Working with my mother has given me the opportunity to see what she has dealt with, not only in the work environment with deadlines and emergencies every other day, but also some understanding of the pressure she was under when my brother and I were children.
My mother was a single mother with an eight year old and a five year old when she took her current job. Of course my understanding is tenuous at best, given my lack of children, but now I get why she sometimes ran late when picking us up from our after school program and why she couldn’t be at every game and why she went away some weekends only to turn around and go away again. I get it because I’m doing similar work with a similar schedule. But I will tell you what I told her; I don’t know how she did it because the mere though of doing work/travel/fundraisers and then going home to children who need my attention makes me want to weep and then take a nice long nap.
My mother did what she did because she didn’t have a choice. In order to provide for her children she had to work. Such is the case for most women; in order to keep their children clothed and fed they also need to have a job. Whether or not they want to stay home is irrelevant because staying at home doesn’t pay the bills. It’s an unfortunate circumstance for so many, but it is also the reality.
That was the point that Hilary Rosen attempted to make on Wednesday evening: That Ann Romney, wife of Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was able to stay home and raise her five boys because her family (her husband is a multi-millionaire) could afford to give her that choice. Unfortunately for Hilary Rosen, the words she chose to use were not the best. When saying “Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life” therefore she couldn’t possibly advise her husband on women and the economy, she meant to say that so many mothers have to worry about paying their bills, sending their children to school, putting food on the table and they don’t get that luxury.
What Rosen’s comments turned into was something I was embarrassed to watch unfold via various social media sites. Something about what happened yesterday was worse than the usual Mommy Wars that I’ve bared witness to over the years. It was unsettling and cringe worthy.
Perhaps my wincing was because I was raised by a single mother who didn’t have what Ann Romney has? Maybe I knew what Hilary Rosen was trying to say? Or maybe, it was the ensuing tossing of people under the bus? Then again, that’s what happens in an already tumultuous campaign.
What occurred between Ann Romney and Hilary Rosen put women against women, which saddens me no matter the circumstances. It was also an utter deflection of the real issues and problems that all Americans are faced with. Including a jobs and economic crisis that doesn’t give women the opportunities and choices they deserve, and a congress hell-bent on cutting services to the most vulnerable communities including – but not limited to – disadvantaged women.
My hope is that both sides realize that women should be a priority. We need to be listened to and not thought of just as a voting block, but as group of people with different lots in life who want to do the best we can for ourselves and our families.
What are your thoughts on this debate?
Some great perspectives on the Romney/Rosen debacle:
Heather Barmore writes about the hodgepodge of her life at No Pasa Nada and about politics at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue. She started her personal blog as an early twenty-something with no idea of what she wanted to do in life. She is now a late twenty-something with the same problem! (Who knew?!) She started Poliogue because she loves politics more than anyone you’ve ever met and wanted to share that love (or obsession) with anyone and everyone. She now lives in her hometown of Albany, NY where she works in politics while writing (or as she says, ‘creatively whining’) on the side. You can read more from Heather on her blog, No Pasa Nada.