Her name seems to be appearing in the most unconventional spots in cyberspace: blogs written by mothers across the nation.
Maybe it's because Sarah Palin, chosen recently by presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, as his running mate, is not your conventional vice president candidate.
She's a conservative, outspoken Christian with little legislative experience, yet has a career and is a mother to five children, including one born this year with Down syndrome.
But some Lodi mothers feel Palin's balancing the duties of motherhood with her duties as the current governor of Alaska make her ready for the White House.
"While I would love it if all mothers could stay home and rear their children, that is just not a practical thought," said Dayna Panella, of Lodi, who balances raising a toddler with planning events at a local vineyard.
"The fact that Palin has been able to be a successful governor and mayor while fielding phone calls about whether or not a kid can have mac and cheese is amazing. It takes a very special and driven woman to be able to handle that kind of workload, and I think that will make her shine as a VP." Panella, who is expecting her second child, recently posted to her blog her opinion of what Dr. Laura Schlessinger had to say. The radio personality blasted McCain for choosing Palin.
"I'm stunned," Schlessinger wrote on her blog Sept. 2. "Really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down syndrome, and then goes back to the job of governor within days of the birth?"
Panella couldn't help but respond, pointing out that Schlessinger has a high-paying job, gets to make her own hours and only has one child.
"I have heard that Palin is a good, supportive mom who loves her kids and I have heard she has made some incredibly wise decisions while in office," Panella said when asked her opinion of the vice president hopeful. "That speaks volumes to her abilities."
Sarah Palin at a glanceAlaska Gov. Sarah Palin, also the Republican vice presidential candidate, is mother to five:
Son Track, born 1989
Daughter Bristol, born 1990 and currently expecting
Daughter Willow, born 1995
Daughter Piper, born 2001
Son Trig, born this year with Down syndrome
Panella plans to vote for Palin because she is "real," she said, adding that she's impressed with how Palin has handled the issue of her unmarried, pregnant daughter. But Panella doesn't agree with critics who point out that with five children (four 18 or under), Palin should just stay home and raise them.
"I used to think that when I had kids, my career would evolve into only caring for my kids. How foolish that was!" said the Lodi resident.
"I do not have it in me to stay at home all day, nor do most of my stay-at-home mommy friends. While I am certainly not working at Palin's level, I do understand why she has chosen to continue with her career."
Emilie Leyva, a Lodi mother of two school-age children and one on the way, believes women are natural multi-taskers and that ability will only help Palin if elected.
Leyva, who said she identifies with Palin as a fellow mother, also disagrees with critics who think Palin should be at home since her newborn has a disability.
"Down syndrome has a spectrum of severity, and it's proven that immersion into the 'real world' improves the quality of life for most children with this disorder," she said.
"Palin is doing more for her family by speaking out, and being a leader than by staying home and keeping quiet."
During a campaign stop in Colorado on Monday, Palin brought the disorder to the forefront, saying she would ensure the government is on the side of families with specialneeds children.
Molly Bjork, whose 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism three years ago, hopes Palin keeps her promise by advocating for families with special needs and increases awareness.
"But I was going to cast my vote for the Republican ticket even before Palin showed up on the scene. Now, I'm more excited about my choice," said Bjork, whose husband writes a blog for the News-Sentinel. She also hosts a Web site (www.lodiautismconnection.com) to unite Lodi families whose children have autism.
Bjork, who also has a daughter in pre-school, added that Palin showing up on the political scene has caused her to converse with friends about the debate on whether a mother should stay home with her children.
"I feel I don't have a right to judge another in their decisions of what's best for their families," she said, adding that she doesn't have an opinion on whether Palin should stay at home with the kids.
"I can only speak for myself when I say staying home with my children has been the best decision for our family."
When it comes to balancing a career with motherhood, Panella said it probably helps that Palin's husband supports her choices. "They obviously would have had some long hard talks about her career path and adding more kids to the mix. He is on board with her, and I think that is great."
Leyva, a student, said all of her female friends, except one, love Palin and what she stands for. She thinks Palin will balance out McCain and his views "nicely."
Likewise, Bjork said she appreciates Palin's tenacity and conviction in her Christian beliefs, which Bjork shares.
Love her or hate her, Palin her appears to be the focus of opinion polls.
An Associated Press poll released Friday, for example, found Obama leading women overall by 5 points, but McCain leading by 12 points among white women. Asked which candidate "cares a lot about people like you," white women chose McCain first (47 percent), then Palin (45 percent), then Obama (38 percent).
And Palin ranked higher, at 42 percent, than either McCain or Obama when white women were asked which candidate shares their values and principles "a lot."
The poll conducted Sept. 5-10 also found about two-thirds of working-class whites who were likely to vote said Palin shared their values and principles, as well as their positions on issues, and three-quarters said so about McCain. Roughly half said Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama shares their values, principles and positions.
"What I like most about her is that she comes from a normal family; her father was a teacher, not a politician," Leyva said. "I think from her humble background and dedication to her own children, Palin makes for a good role model. She is down to earth and easy to identify with."
Leyva, who had never heard of Palin until McCain's announcement of his running mate a little over two weeks ago, also believes the governor's family values will only strengthen those of the country.
"And I have no doubt that her family will get the same amount of attention and love as they do now," she added. "Palin's political career started early, so she has been balancing family and a career for a long time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.