Sunday, September 07, 2008

Feminism and Motherhood

Please Note: This is not a political commentary or opinion. It is simply a reflection on my own values as I responded internally to political events of the last several days.

I have been convicted by my own judgement of others recently. I must admit that when I learned that Sarah Palin has a child who is only a few months old and another dealing with teenage pregnancy, I wondered if this is really the time for her to run for Vice-President. This was not a reflection on her capabilities, electability, or even if she's the best candidate. I simply wondered if it is in her family's best interest for her to be involved in this campaign and possibly to serve as Vice-President of the United States at this time.

Here's the rub. I left my well established teaching career and changed my family's financial and life situation in order to attend seminary and pursue ordained ministry. I won't go into whether or not Sarah Palin feels called by God in her government service. That's not the issue. The question for me is how do I balance my understanding that women (specifically myself as a woman) can do anything we chose and shouldn't be limited by our gender with the fact that we have chosen to have families. At our son's adoption placement ceremony, G&T and I made vows to raise manBoy in a loving home and to know God's love. I take those vows as seriously as I do my wedding vows and those I took at my commissioning for ministry. It was those vows that led me to take my current position which is less demanding of my evening and weekend time during these last few years manBoy is at home than if I was pastoring a church.

One question I ask myself is would I have wondered about the timing of this candidacy if the candidate had been a man with the same family circumstances. I must say probably not. Indeed, you could say I'm pretty hipocritical or old fashioned about some of this.

In the end, I think I can't consider this only from a feminist vs. motherhood view. For my current situation, it boils down to love. I love God and want to be in ministry for God. I also love my family whom I believe are gifts from God. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck's definition of love includes “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” I believe that sometimes love also means limiting one's self for the purpose of nuturing another.

Whether or not my questions about Governor Palin's decisions are fair or gender biased, I believe I have made the best decision for myself and my family. The only fair thing I can do is believe that Sarah Palin is capable of making her own decision as well.


Songbird said...

It's really gotten under a lot of people's skin, this question of how much one person can do and whether one woman's choices are any other woman's business.

DogBlogger said...

I keep thinking about the big unbloggable thing I turned down earlier this year, and that I turned it down for my family at least as much as for myself. So even though I don't have the lens of motherhood through which to filter decisions, I'm still having trouble understanding the willingly very public situation of the Palin family. Funny where we discover we're old-fashioned, huh?

the reverend mommy said...

This has been bothering me a lot as well -- especially as some of the critique has come from people like NOW who (in the past) wholeheartedly encouraged women to reach beyond. However, if the woman in question differs from THEM then they pull the "but isn't this going to be just too much" card.

I am contemplating limiting my ministry to part-time only until the kids get out of HS. Or I may just do as God leads me...

Identity Mixed said...

I just can't get over the fact that she went back to work 3 days after her child's birth. I wasn't even walking then!