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Mommy Wars: Today’s women need to respect each other’s lifestyle choices

Staff April 23, 2012 Opinion 4 Comments

The comment made by Democratic Consultant Hillary Rosen about Ann Romney last week has quickly turned into a divisive political battle pitting “working” moms against mothers who stay at home to raise children.

President Barack Obama, who holds a strong lead among all female voters was quick to voice his support, for stay-at-home moms, while Rosen struggled to choke out a tepid apology for her comment.

To fill you in, Rosen said Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, “has not worked a day in her life” and has not dealt with economic issues like the majority of American women today.

Immediately following these comments, Romney became the media’s primary target.

Rosen’s comment seems to be an attempt to marginalize Ann Romney’s decision, as a woman, to raise her own children, as well as to criticize her for her family’s wealth.

Why? What is it that Romney chose that offends Rosen so much?
Her commitment to her husband, her decision not to pursue a paying job, her wealth, her conservatism, or the lack of perceived struggle she has had?

When did the women’s movement get off track?

The movement originated to give all women the right to choose their own path, to have their own political voice, and to open women up to all career choices.

But the women’s movement has been hijacked by liberal, working women who only validate women who think as they do, have chosen a paid career as they have, and have socially and economically liberal views as they do.

I find it sad feminists don’t see the value in Romney’s role as a wife, mother and the myriad of roles that go along with both.
I believe Romney’s choice to sacrifice a paid career to raise her family, her courageous battle with two major illnesses, her continued commitment to her husband and his campaign, and her unwavering commitment to her beliefs admirable.

Rosen’s comments insinuate stay-at-home mothers are selfish, entitled, lazy and rich. This is far from the truth.
I have witnessed the challenges stay-at-home mothers face on a personal level.

My mother graduated from Boston College with a degree in communications and was working in Boston at a public relations firm when I was born more than two decades ago.

She made the decision to stay at home and raise my three other siblings and me.

My parents definitely could have used the extra income, but she was willing to sacrifice money for time with us.

My father started his own business right out of college and was working long hours to get his business off the ground.

They lived in a small two family home in Newton, Massachusetts, not their ideal living situation, but they were just starting out.
They moved from there to a fixer-upper they renovated on their own.
I think if Rosen met my mother today she would have the same criticisms of her she had of Romney.

She would assume it all came easy for my mother and her primary job to raise four children was of less value to society than what she has chosen and my parents’ success makes them out of touch.
My mother, for the most part, loved staying at home, but it did come with many sacrifices.

My mother told me the first question women would ask her, not men, was “what do you do?”

Unfortunately, many working moms and almost all feminists look down upon people like my mother who made the choice to stay home to raise kids.

Funny, I have never heard the National Organization of Women support women in this particular “right to choose.”

What many people like Rosen don’t understand is stay-at-home moms make plenty of sacrifices which go beyond forgoing a paycheck.
Women who stay home don’t get the respect they deserve and often are belittled by “working moms.”

My mother had multiple jobs when she was a stay at home mother, including my family’s teacher, coach, nurse, chef, researcher, nutritionist, therapist, college advisor, mentor, decorator, general contractor and too many others to list here.

Sometimes I wonder if women who exhibit so much contempt for moms like mine are simply displacing personal guilt for not taking their own parental responsibilities more seriously.

If Rosen is the new face of feminism, count me out. I want to be free to make any choice that is best for not just me, but my family as well.

Modern feminism does not recognize and appreciate the roles all women play.

Isn’t feminism about liberating women from the patriarchal binds that inhibit us all from living a full and liberated life?

I can’t speak to Romney’s ability to relate to the American middle class.

There’s no doubt the Romneys are extremely privileged and Romney was granted many luxuries, including the one to raise her own children.
Romney has been traveling with her husband, Mitt, on the campaign trail talking to million’s of American about their lives, concerns, families, jobless husbands and financial troubles.

If she is listening, she is in touch.

Are women only in-touch with each other if they have walked in the same shoes now?

I would like to think the future will be bright for women in America. I hope they will have the ability to choose free of other women’s criticisms.

My hope for all women is they can reach a sense of fulfillment and do whatever they find rewarding. My hope is we all celebrate (each) other’s successes.

Rosen eventually made an apology, saying, “Let’s put the faux war against stay-at-home moms to rest once and for all. As a mom, I know 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,” Rosen said. “I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended.”

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4 Comments

  1. Jules April 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Great piece! 

  2. Tina April 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Very interesting points, not considered often enough.

  3. John April 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Transcript editors please format your articles before you put them online. I am pretty sure the author didn’t intend for this to look like a poem. 

  4. Jbmumofone May 3, 2012 at 5:25 am

    I am a relatively new Mum and work just two days a week out of financial necessity.  They are probably the two least tiring days of my week.  Being a stay at home Mum is probably one of the hardest, and most relentless, jobs there is.  (Should also say very rewarding too though.)

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