Saturday, August 30, 2008

And while we're on the subject...

This is such a great picture:

It reminds me of something that I learned, as a new mom, from a far more experienced mom who acted as a mentor to many younger women. Often we'd gather for an assortment of different work/fellowship activities, all of us younger moms with babies (and sometimes toddlers and other children). While tending to our children, encouraging each other, and attacking the task at hand, we would often be encouraged by this older mother, "Isn't it amazing what a determined mother can accomplish with a baby in her arms or in a sling?"

Yes, it is.

And it was a welcome, much needed message for me. It seemed that, outside of that group of mothers, almost everyone else was trying to convince me that babies and children just got in the way, and were a great impediment to any sort of meaningful activity. From this group of mothers, I learned that the world didn't come to a horrible, screeching halt unless I hired babysitters so that I could get on with the real purpose of living. As this experienced mom would remind us, mothers with babies have always worked. Well, except for the wealthy, privileged ones who were of the leisure class...

"Do you work?" people used to ask me. I was tempted to say, "No, I sit on the couch and eat bon-bons all day while my servants do all the work." The cure to that question? Going out in public with a stair-step brigade of young children. Suddenly it made the question seem silly.

Some of us have the luxury of working with our little ones in tow. Some of us don't. Some of us have the luxury of being self-righteous about our work choices. Some of us forego that luxury. But the real women among us, especially the mothers --- we all work. And often it's with a baby in a sling.

That picture of Governor Palin really resonates with me. I know that some of my fellow Christians believe it depicts an abomination and curse upon the state of Alaska, and possibly our nation. I believe it depicts a beautiful public testimony of motherhood.

Edited to add:

It seems that those who most decry the way mothers are demeaned in our society should be most pleased with pictures like this. In too many of life's arenas, especially the professional world (although some feminists are working to change that) mothers with babies are most unwelcome. Oh, it's OK to be a mother, as long as you usually keep your baby hidden away. And it's most unprofessional to attempt to conduct business with your baby in a sling! It's as if motherhood is best kept under wraps. It's just to be done at home, hidden away, almost like a shameful secret.

Governor Palin is exposing the lie to all that. She is completely, unashamedly, unapologetically, a mother. I found another picture of her online, in her office, with Trig in a sling, while signing some sort of important-looking document, acting as if this was the most common-place thing in the world.

How wonderful to bring a dedication to mother-baby togetherness, such bold living out of Christian motherhood, to the nation's attention in such a powerful way. This picture speaks volumes. Governor Palin, as vice president, might just elevate motherhood in the eyes of our nation. It's about time.

Wow. She even has more than the socially acceptable number of children. And McCain doesn't think any of that is a political liability.

Gives me hope for our country, it does.

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