Well, it happened again. I watched the news.
This morning I had the great joy of hearing that some Democratic strategist has criticized Ann Romney for being a stay at home mom. The strategist, Hilary Rosen, said that Ann could be of no use on economic issues because she had “never worked a day in her life.”
Now Rosen is trying to backtrack. Apparently thousands of stay at home moms have tracked her down and left their children with her.
No, seriously, Rosen is backtracking because even the president stepped up to defend Ann Romney by saying that being a “housewife” (my word, not his) is a tough job. Now Rosen is saying that she only meant that Ann Romney was a wealthy woman who had nannies and such and so never had to deal with the real economic and social concerns of the typical American woman.
Too little, too late, bitch.
The truth is, she’s trying to cover her own ass now because she is getting such a backlash, even from the president of the United States. I feel quite sure, as a working woman herself, Rosen absolutely believed what she said. She thinks that because a stay at home moms like myself don’t contribute to the economy, we don’t know anything about it.
This is a very sensitive subject to me. With the modern economy, it’s very hard for a lot of families to make it on just one income. I realize that. We were in that situation a long time ago–before we had kids. Once I found out I was pregnant, I decided that being the primary caretaker for my own children was more important to me than maintaining our lifestyle. We downgraded our vehicle and tightened our belts (which were already pretty tight.) I haven’t been back to work since. I always thought that when the kids were older I might go back to work, but then the reality of Evelyn’s life came up, and then I started caring full-time for my sister, and there you go.
But this isn’t about the fact that I have to stay home now. It’s about the fact that I wanted to stay home to raise my kids.
I think lots of people actually believe stay at home moms are less than their working counterparts. They think we don’t have a real life, and that we don’t contribute to society. I wonder how many people still have the notion of the old-fashioned “housewife?” Since I love lists so much, allow me to demystify the life of the modern stay at home mom in list form.
- I am the money manager in this house. I have a great grip on the economy, although I apparently don’t contribute to it. I buy the groceries, make the payments, and balance the checkbook. Even though my husband earned the money, we both still take care of it. (See the next point.)
- My husband and I don’t have “our own” money. If we couldn’t trust each other with money, then we had no business getting married.
- I have never had to worry about what my kids were being exposed to and who was taking care of them. I’ve never paid for child care. Here’s another little myth imploded for all you working folks out there: my kids are not so attached to me that they can’t be separated from me. They have never slept with me. My son had zero anxiety about going to school, because I raised him with self-confidence. He has never been afraid to spend the night with a friend. So there.
- My husband and I are partners. I don’t serve him because he brings home the paychecks. He has always been an active parent–he changes diapers and bathes and feeds. Yes, I do most of the housework. Know why? Because I want it done a certain way, and the best way to ensure that is to do it myself. Also, I do happen to think that because I’m the one who is here all day, it’s my fair share to do it. It doesn’t hurt me.
- I don’t get to sit and watch soap operas all day. In fact, I don’t sit much at all during the day. I do most of my sitting at night, after everyone is in bed. I would imagine that’s when “working” moms get to sit down, too.
- I do get stressed, and sometimes I feel isolated, but I’m not sure going to work every day would alleviate either of those problems. I would go out on a limb and say that it might even make them worse.
I could rant all day long about this, but I won’t (you’re welcome.) The short version is this: forget about June Cleaver, and forget about the housewife laying on the couch, watching “General Hospital” and eating bonbons. Also, I’m not going to make rude generalizations about working mothers, although I certainly could.
I have a great job. I get to care for the people who mean the most to me. Maybe I don’t get to dress up every day and go out and “contribute” to the world. Instead, I contribute to my family.
I think that’s okay, don’t you?