That is the collective sound every woman with even a bit of sense made yesterday when Mommy Wars MDCXXIII commenced around Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney. PunditMom already did a good take on it here and Rosen did an “oh would you please get grip on reality, people” here. But the sad thing is that this election is now about to devolve into mommy blogger bedlam, and it’s going to be just as embarrassing to watch as an old man learning exactly what a transvaginal ultrasound is.
So should miffed mommies come the way of this blog, let me speak directly to my fellow stay-at-homers. Yes, YES, being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. As much as I wish it weren’t so, I do not catch up on my stories and eat bon bons all day. If I could, I sooo would. And not every mom staying home does so because they are “privileged.” Many make hard sacrifices in order to stay home. You know this, ladies. So let’s not try to make this into something it’s not.
But if we have to add “Mommy Wars” to the all the “war on women” back and forth, let’s remember that this story isn’t just about how out of touch Romney is or about how Ann Romney’s going to jump all over this in a desperate attempt to bring personality to her husband’s campaign.
The real story is that it IS a major problem that every mother does not have the ability to stay home for more than a handful of weeks when her children are born. And by stay home, I mean the very hard job of providing the constant, grueling care that goes into raising a child. Our government simply does not truly value the importance of giving women this time with their family, no matter what their economic situation is.
Stay-at-home moms – you know this. You know you WANT every woman to have the ability to stay at home with their kids during the day if that’s right for them, even if you know full well that you are nothing like Ann Romney and you have to scrimp, save, cook, clean, and go without so you can work in your home, caring for your children. So if for even a second, you are feeling compassionate for picked-on Ann Romney, think about whether her husband as president would do anything to make raising children easier for women. Does he support extended paid maternity leave? Does he support reduced health care costs for women and children? Does he support reducing taxes for middle class families or does he support major tax breaks for families like the Romneys, who don’t have to scrimp, save, cook, clean, and do without?
I am a loud and proud stay-at-home mom. I love, love, love it. But the “choice” I’ve made is so not a choice…the truth is that in this country, it is a privilege. But it shouldn’t be.
But I think to all of us moms – working moms, stay-at-home moms, and everything in between – no matter how much privilege we have or how how hard we scrimp and save to get by, it never really feels like a choice, does it? We just do what we have to do. Tedd has a job that sometimes keeps him from seeing O for days at a time and commuting from the ‘burbs. Some days I miss my old career so much I want to cry. But we’ve cobbled together a life that works and we just make our way through, grateful for all the good things we have and how much better off we are than so, so many. I can’t speak directly for my working mom friends, but I know they don’t wake up every morning and feel like they have a choice either, even if they could change their situation if they really wanted to. They just do what they have to do.
We’re all just waking up every morning, stumbling for the coffee and filling the sippy cups, taking one step at a time, with babies, children, partners, co-workers, and bosses in tow. The least we can do is send a friendly wave and a knowing smile to the other moms passing by with the same load.