It seems a lot of people were up in arms over Rosen's comments today. Not exactly for what she said, but for the implicit implications that stay-at-home mom isn't a real job. I can understand the outrage, and I can understand Rosen's apology. However, I am still waiting for Ann Romney's apology for the implicit implications of her own statements.
When I was a kid, I never realized how nice it was to have a stay-at-home mom. You really don't appreciate it. When you become a teenager, you appreciate it even less. When other kids got home, they had the house all to themselves. When I got home, my mom was there. She'd be nagging me to do my homework or not watch TV or something else like that. You don't want someone over your shoulder at that age; it's annoying. One day I snapped that she could get a job. It wasn't an accusation of laziness; it was a statement of wanting teenage freedom. Of course, she talked about how much she loved raising us, how much she loved being there for us, but I don't think the words "choice" ever came from her mouth. Not long ago, somehow the subject came up again. The words "choice" weren't uttered because being a stay-at-home mom WASN'T a choice.
There's a dichotomy to Ann Romney's words: You either choose to work or you choose to be a stay-at-home mom. She was fortunate enough to have a choice. There has been a lot of talk about those who can't choose the stay-at-home option, but what about those who have the work option shut out on them? The implication of Romney's statements is that stay-at-home mom's choose that. Many of them don't. My mom didn't.
At some point when we were little, she wanted to get back to work. She tried to snag a few jobs. My mom has a Master's degree (it's either in business or economics, I'm sorry that I can't quite remember). She's pretty damn smart, but she couldn't find a job that would pay anywhere near what my dad's did. Add the cost of things like a nanny or daycare, the loss of child tax credits with the additional income, and so on, and it just didn't make fiscal sense. If I recall, the best job she said she could find would have ended up netting our family $0.80/hour after additional expenses of her having the job. That's not a choice; that's an insult to my mom's Master's degree.
She tried again later when we were mostly grown. She was turned down because she didn't have any recent experience. Again, this was not a choice.
Once we all left to go to college, she did manage to find some work--mostly with the 2000 and 2010 Census--but with no kids and my dad retired, this made sense economically again.
Ultimately, I hate the repeated lie that 25% of women "choose" to be stay-at-home moms (according to one news report). No, 25% of women ARE stay-at-home moms. You DO NOT know if that is a choice.
I don't want to hear about how hard Ann Romney worked. My mom worked hard. My dad worked hard. My mom worked hard as a stay-at-home mom. We didn't have a maid. The Romneys have four. You know who had to help my mom out at home? My dad! We didn't hire a company to mow our lawn--For Pete's sake, my dad mowed it! That's working. My mom was a hard-working stay-at-home mom. Someone with four maids trying to classify herself in the same "hard-working" category as my mom? I'm sorry, I'm just not standing for it. And I'm waiting Ann Romney to apologize to her.
Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM PT: Update: It appears my diary is on the recommended list. I think this is the first time I have had this honor. A big thank you to everyone.