And the mommy wars continue. By now we’ve all heard about the brilliant statement that Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen made when she said that Ann Romney, a stay-at-home mom, had “never worked a day in her life.” Twitter went nuts. Romney fired back. Rosen apologized. Even the Catholic League got their jabs in. But here’s the thing: They’re all wrong.
In case you missed the latest I’m-better-than-you debate, here’s a recap:
Rosen, who Obama was quick to point out is not part of his campaign, seemingly questioned whether Romney, a wealthy woman, has worked hard as a mother–raising five boys, no less. Rosen said:
Guess what? His wife has never worked a day in her life.
Ann Romney responded quickly, saying raising five boys was plenty hard and we all need to respect the choices that women make:
My career choice was to be a mother and I think all of us need to know we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make choices to have a career and raise a family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that, that’s wonderful. But there are other people that have a choice, and we have to respect women and all those choices that they make.
Rosen later issued an apology to Ann Romney,
Let’s put the faux ‘war against stay at home moms’ to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his poor record on the plight of women’s financial struggles… As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.
But then the Catholic League couldn’t help but stick its judgmental nose in all this. Believe it or not, they tweeted:
Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.
OK, so who’s wrong here? Everyone, really.
Without a doubt, Rosen was completely off base by implying that moms don’t work. As a mother of two boys, I can tell you first hand (as can millions of other moms), it’s the hardest job in the world. Kids are demanding, noisy, messy, time-consuming, needy, exhausting and stressful all rolled into one nice, neat 18-year package. The more you have, the more “joy” you get (I say that lightly, because of course I love and treasure my kids, but let’s be honest, no one ever expects it to be this hard). And no one can tell us this is not “work”. I work my ass off as a mom. And even then, I never feel like it’s enough or good enough. So to have someone like Rosen come along and try to demean that is just insulting and offensive. She should know better.
But, as much as many women would like to, let’s not focus all the blame on her. Because Romney was also wrong when she said women have the choice to either raise a family or be a stay-at-home mom. That’s just not true. Most of us who work and raise our kids don’t have the choice. We juggle a bazillion things at once: getting (making/pulling/threatening) the kids out of bed each morning, tossing them a bowl of Captain Crunch, threatening (again) them to eat quickly and stop fighting with each other, hurrying through a quick shower (with no time to shave our legs, of course), dressing in whatever is clean (or the least dirty), yelling at the kids to get in the car, telling them to get back out of the car when they confess they didn’t brush their teeth, rounding the corner of the school parking lot just as the bell is ringing, watching them get out of the car and walk away (promising ourselves that we will spend quality time tonight and have a healthy, home-cooked meal), speeding off to work and running in the usual 10 minutes late, listening to your dumb-ass boss all day talk about things that don’t matter, and then rushing home at night while stopping at the nearest drive-thru (tomorrow will be that home-cooked meal), and getting ready to do it all over again.
That is the life of a working mom who doesn’t have a choice. She does this because she has to. Not because she always wants to. There are bills to pay, mortgages to keep up with, college educations to save for, aging parents to care for, and now your oldest needs braces. So for Ann Romney to assume that women always have a choice when it comes to working or staying home, that’s far from it. We don’t all live in her financial world.
As for the Catholic League, will Catholics ever stop judging? For them to insinuate that a lesbian who adopted kids is somehow a lesser person is just over the top wrong.
The bottom line: Every woman does what she has to, and every mother should be respected for the life she leads. There. Can we please regain our sanity and stop the mommy wars now? All of this fighting is just bad for our mental health.