Thursday, April 12, 2012
I'm a stay-at-home mom.
I'm sure you've all heard Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen's accusation that Ann Romney (wife of Mitt, one of my silver foxes) can't possibly understand the economy because as a stay-at-home mother, she's "never worked a day in her life."
Never mind the fact Ann raised five sons while battling breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. Because, you know, that must have been a real vacation.
I was actually shocked that someone who claims to be a human rights activist would denigrate another woman's choice so brazenly. Apparently, I'm not the only person who has taken issue with Rosen's accusations -- Even Michelle Obama tweeted a rebuttal of her own. They were clearly out of touch and indicative of her ignorance.
But the fact is, we stay-at-home moms understand the economy just as well, if not better than, our formally-employed counterparts. We have to. We're running microcosmic economies in our own homes.
I'll let you in on a secret: in our family, Dill brings home the bacon (I bring a meager amount in as well) and I manage it. You see, while Dill is hard at work in his office, he is NOT grocery shopping, paying for dental visits and doctor's appointments, writing checks to pay for preschool or paying bills. He slaves in front of a computer all day, but he doesn't sit at OUR computer with a stack of bills with OUR names on them, moving money around OUR bank accounts to make things balance out every two weeks. It's not his fault and I don't mean to put him down -- he's a wee bit preoccupied with other people's money problems during the day. So I actually do all those things. It works for us. And yes, he knows exactly where all our money goes and does have a say, lest ye think I've monopolized that duty entirely. We are a team! But the truth is, he doesn't take care of the kids. He doesn't know all their needs. He doesn't know when every little bill is due.
I bet you can guess who does, though.
You're right -- I don't bring in much income. It's a nice little sum every month, but it's certainly not enough to feed our family on my own. However, I do know a whole lot about saving money, something our government can't seem to figure out. It was I who decided we couldn't afford cable and cut it; I who contacted a new insurance company to lower our rates by $100 a month. I price match, I shop clearance racks, I make dinner every night so we don't have to spend loads of money eating out, I clean and maintain the house for free.
I'm sure many of you who choose to stay at home are nodding your heads, saying, "Yes, I do all those things too!" You get it. You live this life with me. You understand the vitality of stay-at-home motherhood.
Take a look at this gem from Rosen regarding the life experience of Mrs. Romney:
"[Ann Romney's] never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we -- why we worry about their future."
I can't speak for Ann, but let me assure you, Ms. Rosen: I absolutely have worried about how I would feed my children. It has gotten bad enough, I promise. That was when I took on some freelance writing work to supplement our income. That was when I started ad-matching at Wal-Mart. That was when I spent my nights crying silently into my pillow about how we would make ends meet, and maybe I should sell my precious wedding ring to come up with the funds.
Let me assure you, Ms. Rosen: I absolutely have worried -- and still worry -- about how I will send my kids to school. This is why my children will attend nearby public schools for their primary education -- we can't afford fancy private schools with their exorbitant tuition. This is why my children will be encouraged to do their very best in school, get good grades and earn scholarships so they can attend college -- college funds are not in the cards for our family.
And let me assure you, Ms. Rosen: I absolutely worry about my kids' future. This is the precise reason I stay at home with them! I don't want them to see the world through your admitted perspective, viewing stay-at-home mothers as ignorant, inferior losers. I don't want them to grow up thinking they can buy whatever they want and answer for it later, or turn to Uncle Sam when their bad choices lead to financial ruin. I don't want them to learn family values and morality from the television set or daycare workers or even well-meaning babysitters -- I want them to learn about life from me, their mother who loves them more than any other woman in the world. Whose hopes and dreams for them are unmatched by any other person.
Oh yes, I worry about their future. Have you seen our world lately? Vile pornography is accessible with the click of a mouse. It's all the rage to get stupidly drunk and hook up with random friends. It's not cool to be smart or self-sufficient. If you have a problem, you blame it on someone or something else. You smother it in drugs and alcohol.
Not to mention, our economy is in shambles, and we're rapidly piling up a debt that my children will have to deal with. As a stay-at-home mother, I am WELL-AWARE OF THIS.
We all are.
I don't intend to discredit working women. I truly admire you for what you do. I've been in your shoes, too. This world needs the positive influence of women in politics, in news, in sports, in the arts, in the medical field, in education, in management and in every other sector of life. We need you.
But we also need some people to just stay at home and raise the kids.
Let's quit criticizing one another and making unfair assumptions. This behavior is most UN-feminist! We are all entitled to choose our own paths and make our own differences in the world. And no matter what those endeavors may be, I believe the future will thank us all for doing our part and supporting one another.