Carla Y. Nix

Walking In My Purpose

CAN WE HAVE IT ALL?

Posted by hashiki on September 5, 2008

I do not plan to turn this entry into a political outlet, however, due to the recent and most popular turn of events that have occurred in the presidential race, I do have some thoughts. 

I would like to read your thoughts in response to my posting.

Well, as we all know, the Republican Party has named Governor Sarah Palin (Alaska) as the Vice Presidential nominee.  Regardless of your political affiliation or interest, please share your thoughts on what I’m about to write.

Although I am not Republican, these specific and particular feelings are not driven by that.  I am concerned about the Governor’s family – her children especially.  I do believe that women can successfully work and raise families – after all – I am such a woman.  Yet, as a mother, I take my responsibility seriously and I adhere to my family being my first priority.  Even ahead of a career.

I am a wife and a mother of 3.  My two oldest children are now adults (ages 23 and 21).  The 23 year old (son) is living his own life now in another state/city.  The 21 year old (daughter) is a senior in college majoring in Psychology.  She lives on campus.  We are looking forward to graduation this year.  Our baby is 10 (daughter) and of course is at home with us.  It seems much of the time that she is an only child now, but she is still my child…my baby.

Things are different for us now.  I no longer work outside of the house.  By choice (underscored by medical reasons), I am now a SAHM or WAHM – with pleasure!  The only thing that I regret about life is the fact that I’ve spent 20 years working outside of the house.  Not that I regret working, but I regret that my work took so much of me away from my family.  I worked because I had to (or thought I had to), but I really wanted to be home with my children.  I didn’t have any real extended family support and my kids spent much of their young years in daycare, before and afterschool care, and riding with van services because I was not home from work to pick them up.

My baby is 10 years younger than the middle child.  When she was born, I had to put her in day care at the very young age of 6 weeks.  Yes, she was only 6 weeks old when I “had” to go back to work (that’s the maximum time they gave me off from work)!  It killed me to leave my baby each morning in the hands of others. 

With all of my children, I always walked on pins and needles and was “afraid” when/if they got sick.  That meant that I had to “ask” for time off to see about my own child.  Fortunately, my husband and I rotated (if I felt comfortable about it).  There were times when I just had to be there.  We’ve gone through pnemonia, chicken pox, ear infections, hernia surgery, etc., over the years.  And of course, the common cold, fever, “pink” eye, etc.  Even a ring worm once.  All contagious things that they ask you not to send your child to school with.

Employers don’t like it when their employees miss work.  Of course they give you the time, but you never feel comfortable with it.  Only twice did I miss work for myself in 20 years.  I dragged myself into work sick or not because I knew that I didn’t want to waste my precious “time” for myself, but saved it for my children. 

I always felt guilty, and then even guiltier that I felt guilty.  I felt guilty to call into work.  I felt guilty if I sent my babies to school some time when I knew that they needed to be home.  I felt guilty when I asked for time off from work (an hour or two) to bring them to a doctor’s appointment, or to go to their school for a special program.  I was never able to attend field trips with them.  I feel as though I missed out on a lot because I had to work.

This time around, I could not take anymore and knew that I had to leave my job.  After going through Hurricane Katrina, having life restored, and finding a new job – after two years (and almost having a stroke!), I left my job.  It was a hard decision, yet, the right one.  I felt that I was letting my employer down, yet I knew that I’d been letting my family down.

I had to really decide which was most important.

I was tired of coming home late in the evening because there was so much work in the office.  When I arrived, it was only time for my daughter to bathe and go to bed.  I had to trust that she’d done her homework, and correctly.  I got tired of throwing together quick meals, or coming home with fast food.  I was just tired.

I always wanted to be home when my kids arrived from school – with dinner ready.  I always wanted to have dinner ready for my husband in a timely matter.  I always wanted to be in my home to take care of my house and the things of the household FULLY.  I’d done it all along, but not as well as I could have.  As a wife and mother, you just do what you have to do, regardless.

I feel so free now that I don’t have to see if my “time” will be approved for family matters.  I am here for my family and I am being the mother that I’ve always wanted to be for my baby – the 10 year old.  Again, I only regret that I wasn’t able to (or didn’t) do so when my two oldest were children.

Now, back to my concern about Governor Palin.  If she is elected as Vice President, she will have pressure and responsibility on her as never before.  My work was only in corporate America.  Her duties will be for the entire country.  She would be a heartbeat away from being President, yet even as serving as VP, she would be required to be accessible 24-7.

Who will be raising her children?  Nannies?  White house staff?  Strangers?  Oh, the sheer thought of this makes me shutter!

Hopefully her husband would be willing and able to take the role of a full-time stay-at-home Dad.  Which would be great.  At least the children would have at least one parent with them.  But, I have to be honest to say that for me, and in my opinion, children need their mothers in a different and unique way.  I certainly am not degrading fathers or their importance.  Every child needs a father too.  But, no one….absolutely no one can be a substitute for a loving, nurturing mother. 

Outrage has been raised in that no one asks men how are they going to manage careers and fatherhood.  My answer is that they manage it by providing for their families. 

The Republicans chimed last night during the RNC “Country First”.  As a mother, I say that family definitely trumps country (or career or anything else that gets in the way).  As a Christian, the only thing that I can see going before my family is my love and relationship with God.  Because of that love and relationship, family is right there.  As a Minister’s wife, and even as a woman blessed to do ministry work, I also know that family comes even before ministry work.  A father, and mother, must put family first.

I am interested in your thoughts on this.  Please share your comments.

Thank you!

Blessings!

Carla

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7 Responses to “CAN WE HAVE IT ALL?”

  1. Mitch said

    I see many things differently than you do, I guess, and yet maybe we’ll find something we agree on also. I was a military kid, so in some places both parents worked, and in others my mother stayed at home. However, only when I was under the age of 4 did I have anyone watching me while my parents were gone. After that, I was gone most of the time, so it didn’t matter whether my parents were home or not. Of course it was a different time, but I believe I turned out okay.

    I also don’t believe in God before family, religious or not, because obligation is always to family first. If one didn’t believe that then they should have never had a family. Our parents worked to provide for us, and we work to provide for our families. However, this one is way more of a personal choice, so I’m not going to go much further on this one.

    And finally, I do believe we can have it all, and deserve to try to have it all. True, society does ask women some really stupid questions when it comes to things like this, and I couldn’t believe that one of those entertainment shows opened tonight by talking about what Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin were wearing (ugh!), but those types of things will change as women start exhibiting the power of their numbers more often in the future.

    I’m not voting Republican in this next election, but overall I’m glad that two glass ceilings have already been broken, and one will be broken even further come November. I think, for the American society, those are the most important things of all.

  2. Dera said

    I agree Carla. You laid out a sound, intelligent argument about priorities. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, also has five kids but she did not enter politics until her youngest was sixteen. No one is saying you can’t have it all, but there shouldm and needs to be a balance.

  3. bee said

    the comment from dera made it sound like mrs. pelosi stayed home and “baked cookies” while her children were young, the following is from one of her many bios on the internet-

    After moving to San Francisco, Pelosi worked her way up in Democratic politics. She was elected as party chairwoman for Northern California on January 30, 1977. She later joined forces with one of the leaders of the California Democratic Party, 5th District Congressman Phillip Burton. And in 1987, after her youngest child became a high school senior, she decided to run for political office.

    Just because she didn’t formerly run for office until 87 don’t think she hadn’t spent the previous 10-14 years doing things other than committing herself 24/7 to her children-

    like the original poster, Carla, i have children aged, 23,20, and 10- and i have been both a mom at home without outside work and a mom who worked at home- i am sure that before the Palin family said yes, and i mean the whole family- they made
    sure they had a game plan for the next four years- I know in my own family a choice with this kind of importance would be made with everyone’s input, especially that of the children and husband- i notice many women out there have children, work and are wonderful mothers and great examples to their kids- the truth of the matter is that she would literally be able to bring the baby to work with her most of the time, as many high-powered executives are able to do- how many times have we read about
    actresses having the baby with them 24/7- and we sure don’t hear this kind of feedback. true, most women would not have the luxury of bringing their children to work with them, but some do-
    are we harping on this because she’s republican, because she’s running for office, because she’s not perfect? i do not want perfection in the oval office- i want someone who has had to struggle a bit, make some tough choices, and learned from those-
    i am neither a republican or a democrat, so i am undecided in my vote, i am a mother who at this time does work outside my home, and hopefully that fact does not make me any the less of a loving and devoted wife or mother-

  4. T L Thomas said

    I could not resist the opportunity to weigh in on such a big issue. I too am a mother, my son, now 18 was diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disorder when he was five years old. I also need to add that I attended college, receiving both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. Because my son was so young and required care and attention on so many fronts, it was necessary to attend numerous doctor’s appointments and school appointments and private tutoring.

    Fortunately for me, I was employed with a company that was perhaps “more understanding than some” and they were willing to work around the appointments. My son graduated from high school this year and is now attending community college. I have been with this company for 25 years. Now that my “child rearing” days are drawing to a close, I find myself wanting to use my degrees to do more but am finding that my qualifications almost seem not up to snuff as the “youngsters” enter the job arena with the same set of skills.

    Not all are so fortunate as I have been. I maintained a steady job during a time when I had to dedicate so much time to raising my son. I cannot help but wonder what will become of Mrs. Palin’s child with Down’s Syndrome. Amid cries of country first, I agree, family comes first.

    I don’t know if you can really have it all without leaving something along the way. I think I chose wisely, my son now has a chance, after everything, after all of the sacrifices to live a full, vibrant life. I may not have a corner office in some large firm, but I have the assurance that my son has a chance.

  5. With the Republicans chanting, “Country First!”, Governor Palin falls right in line. If she is willing to put her duty to the Republican party to become Vice President, so be it. That attitude speaks volumes to me—and it isn’t saying, “As a woman I can have it all!” The sad story in all of this is putting her teenage daughter in the spotlight with a baby and soon-to-be husband who refers to himself as an F—– redneck. Would you want your daughter or your grandchild to be involved with someone like that?

  6. Byron said

    Hi Sis. Overall, and I state that delicately, I believe that women in today’s society have to make choices that sometimes are not popular in the eyes of many. It’s 2008 and even tho’ I am firmly voting for Barack, I do believe that Gov. Palin has the right to share the decisions with her husband as to what is best for their family. When stating “what is best” I include the values and also the goals for both of their careers. If she just decides to stay as governor because of the strain that it might put on her actual participation in family raising then I believe that it would be a set-back for women in general. As a mother with money and power she will be joining the ranks of thousands of others who had to juggle and make hard decisions while striving for the glass ceiling. Yes, it may not be a popluar move to have nannys, daycare providers, secret service escorts, etc assisting in the raising of her family, but they do it regardless of who is in the White House. As we all well know sometimes it is the sacrifice of one person’s standards to help the group as a whole be recognized as equals. Let me end with this: Don’t get it twisted (smile). I have voted Republican, Independent, and Democrat over the past 20 years and I am firmly rooted in this years decision. But even though Palin’s ticket will not get my vote, I do support the fact that she is standing up there as a woman.

  7. Dana said

    I am an African-American Christian independent who tends to vote conservative, but not this time around. I don’t believe in superman or superwoman and I don’t believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be the VP of the United States of America. Here is a 44 year old woman with 5 children ranging from 4 mos to somewhere in the 20’s. Her youngest is a special needs baby and her daughter will be a teenage mother and now she’s going to add to her plate the second most important job in the country? Come on now. The world doesn’t want to make a distinction between men and women, but their is. There is a reason why God made women to carry babies and to be nuturers. I am not saying that a woman can’t have a family and a career, but it is hard, it is challenging, it can be frustrating and down right tiresom. I am a married 45 year old, soon to be 46 and I have a 7 1/2 year old. I work fulltime and if I don’t have my daughter’s homework done by a certain time you can forget it. It is night night time for me, but I’m supposed to think Sarah can do it all. I don’t want her to do it all. I want the VP to do one thing and that’s consentrate on what’s best for our country and keep us safe. Now, if Mrs. Palin becomes the VP I know she will have help, but there is only so much a nanny, Dad, grandparents or older sisters and brothers can do. Look, there is a hugh difference from running a company and running the country. If she was over a company I would say go for it, because it’s not affecting me if she blows it, but if she’s 2nd leader over the country then it affects me and I’m not having that. So no I don’t think the VP should bring home the bacon, fry it up in a man and never forget that you’re a man – that is a song and this is reality.

    Peace

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