that being a SAHM was looked down upon by the "liberal elite".  I do believe that has tampered down some, but many far left woman look at almost everything in their life through the prism of being a woman and are constantly talking about fairness and get very upset when woman were not promoted.  I just recently read some comments on how the left is more than a little upset that Obama's administration doesn't have enough women, and were especially upset by the new press secretary not being female.  I personally don't view the world in this manner.  I want the most qualified person to be hired for a job.  If that person happens to be a white man or a Latino woman than so be it.  I am not believer in quotas and I certainly don't think that Obama is anti-woman simply based on the fact that his latest hire happened to be a man. 

I may be wrong, but I think that most conservatives views are similar to mine.  But, if that is so who are those statements being made to?  Political people have a tendency to talk in sound bites and usually are very careful to craft their conversation and talking points trying to reach out to certain segments of the voting public.  Palin is a politician.  She may be different than many politicians, but she is still a politician.  Because if she is trying to reach out to the people who think that woman can have it all, I think that may be a losing strategy.  Especially if it can be construed as insulting the very people who are her base supporters. 

I remember when the election was in full swing and Palin was being accused of being a bad mother simply based on the fact that Bristol was pregnant out of wedlock at the time.  I would ask the people that said that around me if their mother was responsible for every mistake that they made?  One of the people who said that actually is a single mother.  Her justification was that her mother wasn't espousing conservative values on a national stage.  I felt like saying if she had espoused them in her home she obviously didn't listen to them, but I didn't want to be rude.  But, my point is these woman aren't going to listen to this message anyway. 

It isn't that I don't believe that women can do many things, because I do.  But, what I do question is can women have it all?  I find this to be a lie that has been passed down to young women.  While we can do many things across the entirety of our lifetimes, but can we have it all at the same time?  I think that as women we have to stretch it over longer periods of time than men do.  Is that necessarily fair?  No.  But, I have found that to be true.  Some women have no choice but to go out and work, they can't survive without the additional income.  Others choose to put off having children to get their career on track and have a hard time letting go of the career track in order to raise their children.  Then we have the families that put things over the benefits of having a mom at home.  The Wii, the ipad and the larger home become more important than staying home with little Jimmy.   Gov. Palin, I don't think it is a bad thing that you would be stopped from doing different things because of issues with your children.  I actually would respect it. 

Cross posted at Pot Luck


MommaDunne said...

" Gov. Palin, I don't think it is a bad thing that you would be stopped from doing different things because of issues with your children. I actually would respect it."

Agreed. "There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for a friend." The concept of sacrificing one's own desires is so lost on current society! This is why we have obese children parked in front of tvs and computers for hours each day, huge percentages of healthy boys on Ritalin -like drugs, and infants being abandoned to high-turnover caregivers in daycare centers while mommy goes off to pursue her career goals. We have objectified children to the degree that we they have become one more goal on the check list rather than unique and precious gifts.

Conservative Pup said...

I watched the actual video of the interview with S.E. Cupp in which Santorum said these things. His tone, his body language, and his actual words were a subtle slam at the Governor.

As for the neanderthal comment, I took it to mean that it was a backwards old-fashioned type of thing to say--"she has all those kids"--and that she, Palin, would leave it to his wife to call him on that. Palin has never appeared to me to be neglectful of her children or to put them second ahead of her own pursuits. She has done a great job, without having (or wanting) a nanny to 'leave' them with. Downs children are a little more adaptable and flexible than some other special needs children; they do best when they are with their famlies, no matter the external situations.

I did NOT take Palin's comments to be any kind of slam at SAHM's, if that is what you're saying.

Just a conservative girl said...

I find it hard to believe that a mother of five has never had to give up anything because of her kids. Every mother has to give up things and put their needs behind their childrens. That is what you do. Sometimes even when you don't want to.

The 2nd comment I could give her pass on had it not been for the first; which I read for the first time today.

This whole thing comes down to the Pro Palin camp and the not so pro palin camp. I don't know if you linked to the article I put up, but it links to three other articles of stay at home moms who did think it was a slam at them. One of which lost respect for Palin after reading it. As with everything else with Palin it is divisive.

Conservative Pup said...

I see where our difference lies. She said that her kids have never stopped her from doing anything. I heard that as her kids haven't kept her from doing anything that she has pursued. You heard it as she has never had to give up anything for her kids.

It's a subtle difference, but it is a difference. Not giving up anything for your kids, is not quite the same as your kids have never kept you from doing something. In her mind, even though there have likely been countless things she's 'given up' for her kids, in the bigger picture, they haven't prevented her from doing the things she has felt called to do.

Don't know if I explained myself well enough, hope so. Have a good time today!

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