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Is Sarah Palin being held to an unfair standard?

  • Story Highlights
  • iReporters weigh in on Sarah Palin's roles of politician and mother
  • Some say she can't be both a good mother and a good vice president
  • Others say Palin is being held to an unfair standard as a woman
  • Is there a double-standard?
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(CNN) -- Sarah Palin: politician and mother. iReporters weigh in on the difficulty of balancing those two roles.

Sarah Palin and family

iReporter Christina Walker says its very challenging to balance work and caring for her 1-year-old child.

Since Sen. John McCain named Alaska Go. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick, she has been closely scrutinized by both the public and the media. Palin has served as governor of Alaska for almost two years. She also has five children, including a 4-month-old son with Down Syndrome and a 17-year-old daughter who is 5-months pregnant.

Her choice to run as the Republican vice presidential nominee has drawn both praise and criticism from the left and right alike. Now iReporters are asking: Was it the right decision?

Some feel that Palin's choice to run shows poor judgment.

"I think she made the wrong call. It's not her time," said Andy Stably of Salem, New Hampshire. "Given her personal situation and her special circumstances, it does seem more important than the nomination she's accepting. I don't think that should be blanket statement for all moms. But the job she's about to interview for is the job of jobs, and it's going to require her to sacrifice what she has at home."

Stably has children of his own, and his wife works full-time. He says this experience has helped shape his views on Palin: "Doesn't everyone, male or female, think about the impact a job offer would have on their personal life before accepting the offer?"

"It's not a sexist thing," said Jeanette Lee, who is raising a 15-month-old baby of her own. "If my family was having these sorts of issues, I wouldn't be putting them in the spotlight and making them go through this publicly. For her to walk away from her baby with special needs just shows her character. I feel like she should pay more attention to her whole family."

"If her children were older, it wouldn't be an issue," Lee added.

Others feel Palin's family situation would have a negative impact on her effectiveness as vice president.

"I want my president to be my president. It is a difficult, sometimes thankless, and emotionally devastating job that requires 100 percent resolve at all times," said Carlton Madden, from West Monroe, Louisiana. "I think she has a lot on her plate ... I have no problem with a woman being president, but I'm going to hold her to the same standards I'd hold a man. If [Obama] had a pregnant teen daughter and a child with special needs, I'd have serious reservations about his ability to make a split-second decision, too."

Christina Walker, of Austin, Texas, who has a 1-year-old daughter, says her experience as a mom has led her to the same conclusion.

"I opted to change my career path so I could spend more time with my child, and I'm trying to manage both the career and the child," she said. "It's very challenging, and I'm not in nearly the type of stressful role that she would be in."

But some think Palin's experience as a mom would only make her a better vice president.

Carolyn Jasper of Shreveport, Louisiana, says Palin's experience as a mother makes her a better candidate because she knows what it's like to balance life and work and can understand the lives of "regular" Americans.

"I can tell you one thing about being a mom. You learn real quick how to work through all of life's huge problems and bring them down to a manageable size," said Jasper, who has three children of her own. "I do think she'll be more capable of understanding what the regular American people need from their government because she is a mom and a family person."

So is there a double standard at work? Some iReporters think so.

"Why aren't we questioning how Obama can raise his kids?" asked Shawn Strode of Orlando, Florida. "Mind you, having a Down Syndrome child is going to be more challenging, but are we assuming the dad can't step in and be a parent? We automatically assume that first ladies can be great parents and that it won't take away from the father being the president. I don't think it will affect her job that much."

"I'm a little tired of hearing about Bristol and her pregnancy," said Katy Brown, a freshman at Kent State University in Ohio. "This has nothing to do with the campaign. It has nothing to do with how well Sarah Palin will lead the country. ...This just shows that they're a normal family."

Lisa Stiles, of Richmond, Virginia, has been involved in grassroots campaigning for nuclear energy throughout her career and says Palin inspired her to consider running for office in the future. She thinks this discussion would never have come up if Palin was a man.

"Are people forgetting that she has a husband?" Stiles asked. "I would think people would be applauding the fact that such a reversal of traditional gender roles is possible."


And Jordan Saver of Athens, Georgia, believes there is a different kind of sexism going on in the race: "We're giving [Palin] credit for being a mother and a politician, but Barack Obama doesn't get credit for being a father and a politician," he said. "It's reverse discrimination. But if they mentioned it, it would be seen as sexist."

"It's the wrong conversation to be having," added Kathryn Ova of New York City, who describes herself as a "die-hard feminist." "Our overall belief system of putting work ahead of family for both men and women is kind of dominating right now. It's coming up because she's a woman, but putting work ahead of family is a major issue regardless of gender."

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