The thought occurred to me while I was rejoicing in Senator McCain's good taste: should the mother of an infant, much less an infant with Down syndrome be seeking even more responsibility than she already has?
You know I love her as a person, I posted about her back in April when her youngest son, Trig was born. I love her as a moral, pro-life, no-favorites politician. But should a Christian woman with a young infant be doing this?
Those of you who read this blog know how much of my time is invested in my children. A home schooling mother is very busy; add dozens of therapy appointments a month and a writing career, a teaching job and you have an overwrought mother with a cluttered home. My girls have expressed a desire to attend school, so I am making a move to Connecticut for good Catholic schools to alleviate some of this pressure, and focus more on writing.
For fifteen years, I have had to work in addition to mothering. I don't have a choice; my husband's siblings and parents in El Salvador depend on him for financial support, so I have to pitch in. When the girls were younger, I ran a preschool in my home. They had lots of friends, plenty to do; art, story time, outdoor play, field trips, etc. but less alone time with Mom. For the past 8 years, I worked part-time teaching English at a local college; they got more attention from Daddy, they went on bike rides and out to lunch at the restaurant down the road on the beach. Their relationship strengthened; but the house was a wreck when I got home from a five hour class on Saturday afternoon. I (usually) bit my tongue and tried to focus on my husband and children's happiness while I cleaned up, with their help.
Every decision has it's price. I think the mind of the Church on this issue is that Catholic women have a duty to exercise their prudential judgement on this. Elizabeth Foss rightly pointed out that soon to be Blessed Zelie Martin, mother of St Therese of Lisieux, operated a lace-making business out of her home. St. Gianna Berretta Molla worked as a Pediatrician while her children were young. The famous Old Testament feminine role model, the Proverbs 31 woman made cloth at home, sold it in the public square and brought both prosperity and honor to her family. Danielle Bean, Michele Quigley, and Heidi Hess Saxton edit good Catholic magazines while raising their children. My point is, that although these women are engaged in business activities, their family is their first priority. I know stay at home mothers whose volunteer or social activities encroach upon their mothering time.
We have to seek the will of God for our particular situation and in charity, refrain from criticizing one another. To correct a friend who is going astray in this direction, is the loving thing to do, but until you know the particulars of a working mother, please don't sit in judgement of her. I've been hurt by the judgements of fellow homeschooling mothers with more comfortable financial circumstances, who see all mothers who work as vain and materialistic.
I understand that stay at home mothers are tired of their vital role in raising children for heaven being mocked and this may account for a backlash against Sarah Palin. But I urge you to consider the powerful witness Sarah can be as Vice President. She can be a positive role model of a true feminist; pro-life, pro-family, faithful Christian, whose family life blends with her political career. Her husband is very supportive and isn't afraid of doing his share of child care; and we all know that this is crucial to the success of any working mother. I love when she described how she puts down the blackberry and picks up the breast pump. I would probably try to do both at once and make a hash of it!
Danielle Bean has quite a lively discussion on this subject going on at Faith and Family Live.9/17 UPDATE: Elizabeth Miller has a great post on how Sarah Palin might be a source of unity for women on this issue.