Forward Editor: As a Mom, I'm More Conservative Than Sarah Palin
Maureen Dowd’s recent musings on whether she and Sarah Palin had anything in common — “She hunted moose, and I hunted for Bullwinkle on TV” — made me wonder whether the former Alaska governor and I might share any similar life experiences.
It’s true that I epitomize the feminist, liberal, urban, careerist, quinoa-eating media elite that Palin loves to hate; plus, I don’t like hockey and moose isn’t kosher. But there are real and important things we have in common: We’re both happily married to our first husbands. We both are familiar with juggling work and family, and are devoted to our respective faiths. And we both have three daughters — though she did me one better with the two extra sons. I have two male dogs, instead. (No day school tuition for them.)
After some careful thought, I had a surprising revelation: Contrary to our politics, I’m actually the more conservative mom. How can that be?
• I’d never take a full-time job 565 miles away from home — the distance between Wasilla and Juneau — while my kids are still young, as Palin did when she became governor. I didn’t accept an out-of-town job until my youngest daughter graduated from high school. • I’d never travel extensively in the late stages of pregnancy, as Palin did before her last child was born. I turned down assignments because they might have compromised the fetus I was carrying. • And I’d never, ever put my pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter on the national stage, with or without her dropout boyfriend . Whatever struggles my daughters experienced in adolescence stayed within the family, for to expose and exploit a young woman in distress is selfish and cruel.
Perhaps someone could explain how Palin’s alternative model of motherhood gets to wrap itself in the mantle of small-town, all-American conservatism, while those of us who have pursued careers, but also made sacrifices for our children are pilloried. I guess I don’t have much in common with the lady from Alaska after all.