I have a confession to make. I am a stay at home mom- and it is NOT the toughest job I have ever had. It is not even close.
Repetitive. Occasionally mind numbing. Monotonous. Often fun. And in the best of moments, unbelievably wonderful. But the most difficult ?? I know we’ve all spent the last week running from Hilary Rosen, falling all over ourselves praising stay at home Moms — but as a woman who has done both, I don’t I buy it.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being a MOM is without a doubt the most challenging, time consuming, confusing, exhausting thing I have ever done. It is a job where you are always on – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your life is no longer yours alone. Your kids are always there, figuratively or literally. And the scariest part? You never really know if you are doing a good enough job. There is no guide to help in making all the right choices, you can’t protect kids from illness or the outside world and perhaps most frightening, you can’t save your children from the mistakes they are all destined to make.
But that job? That all consuming difficult one? That is the description of motherhood — not stay at home motherhood. Part-time, full-time or working in the home, we all have that list on our job description.
Hilary Rosen accurately stated that Ann Romney has “never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.” I am sure if Ms. Rosen had a “do-over”, she would explain that Mrs. Romney has not been a member of the work force a day in her life. She does not understand balancing the demands of a career while simultaneously tending to her family. She has no gauge from which to comprehend the financial stress the average American family is under. She has no concept of how overwhelming it is for families who live pay check to pay check to even imagine paying for a college education; how difficult it is for single moms to care for sick children when they have no time off from work; how desperate the women in more severe need must feel watching the safety nets provided to feed their families be threatened with each new GOP budget proposal. Mrs. Romney is not in a position to address these concerns because she has never been there, she has no experience with financial difficulty and if Mitt Romney is relying on her feedback to help him determine what is important to women, then perhaps we have some explanation for the complete and total LACK of understanding he seems to have for women’s needs.
Instead, Hilary made a poor word choice that Mrs. Romney herself has called “an early birthday present,” and the media had a field day. Even Mitt gallantly stated that he happens to “believe all Moms are working Moms.”
Once again, with what is almost becoming laughable, good ole Willard isn’t telling the same story he told as recently as January. Bragging about his attempts while Governor to increase the time that mothers who received welfare were required to work, he stated that “if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work.” Wait…what? I thought all Moms were working Moms? No, explained Romeny, “I want individuals to have the dignity of work.” And by individuals- he means poor Moms receiving government assistance. Apparently poor stay at home Moms aren’t really working.
Look — Ms. Rosen wasn’t wrong; she just wasn’t eloquent. Lets all stop pretending her words were an insult to stay at home Moms. Like Mrs. Romney, my life has allowed me the choice to stay at home. Which is the perfect fit for me and my family. However, instead of poetic statements exalting the difficulty of my job I, like Ms. Rosen, want action to ensure every woman be able to make the choice that is right for her. I want this country to value whatever work a woman chooses, and to provide her with programs, health care and support to make her choices more abundant. Cutting health insurance, educational funding, and nutritional assistance is not giving “dignity” to mothers — it’s making life harder.
And as we have heard from both sides of the aisle this week, we all agree being a Mom is hard enough.