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Mommy Wars 2012: The Choices Women Make

April 13, 2012
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Hillary Rosen made a statement this week that has fired up the mommy wars all over again. Rosen said that Ann Romney could not understand the struggles of women in the sluggish workforce because she “never worked a day in her life” as a stay-at-home mother.

Before this week I’d never heard of Hillary Rosen and I am sure most of you hadn’t either. Rosen was trying to criticize Mitt Romney for being out of touch with women by criticizing his wife’s choice to stay at home and raise their five children.

Women and men on both sides of the aisle quickly proclaimed a collective:

“Oh, no she didn’t”

Rosen apologized the next day and tried to get everyone back on track of criticizing Mitt Romney but the damage was done. Even in her half assed apology she still doesn’t get it, and neither do many women pundits.

As I was driving my daughter to school today I was listening to two women (sorry, I came in late to the program and did not catch their names) try to explain to the audience what Hillary Rosen really meant.

According to these two women on MSNBC radio she meant that Ann Romney had made a choice to stay home with her kids and raise them because her husband Mitt made a boat load of money and so earning an income wasn’t something she had to consider when making that choice. They went on to complain that they didn’t have the luxury of that choice, they had to work to support their family and thus could not stay at home to raise their children.

BULLSHIT!

Yes, I call bullshit on that assessment.

We all have the opportunity and the luxury to make amazing choices about how we live and how we raise our children. The choices might be difficult but we mothers always have choices. When we stop believing we have choices, which these two women apparently have, we become slaves.

When I first started this blog five years or so ago I had just started working for a local tech company. It was a great job, I made a fair wage, my boss was accommodating to my single parenthood and I was well regarded in the small company. After working there for 6 moths I was offered a raise with the condition that I spend more time in the office. Before that I had been allowed to work from home occasionally. The job was great and most mothers would have been tickled to work for such a fair  and accommodating company.

We all have choices

I didn’t take the raise and ended up quitting because even though my boss only wanted me to be in the office an hour extra each day (half hour on each end of the day) it meant I couldn’t be there before my kids went to school and I wouldn’t be there when they got home. Also, summer was coming up and I couldn’t put my son in charge of his sister for 3 months which would have meant nothing but TV watching all day long.

I had no idea how I was going to make ends meet but I knew I couldn’t be away from kids at that time in their lives.

It was a struggle, we did without a lot and we gave up a lot of what we had. We stopped eating out, we gave up after school lessons of any kind and vacations were out. Our clothes wore out long before we bought new ones.

It wasn’t easy but I knew it was the right CHOICE to make because I wanted to be there for my kids.

So far I am very happy with my choice to stay home, start my own business (though I earn considerably less than when I worked outside the home), and raise my kids. It was hard but it was worth it. My son graduated high school Cum Laude last year and is now on track to finish his engineering degree in three years. I can’t take the credit for his achievements, but I do believe that being home helped to keep him on track and stay out of trouble.

Knowing that I always had a choice made a difference

I’ve said it before, but we as Americans have really become a nation of pussies. We have more choices, options, luxuries and opportunities than any other country on this planet and yet we whine about whether or not we have to choose to work or raise the kids.

Many women do both and they love it. Many women, on the other hand, choose to do neither and our country supports that choice, even helps them achieve it. The women who think they have no choice but to work outside the home are the ones who are afraid to live with one car, take fewer vacations and wear clothing from TJ Maxx.

I’m not suggesting that mothers in the US can have it all, I don’t think that is possible, but we have so many more choices and FREEDOMS, than any other country. Of course with those freedoms and choices comes responsibility and possible failure.

I think it’s worth it.

I’m sorry Hillary Rosen and these other women feel as if they don’t have choices, life must be incredibly difficult for them.

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  • Reply Linda Medrano April 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Frankly, it is a choice.  I could have chosen to live on Welfare and get Food Stamps and hope things would work out okay.  I knew women who did exactly that.  It was my choice to go to work and support my children because we wouldn’t have had a place to live or food if I had not.  Divorced with two kids at 24 is no walk in the park.  I guess the point is, we all do what we can and what is “right” for us.

  • Reply cmk April 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves because I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for my entire married life.  I most definitely ‘worked’ more hours than ANY ‘working’ mom out there.  My sewing machine was constantly being used, my stove/oven was overworked as I made EVERY meal at home and baked any treats that we had, and I did all of my own laundry and cleaning.  As a family, we ate out rarely, had only one vehicle, didn’t have snowmobiles/four wheelers/other toys, a second home, or a new house every few years.  And on top of all of this, I volunteered many hours a week at the schools where my daughters attended.  I would do the same all over again because I feel I did the best for my family and was there for my girls whenever I was needed.  Anyone who asks–like I have been several times–“Do you work or do you stay at home?” needs to spend a couple of weeks doing what I did when my girls were home and THEN they can ask that question again.  Provided they make it through the couple of weeks, that is.

    We now are empty nesters and I am able to enjoy all of the ‘down time’ I want.  This is my reward for putting in my time.  😉

  • Reply meleahrebeccah April 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    why can’t we all just get along?

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