Friday, April 13, 2012

Answering back.

WOW! I'm truly grateful for your thoughtful responses on my last post regarding Hilary Rosen's remarks about Ann Romney. I was overwhelmed by how many people it reached; I certainly didn't expect it to proliferate in that way. I usually feel lucky to have a couple hundred page views and a handful of comments on any given post!

Anyway, I wanted to answer back to those of you who took issue with my thoughts. Some of you commented that Hilary Rosen's criticism was not directed at all stay-at-home mothers, just Ann Romney (and truthfully, Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney). I agree that you are probably right. Rosen implied that since the Romneys are financially well-off, they are out of touch with those of us affected by the economy. Well, if that's the angle she was going for, she certainly failed in her attempt to discredit the Romneys and instead, insulted an large chunk of the population. I wasn't the only SAHM out there with ruffled feathers yesterday. Poor choice of words, indeed.

I think most people understand what she was trying to communicate, but she actually said a lot more. Her words ricocheted off Ann Romney but pierced many other hearts in the process. It seemed to me (and plenty of others) that Rosen intended (perhaps ignorantly) to apply her assumptions about Ann across the board: stay-at-home mothers must come from situations of financial affluence, otherwise we'd be out holding "real jobs" to supplement our husbands' income. In her mind, staying at home is a luxury we can "afford," whether due to our husbands' fortunate income situations or the wealth of our parents or a combination of both. It's a rather disheartening mindset that, I'm sad to see, prevails among self-proclaimed feminists even today.

What she doesn't realize is stay-at-home parents don't see their lifestyle as one of luxury and glamor. For one thing, I willingly sacrifice a second income, which is a hard pill to swallow in the two-income world we live in. Not to toot my own horn, but I'd be seen as a valuable asset by any employer: college-educated, smart, wide variety of applicable skills. I choose instead to stay home, but in doing so, I give up probably $40,000 a year. Considering the current economic state of things, it's quite a blow. One that I hope and believe will be worth it.

And who says that just because someone comes from an affluent heritage that they themselves are living the high life? Dill and I are personally connected to very wealth family members -- that doesn't mean they pay our mortgage, put food on our table and run to our rescue whenever we fall into a pit of financial folly. We built this city on rock and roll -- I mean, whoops ... we built our own family from the ground up! We do it by ourselves and we're proud of that. I hope that someday, when my husband is the CEO of some Fortune 500 company (I can dream, can't I?) that people won't assume I'm incapable of understanding economic hardship and that I must hate working women.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: as women, as men, as human beings, we do each other no favors by putting down those who choose differently than we do. Forget about "out-of-touch" politicians -- WE are effectively erasing the efforts of our foremothers and forefathers who laboriously fought for our right to vote, to earn equal wages and to work in whatever capacity we choose, even as an unpaid volunteer if that's what we want to do.

The assumptions have to STOP. Apparently, the whole "ass out of u and me" trick has done little to deter us from engaging in such harmful behavior. We'd do well to cease finding fault in others and instead, capitalize on the good they do.

I loved this quote from Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. A few weeks ago at Conference, he said the following:  

"Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed."

We're not in a race. Something I have to tell my 4-year-old every day. I think she's starting to get it. Why aren't we?


  1. Amen, sista! You say it a lot better than I ever could!

  2. Thank you for your fairness in response to a touchy subject. You nailed it. I appreciate your excellent writing abilities and your desire to share with others your honest feelings. ~Love Mom~

  3. Love your last two posts. I personally would live in a 2 bedroom apartment, eat rice and beans, and take the bus before I would work out of the home and leave my children to be raised by someone else. Harsh words? Fine, but that's how important I feel staying home with my children is. Kids need mothering, not money. And there is far too little of that going on these days. And we are seeing the fallout. You obviously weren't obviously the only one with your feathers ruffled, Jenna. ;-)

  4. Hallelujah! :) I'm right with you on the trying to not toot my own horn thing, but seriously, as an RN, if I worked full time I could be pulling in probably 1 1/2 times my husband's current salary... We both know that, but we also both know that for our family, it is important for me to stay home. There's nowhere I would rather be and we're willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Not because it's easy, but because it's worth it!

  5. Ditto to what Julie said! :-D you are awesome!

  6. One day you'll have to tell me how you make yourself CALM THE FREAK DOWN before you write. Or maybe you are more eloquent and concise when you're ticked. I get out of control!
    Loved this piece like trees love bark.
    Rock it, sister.

  7. Well spoken (and written) Jenna!

  8. You are so gifted with writing. I hope it takes you far and touches a lot of people.

  9. Great stuff. I'm looking forward to continuing to read your blog! :)

  10. You got it sister! I remember when Hillary Clinton made a similar, cruel remark about stay-at-home-moms. I have never liked her and will never like her after that one. She did herself in.

    I personally think, like you, that we need to support and uplift each other. Some women work, some women stay home, some do a little bit of both... folks gotta get over it!


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