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My Hopes For Hillary Clinton's Acceptance Speech

Like everyone else, I'm waiting to hear Hillary Clinton's historic acceptance speech tonight.

Ms. Clinton will have a parade of successful, highly-accomplished women speak on her behalf. At least, that's what I gather from watching the live cable news convention rehearsals happening on stage. It is sure to be a great moment for girl power. I'm excited.

It's amazing to think about how long Hillary Clinton has been a part of our national conversation. Not to sound too cliche, but it seems like only yesterday when she uttered her famous "cookies" comment during the 1992 presidential campaign.

As a young, ambitious woman in 1992, I applauded Ms. Clinton's "cookies" comment. I wasn't going to bake cookies, either! I was going to do Big Things and buy my cookies pre-packaged at the grocery store. I was going to carry a briefcase with my initials on it as I marched up the career ladder in heels to conquer my profession. I even bought a headband like Hillary.

Last week between loads of kid laundry, I went back and watched the "cookies" comment. This time around, however, I found myself bristling a little bit, because I'm an older Gen Xer on the other side of the comment now.

I'm the one baking cookies.

The media are talking about how Middle America might react to Ms. Clinton's acceptance speech tonight, but we should also be talking about the women who are old enough to remember applauding the "cookies" comment, but haven't seen their lofty career ambitions work out the way they had originally planned, thanks to the Great Recession and the way their lives have unfolded.

Maybe they left the workforce due to job loss; perhaps they left because they their chosen professional field made it very difficult to balance work and home at once. Perhaps they found happiness and contentment in a capacity they never expected -- at home, through volunteering, through part-time employment -- that allows them to fulfill their life's obligations with a sense of purpose, and lower stress levels.

Enter stage right Ms. Clinton, who is an amazingly accomplished powerhouse by anyone's measure. She's the girl we all knew in high school who was in every club, always had perfect grades, and we wondered how she managed it. Then she gave a flawless graduation address while graduating with honors before leaving for a prestigious college. When we talked to her again, we realized that she had already done more in that time than we would ever do in our lifetime. We couldn't compete, and so we reminisced about P.E. class instead.

Great campaigns are as much about how voters feel as they are about voters' thoughts on the issues. Visual images can speak as loudly as words. If tonight's build up to the main address does not include a nod to women who have taken a different work-life balance path either by personal upside or economic downturn, then it might send an unintended message. The women on stage did everything the right way.

Women tend to measure their own success vis-a-vis other women, but measuring our own professional success against Hillary Clinton's is going to be a losing proposition. She's in a professional league all her own. I want to know how she struggled with work-life balance while raising a young child. I want to hear her say something about how hard it was, and how she coped with it. I want to know there's room for all women at the table -- SAHMs, WOHMs and WAHMs -- no matter what they decided worked best for them in balancing home and family.

I wish Ms. Clinton every success tonight. I really, really do. A lot is riding on her victory in November, and it's about time we have a woman president. She can do the job. I only hope her campaign understands that many of us in the TV audience who once cheered the "cookies" comment are now the ones who are baking the cookies.


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