Sunday, November 9, 2008

First Mom or First Lady

That is the headline on a story for CNN. I did not read the story but do know this. Just the fact that it is a title shows that we still have a long ways to go in equality for women. The fact that their is still reference to women having to choose between career and family. Yes, it is a balancing act but it is the same balancing act men have. Yet we don't see people question if they are up to the challenge.

Michelle Obama and her children bring excitement to the white house. It has been a long time since we had children that young living there. It will be fun to watch them grow up while at the same time respecting their privacy (I hope). Michelle Obama will have to balance her duties as first lady with those of being a mother just as Barack Obama will have to balance his duties as president with being a father. At the end of the day, they will have found a way to do it. Just as presidents and first ladies before them have and just as millions of Americans find the balance between their own lives and work.

My hope is that the Obamas will be able to show the world that the balance between work and family, while sometimes difficult, can be done. I hope the media treats the Obama children with the same respect they gave Chelsea Clinton. That the girls are able to grow up with a sense of normalcy and that the public and press allow them to have some privacy.

Work and family can be balanced. Yes, there are days I wish I could spend more time with my children. Yet, I know my children are also learning valuable lessons. They know that women can hold the same jobs as men and can have families and careers. By having male daycare teachers and babysitters, they learn that men can be good parents and be loving and nurturing. They know that adults are suppose to get up every morning and go to work just like they go to school. They understood that I cannot stay home and play because we need to work hard to earn money for food and shelter. They also know that at the end of the day they have a loving, safe home to come to. A home where they will be shown unconditional love while being taught the values that we believe in.

I hope that Mrs. Obama shows the world that it is not one or the other. I hope that during my lifetime people will see that men and women do not have to choose to have a career or a family. For those people who choose to stay home with their children (and are able to), I think it is wonderful. It works well for them. It does not work well for me and I do not believe my children suffer for it. We are all parents first and our jobs second. But that doesn't mean that either one has to suffer. Just balanced.

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