Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 29 Sep 2008

I believe the experience of parents is undervalued in the workplace. But will Sarah Palin help my cause?

Hillary's Advice

The job of parenting is complicated and demanding, and people hone their management, human resources, communications, creative and many other skills as they do it. In fact, as Regina Herzfeldt, a research fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership, in Brussels, pointed out in The Financial Times last week, studies by her centre have shown that parents have the multi-tasking skills needed by senior management and are good at challenges. They also suffer reduced stress at work, which tends to improve their creative thinking and decision-making.

So, definitely, let’s have a Mom in the White House. Why not? Just not Sarah Palin. And for two reasons. Firstly, her values as reflected through the prism of momhood, are scary. She seems to think that being a hockey mom is a role of great merit, but in my direct experience most American hockey moms are ruthless, overbearing and focussed on their own child’s success to a near-pathological degree. She also advocates teaching creationism, which obviously raises deep questions about her ability to pursue rational thought.

But more than that, touting herself as a hands-on ‘Mom candidate’ when her busy and varied career means she can hardly have spent any time with her five children, and she is now out on the stump with very young baby, is downright dishonest. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with the choices she has made. Just that if she is a dedicated career politician, she cannot also put herself about as an ordinary, down-home Mom and expect to be taken seriously by anyone who thinks twice about it.