Most inflammatory was when she said, “Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.” I was more concerned later on when she was trying to explain herself and said what she meant was that Ann Romney has never had to worry about how to feed her kids or send them to school. A conclusion could be drawn that Stay-At-Home-Moms (please never call me that) walk around with our heads in the clouds from pedicures to playdates to book clubs where we really just drink Pinot all afternoon. Any coupon-clipping or bargain hunting we do is mainly for sport since our husbands keep our bank accounts full. It’s an absurd conclusion, but there is a certain class of career women who really believe that.
It’s horseshit. I have no idea how Ann Romney has filled her days the last thirty years. With their wealth she probably did raise her children in comfort, but we all know Ann Romney is the exception and that Rosen’s comments were a dig at stay-at-home-moms in general. If I wanted to be really catty I would point out that Ann Romney has never had to balance work and family, but she has had to balance family and Multiple Sclerosis (oh, look what I did there). Regardless, Rosen has offered an apology, so that part can be done now.
Ann Romney’s time management and Hilary Rosen’s unveiled bitchery aren’t what this is really about. This is about the mompetition that started around the time Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat in the air. (What did that even mean?) Many “working” moms resent and belittle stay-at-home-moms (the hyphens alone repulse me) based on the above stereotype, compounded by jealousy and guilt. Stay-at-home-moms enjoy playing the martyr in a different regard.
“I’d love to get out of the house LOLOL.”
“Take your time. I’m just happy to be out of the house.” (In a long line at the grocery store.)
I’ve said both of those and apologize on the basis of tired comedy alone.
“Zander only had one cold this winter. It seems like Raven-Moondance always has a runny nose. Probably brings it home from that petri-dish of a daycare.” (stupid names know no demographic)
We’re assholes too. Mothers in our society treat each other like shit because women in our society treat each other like shit. Girl. Effing. Power.
There are pros and cons to remaining in the workforce vs. staying home. There is also a vast array of circumstances that play into each woman’s decision. Yeah, money is a biggie, but there’s other stuff.
To be honest, I originally stayed home because the best options I would have had where we lived at the time wouldn’t have paid much more than good childcare would cost. We had to live in a pretty small town because of my husband’s job. Even if I had made better choices in my formative years, bank teller still would have been my best option. I’m not super-great with the public; you might have picked up on that.
Speaking of banks, my husband didn’t work banker’s hours back then. He worked long and unpredictable shifts in a law enforcement job. He didn’t travel for that job, but our kids would still go days at a time without seeing him. The stability I could provide was more valuable than a paycheck.
I assumed I would go back to work when the kids started school, but when Lord of the Flies developed autism that didn’t make sense for us. I’m very grateful to not have to worry about the minute to minute of raising a special needs child while punching a clock.
One of the most valuable things I’ve realized since Lord of the Flies’ diagnosis is that everyone loves their kids and every family has different concerns, resources and goals. Those are the things that go into decision-making and, by and large, the heads of each household know best. Mind your own business.
I do feel inferior about being a stay-at-home-mom because I really suck at it. I hate playdates, the PTA and wait for it… I hate reading to my children. I hate children’s literature; I even hated it when I was a child. Reading aloud makes me feel like a jackass, while declaring a pajama day to watch a Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon feels natural. THAT, you should judge me for. I also suck at explaining things in an age-appropriate manner… you’ll see. I can’t justify full-time mommydom, but I’d still like to avoid running this household with a shift job, so I’m currently pursuing a few avenues to reach my dream of bringing in a meaningful income doing something I don’t absolutely hate (click the ads). Which brings us to the kicker.
Thanks to the Divine bounty of technology, which is on the cusp of obliterating the need for many to physically go to work, most of our daughters might be work-at-home moms. My hope is that this petty culture war is a complete waste of time.
I want my daughter to be free to build the family she wants, when she wants, with whom she wants and to provide for them how she wants without feeling like she has to explain herself to anyone who isn’t directly impacted. I think that’s what feminists should want… from Susan B. Anthony to Gloria Steinem. From Patricia Heaton to Naomi Wolfe.
This is our chance to set an example for our daughters, so they might not torment themselves and each other the way we have for decades.
Obviously, drunken book club and Vegas girls’ weekends should continue. That’s birthright shit.