and not just because of the politics she is spewing. Not just because she feels all right about using her children in a way I find distasteful or the religious stuff, or the plane she didn't sell on ebay.
Sarah Palin scares me because she is perpetrating the myth that women are exactly like men.
And she does it with a narcissistic, self congratulatory smile that chills me in a way that I haven't felt in my adult life.
Now, I have Always been a working mother. From the day Emily was conceived to the day my secretary sent me home because I was audibly ( and unconsciously) doing Lamaze breathing in my office. I worked. And Yes, I delivered Emily and went back to work within a week to do interviews for teachers and the end of year ceremony for the child care.
I was hell bent on proving motherhood had not changed me.
And in doing that I nearly killed myself. Not to mention what it did to Emily.
While I was busy proving that Motherhood was not a life changing event, Emily was a failure to thrive baby. A special needs baby. One who would be weighed two to three times a week and monitored intensely. We celebrated weight gain in OUNCES. I ran back to work to prove that I could do it all. A functioning uterus did not affect my need for time off, or my ability to run a business. No sir.
My new motherhood did not provide me with empathy for other women, either. Shit - If I could do it...you could too. Don't tell ME how hard it is, I have you trumped with hard. She doesn't sleep. She doesn't gain weight, She pukes and is constipated as a breast fed only baby. But there I was. Professional Dawn. Right on time and last one to leave at night. I, of course, didn't have the influence on things such as parental leave on a national level..but I can assure you that I hated giving my staff days off.
I suspect Sarah is much the same. Of course, I was suffering from a spiraling depression that would end with me crawling under my desk at work to get away from the people there and my avoidance at all costs with my child and husband.
I have no idea if Sarah was assessed for the signs of post partum depression - especially after the unexpected late in life pregnancy of a special needs baby... I doubt she stood still long enough to be assessed.
The other thing that scares me about Sarah Palin? Purely a gut feeling here. No factual basis, I will say up front.
I lived in a family that kept secrets. I know what it is to be standing with your family, acting out an image that is completely fictional. I know what it is to pretend that we were the type of family who never experienced mental illness, or suicide attempts, or drug and alcohol addition. Everything was great!
I know what it is to have a mother who insisted that those images were maintained. And who withheld -approval, money, affection - if you did not meet standards.
I know what it is like to be raising younger siblings when you are 15, 16 and 17 years old. Having to be home right after school ( and on weekends and nights) to pick up your baby sister and younger brother because your Mom works and you were the child care provider. You start to think "Shit - I'm doing all this work and this isn't even my baby!"
Makes you feel grown up before you should.
When I see that family stand before me, I see all the secrets that are desperately trying to be kept in service to a Woman who sees her chance for power and has decided to go for it. I see an almost adult daughter looking for any way out she can get, even if it means sacrificing her own childhood to get out from under the iron grip of her mother.
I see a woman who has no compassion for other mothers by her touting of "going back to work three days after she delivered a baby".
I see a woman who has no qualms about saying that women can't be trusted with decisions about their own bodies, and who denies the humanity of the gift of female sexuality.
I see a woman who has no qualms about forcing her pregnant 17 year old daughter to stand before a crazed convention of hard line Republicans, holding hands with the boyfriend to maintain her image as "Good Mother".
I recognize a master manipulator, because I grew up at the feet of a mother who was just like that - changing the story to show her mothering in the best light. Getting rid of people who don't agree with her, coercing silence and agreement within the circle, at best.
It's not lipstick which defines a Mom, Sarah. It's all the other stuff. The sacrifice we don't always talk about. The struggle for balance in our lives. The recognition of our fragility AND strength as women.
Not being pitbulls.