My day started bright and early with a call that ABC radio wanted to interview me on my stance on political strategist Hilary Rosen’s recent comment that Ann Romney, wife of white house hopeful Mitt, had no business advising her husband on women and the economy, given that she had “never worked a day in her life.”
My first reaction was to laugh at the request. Me? A political pundit? Snort.
But the more I thought about it, I realized this had nothing to do with politics. This was about motherhood, plain and simple. People always say that politics and religion are the two things you never want to a discuss at a dinner party, because the topics are so polarizing and personal. Seems there should be a third topic on that list: motherhood.
Rosen broke this Cardinal Rule of motherhood and now is paying the price in the form of public backlash. I must say that her comments bothered me too, as a card carrying member of the Mommy Club.
Whether or not I agree that Mrs. Romney’s lack of paid work experience precludes her from having a perspective on the economy, I whole-heartedly disagree with the underlying implication behind Rosen’s comments: that stay-at-home-mothering isn’t real work. Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever had, and I know I’m not alone.
Romney raised five kids, but because she didn’t get paid, she is accused of having never worked. Something tells me that with that many sons, Romney worked her ass off. She was a janitor. She was a nurse. She was a therapist, clown, baker and a chauffeur. The list could go on all day. I’m sure she wiped more butts at home than she would ever have had to kiss in the workplace. I also suspect that she has at least once in her life had to cut gum out of her own hair or fish a toy out of a dirty toilet. And, she did it for free. Because it was all part of the job.
I don’t know Ann Romney personally, and I know nothing about her parenting. Same goes for Hilary Rosen. What I do know is that pitting stay-at-home-mothers against working moms gains us nothing, and it’s much larger than this most recent spat. So here’s an idea: let’s support one another’s decisions. As mothers everywhere know, there are few decisions as hard as the one we make about whether or not to go back to work. A mother is a mother, regardless of her employment status, and the last thing you need is another mom judging your decisions. Do what works best for you. Work or don’t work, breastfeed or don’t breastfeed, circumcise or don’t circumcise, co-sleep or don’t co-sleep. Make the decisions that are best for you, and leave it to the other moms to do the same.
After all, we’ve all been on the receiving end of explosive diarrhea at one time or another. Shouldn’t that bond rather than divide us?