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.