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More Thoughts on Moms in Politics
Around the blogosphere there's a lot of talk that maybe Palin isn't a good pick because she should be home with her baby.

I'm sympathetic. I really am.

But here's where I see it.

When I look at Palin, I look at almost a Deborah figure.

She didn't set out to go into politics, unlike Hillary Clinton. She didn't have some master plan of her life. She was just a mom who was upset at things at the school, so she joined the PTA and tried to fix them. Then she ran for city council for the same reason, and started to fix things.

Then she was asked to run for mayor, which she did, and she--you've got it--fixed things.

Then it was the Ethics Committee for the Oil & Gas Industry, where she discovered corruption, and reported it. And then it was the governorship.

She never asked to be on the VP list. But she is determined to do a good job, and from what I hear (though I could be wrong) her husband is home lots with the kids.

She's not running on behalf of women's rights, or downplaying stay-at-home moms, the way a lot of female politicians do. She's not saying that women need to take a more public role in life. She's just been in the right place at the right time in Alaska to get rid of some very entrenched corruption on the part of the Old Boys' Network.

Which is why she reminds me of a Deborah. Or a Margaret Thatcher, for that matter.

I'm uncomfortable with the baby being so young, although I think he's been with her in the office a lot. But I guess you can't help the timing of the election. And I do think that she is the best candidate from McCain's point of view, because she is so big on anti-corruption and on energy.

On the whole I think women should stay at home, although, as a physician's wife myself, I know many female physicians whose husbands stay at home instead, and it works quite well. The children still have a consistent parent for a caregiver.

I think this is a really tough one, for several reasons. Many of us women do feel called to things outside of the home as well as to childrearing. And certainly being a mom has to be a top priority. But what happens when God asks you to do something that isn't ideal for your family?

I think of this a lot with Billy Graham. He wasn't there when his kids were growing up. Certainly Ruth was, but would you take a job that would take you so much away from your kids? I also have a lot of friends in the military, and several who are overseas right now. Being overseas for six months isn't great on your kids, either. But is it wrong? Or is God calling them to something extraordinary, where He will also provide the extra grace for their family?

The truth is that some jobs are not good for families. They really aren't. But somebody has to do them, and some of them are absolutely vital for our well-being as a nation and as a society. So unless we want all of those jobs--police officers, military members, politicians, missionaries, evangelists--to be done by people who don't really love their families, who don't have families, or who don't even love God, then we have to admit that God may ask stuff of some families that doesn't seem fair or right.

It's a tough one, and as a busy speaker I have to balance a lot of this, too. I don't have an answer, but these are the thoughts that have been going through my head.

In the case of all these jobs, I don't think any of them should be taken unless one's whole family feels a definite calling. It's not enough for just one person to feel a calling--the whole family has to feel it, and it has be after a lot of prayer. But there will be times when Christian parents will have to take jobs that require being away from home a lot. And then they're not able to put their number one priority as number one. I do think God provides the grace when He also provides the calling. But it's not just Palin who is doing this. It's all over the Christian church in many different homes.

Even in my own family, when the children were young my husband wasn't home much. He worked about 110 hours a week at the hospital, and he was chronically exhausted. It worked because I was able to be home full time and take on the burden of parenting. And because of that, the kids are still very close to him, because when he as home, I didn't need him to spell me off. We did family things. That's why it has to be a family calling. If I were also working it would have been a disaster. But having Christian pediatricians is an important thing, so I think God called our family so that Keith was away a lot, and didn't parent a lot in the early years, but it was for a greater good.

And, in Palin's case, let's not forget that if she had stuck with two children, as I did, none of this would be an issue. Her oldest two are 19 and 17. But because she went on to have five, and obviously wasn't that enamoured with birth control, she now has two younger ones (and one middle one). In my case, at 44, I'll be fine to be VP if anybody wants to call me. But that's because I didn't have as many children as I probably should have had (more on that some other time when I feel like being especially honest).

So those are my Saturday thoughts. And I must now get to work finishing an article I didn't do at all yesterday because I was glued to the news!

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At 11:24 AM , Anonymous Angela said…

I totally agree! We are so excited here about the pick, I have been so grieved about this coming election, I have never felt that before and this just gave me hope! We do ourselves a disservice when we put ourselves in a box and say this is best for every family if your a Christian, we really limit God and his greatness. I too believe when you can you should stay home and raise your family but there are exceptions. Women in big political positions will have a lot of power to keep their families with them a lot. Imagine what learning experiences await her children as they travel and work together. I'm sure there will be times they have to be separtared but I doubt very often. They say she wears her baby in her sling most of the working day, how awesome is that!



At 11:31 AM , Blogger Barb, sfo said…

I am impressed with Palin's courage and commitment. I know she will take heat for not staying at home with the kids, and I appreciate the points you have made. She is not a power-SEEKER. She is a "fixer of what needs to be fixed" and those are few and far between. I believe that God blessed her with that ability and she is being called to use it to benefit the most people possible.


At 9:41 PM , Blogger Charity said…

Thank you so much for your comments here. I admit, I had a little trouble with her being the pick for VP since her kids were so young. Your view makes a lot of sense, and has given me food for thought.


At 3:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I just found your blog. Thank you for your comments about Sarah Palin. I think what you said was great. I don't have children, but my husband and I are missionaries, so I understand about the whole family being called.

It is now less than a week from the election. Everybody keep praying!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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