While the spotlight is still hot, I want to take on the recent brouhaha regarding Hilary Rosen’s poor choice of words concerning Ann Romney. Now I don’t know either of these women but I consider myself a student of pop culture, political discourse and the news cycle. Hilary Rosen said something stupid and she may even have believed it deep in her soul. She may have believed that raising five kids to adulthood does not qualify one for making comments on finance or the economy, but man does she surely regret saying it.
What made the comment so stupid was how it opened up the other side of the political battle zone to a fantastic opportunity to beat their drums and pretend that one woman’s misstatements can paint an entire political party. In our hearts we know that’s not how it is, but in the world of politics, everyone must be totally politically correct or their entire party is lambasted for its cruelty…. to somebody.
I know Count Raoul is a Domestic Square Peg with a mustache and in the eyes of many has not earned the tree stump from which to shout. As soon as they let female reporters in the boy’s locker room, I stopped pretending I could not speak about their issues. Feel free to judge me by my words, not my body parts.
Of course the stay-at-home mom is physically and financially as astute as the working mom. Maybe not physically as primed as a female firefighter or as financially savvy as the female stockbroker, but compare her experiences to say the female marketing VP; I’d put my money on mom. Having spent about a thousand years in business with men and women, I can tell you that a lot of ‘middle managers’ spend their days at meetings, business lunches and in line at the airport.
The working moms miss their children but choose to work because the family needs the income, they do not want to waste an inquisitive mind or a combination of the two. It’s just wrong to presume that either group is unfulfilled. With job insecurity and unfathomable education, healthcare and retirement expenses on many families’ horizon it is such a rarity now to find a mom who does not do something to help pay the bills. But they exist and I suspect they quietly know how ‘fortunate’ they are. On the other hand they need not be shamed, either. Why can’t we just find what fits for us and our families?
However! There is a caveat to all of this.
A minority of stay-at-home moms fall back on their child raising duties as so incredibly sacrosanct that becoming a teacher or banker or astronaut is not an option because their children would suffer. Trust me, this is a minority, but it is a vocal group. They need to shut up, too. What an insult to the woman that works and pays for day care or rushes home to relieve the babysitter. The non-working mom is not a better mom and the fact that her kids grew up healthy and happy (not always) is not an assured result of her staying home. The kids that grow up happy and healthy almost always come from good and loving homes no matter the occupation of their mothers.
When a woman says her job is to “be there for my kids”, what does that infer to the working mom? That you are not there for your kids? Hilary Rosen may have been jealous that Ann Romney was married to a wealthy financier. But Ann did not infer that her child raising duties showed more love or nurture than a working mom’s efforts.
There are good moms on both sides of this fight, and to castigate one or the other sets up unnecessary friction. Did you see what your precious Timmy did yesterday?
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