The politics of parenting: Former Gov. Jane Swift on balancing job with family

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the self-described "hockey mom," knows what it takes to govern the state while raising five children. Nonetheless, her ability to balance vice-presidential demands with family obligations has been called into question. Is the criticism sexist? The Takeaway talks with former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, who gave birth while serving in office. Gov. Swift took your questions.
Guest: Jane Swift, former Governor of Massachusetts, and founder of WNP Consulting, where she speaks on women's leadership and work-family integration. She also sits on the Republican Leadership Council's board of directors.

Comments [5]


I believe that some women have enough intelligence and wisdom to know their children's needs and can make such decisions for themselves, especially if she has a "Mr. Mom" to take over as needed. Working together, as they seem to do, along with their solid faith in God and the wisdom from him based in Scriptures, they should do a very good job as Veep.

Sep. 17 2008 07:05 PM

Sarah Pallin's children are high-need: one has Down's syndrome, one is about to be deployed, one is a pregnant teenager, and the other two also have their needs, especially as siblings of Trig and Bristol. If she were a man running for head of my department, I'd vote against her/him as someone who is, for the time being, needed at home. It was hard enough raising two kids, but five--and five that are particularly needy? You can't schedule intimate time with your kids. YOu have to be available.

Sep. 13 2008 04:36 PM
Florence Bacas

Dear Gov. Swift:

I would like to offer my services to the Truth Squad. Please contact me.

Thank you,

Florence Bacas, J.D.

Sep. 11 2008 05:17 PM
Michelle Mitchell

I don't think the criticism is sexist--unless questioning whether children are being properly taken care of is sexist. But it does perhaps expose the underlying truth that whether or not they like it women are still the preeminent care givers in the home and even when there is a division of labor the woman typically ends up with the lion's share of work for a home to function.

I would ask not if she's a bad mother, because I think she is capable of meeting the needs of both office and family, but instead is she normal? Is she representative of most working women in her abilities? Most women I know just aren't as organized, ambitious or skillful as Governor Palin. She represents working women everywhere in what she's taking on but she doesn't represent most working women in her abilities to do it successfully.

Sep. 09 2008 10:03 AM
The Takeaway

Submit your questions about Sarah Palin, sexism, and balancing work and family for former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift at

Sep. 09 2008 08:12 AM

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