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Why Hilary Rosen Should Not Have Apologized to Ann Romney
The recent battle between Ann Romney and Hilary Rosen has re-opened the ever present wound between stay-at-home moms and working moms. And while moms need to stop warring in general, Hilary Rosen’s point is a valid one. At the end of the day, a mother’s decision to stay at home is usually less about choice and more about economics. Truth is, most moms don’t have the financial option to be stay at home moms, no matter how much they would love to do so.
The ability to choose mothering as your primary vocation is usually a financial decision. That is, your mate has the financial means to carry the family without your financial input—a luxury many women just don’t have. Ann Romney did.
Yes, mothering is hard work. But being able to focus on just that one job (as challenging as it may be) is a privilege not afforded to most mothers in America.
Most mothers have to juggle work and parenting. Juggle financial decisions and work plans and kid schedules. Ann Romney didn’t. She had the luxury of focusing purely on her mothering role, and that is about privilege, whether you like it or not. And I’m just not sure the wives of extremely affluent men can really speak to the issues of working mothers.
I’ll admit, I’m jealous. I would have loved to be in Ann Romney’s shoes, having the privilege to stay at home and focus only on the important work of child rearing. My best solution, particularly as a single mom, is being self-employed—which means I work a lot of hours when my children are at school or sleeping at night. Even though I am technically at home, I spend many hours chained to my computer working (my kids often complain) and I have to juggle my work responsibilities with my mothering work.
And that is the reality of most mothers in America, delicately trying to craft some balance between financial responsibilities and parenting responsibilities. Trying to find that elusive “work/life balance” somebody fooled us into believing we could achieve. Trying to find flextime work schedules, self- employment, part-time work—something, anything to give us more time with our children.
At the end of the day, Hilary Rosen should not have apologized for her comments that were taken out of context. Ann Romney does not know the real struggles of working moms. She is a mother of privilege. I’m sure a very good mother, but a mother of privilege. And these conversations should focus on giving ALL mothers the tools so that they truly choose mothering as their primary vocation too—wealthy husband or not.
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