The 'Mommy War' Debate Is About Wealth Not Work

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ann romneyHow did the whole Ann Romney/Hilary Rosen mommy war turn into a so-called "working" moms vs. "stay-at-home" moms debate? I think it's partly Hillary's clumsy "never worked a day in her life" comment. Regardless, the conversation has been framed all wrong.

The real issue with Ann Romney relating to "real" American women on behalf of Mitt is her wealth, plain and simple. It's not about being a SAHM. She has not led a typical life. And the stresses she has faced as a wealthy mother of five boys are just the tip of the iceberg compared with the stresses most women face every day.

We could compare the life of a single mom who pulls a night shift at the hospital with the life of a married mom who spends her days shuttling her kids to and from ballet and soccer in a new minivan through manicured suburbs and we would still not come close to the differences between Ann and the rest of us.

Ann Romney isn't just well off. She's WEALTHY wealthy. Forget never having to worry about paying for health insurance, saving for her kids' college, having to choose between food or diapers. She's way beyond that. Wealthy enough to hire a Downton Abbey-sized crew of people to care for the $10 million house in New Hampshire, $895,000 townhouse in Belmont, and $12 million property in La Jolla (a tear-down to make room for a 11,000 square foot house -- good thing they got rid of the mansion in Deer Valley because that was really too many servants). Wealthy enough to hide the number of horses she owns from her husband. Wealthy enough to hire someone to keep track of the bills for her.

Now there's nothing wrong with being stinkin' rich. As Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof puts it, "If money is a curse, than may God smite me with it -- AND MAY I NEVER RECOVER!" But it does create a special challenge for relating to the pressures regular parents face.

Wealthy, privileged moms in America work hard, too. But not at the same stuff we do. And not with the same pressures.

Do you think the Ann Romney war is just a distraction from the real issues women face?

 

Image via BU Interactive News/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Darlene

Married women with children do not have to work when their husband is gainfully employed. They choose to work. And before I start getting slammed, let me reveal that we have seven children. Some of them are grown now. Our secret was /is quite simple. Don't live beyond your means. We decided that we did NOT need a new car every two years, a super huge house where everyone had their own bedroom, cell phones, cable tv or the latest hi-tech gadgets. We scrimped and saved and bought things along the way that needed to be replaced...like the car, a new stove, etc. We have no debt. Our mortgage is totally under our control. We have two kids in college at the moment. The best part of our decision was that I raised MY OWN children without wanting/needing to pay anyone else for it. And I'm damn proud of it.

Cindy Montgomery

To JB... Thank you!!  I tried and tried to figure out why exactly it suddenly seemed as though I had 10 times more housework after I stopped working outside the home... and you hit on the reason exactly!  My house stood empty for 10 hours a day.  Nothing was being messed up, no food was being cooked, no furniture was being sat on, etc.  It really does make a difference?  The way working moms feel at the end of Sunday, after a weekend where everyone was home?  That's how it is for a stay at home mom every single day. 

nonmember avatar Chii Sana

Shani,
I'm pretty sure that a rich Mum could have a servant take care of the 3am feeding for her. As a matter of fact, I bet a lot of them do.

nonmember avatar Anon

Oh, I get it - it's about hating the rich (who worked for their money) - er, I mean the Republican rich (since the Obamas sure aren't poor). Good idea to pit the classes against each other (nothing new there) because that will make it easier to sell the latest tax hike proposal. Tax hikes make moms lose their jobs, btw, which leads to more SAHMs, which is of course a luxury per Obama, so it all makes sense . . . um . . . .

Rachel Leigh Myrick

You're wrong again. It's not about SAHM or WEALTH it's about ENVY. I'm not that old, but back in my day, people worked hard and were proud of what they earned, whether it was $250K+ or $25K. Nowadays, we're too busy keeping track of what everyone else has that we can't be happy with what we've got. God help me if my kid grows up with that attitude.

nonmember avatar Dawn

@Darlene--your statement that working mothers are a choice made if the husband is gainfully employed. Tell me Darlene,would be able to be a SAHM in this economy? Or if your husband had to take a paycut to keep his job? I work becuase my family NEEDS me too. Do you really think that all women who work want to essentially work two jobs? The job that pays the bills and (@JB) the job of raising the family, doing the housework, bill paying, playtime etc, AFTER they have already put in a full day beginning before the children get up? Give me a break. Not every circumstance is the same and those who do not know, should not judge.

nonmember avatar michelle

I'm a working mom, and I feel exhausted at the end of every single day too...and my children aren't even babies anymore LOL. I only have a few hours in the evening to pick up the kids from aftercare (I get off at 5:30 and have be there before 6 pm), prepare dinner, do homework with kids, wash dishes, take kids to Karate, do laundry, iron clothes, pick kids up from Karate, pack lunch for the kids/husband/myself, pay bills...trust me, I'm pooped by 11:30. Then I have to wake up and do all again...until Fridayyyy.:) I can't speak as an expert about the struggles of a stay at home mom, because I've never been one. Do I feel like Ann Romney can speak on my struggles as working mother? NO.

And I don't mean to "poke the bear," but I bet many (not all) of the women who were outraged by Hilary's comments are among those who would say that stay at home WELFARE moms are lazy and don't do anything all day, and should go and get a "job." According to the outraged masses, they already have a "job," right? I think everyone knew what Hilary meant when she made her comment. I find that people are very sensitive about this subject...perhaps overly so. Like I said before, being a mother PERIOD is hard work.

nonmember avatar Darlene

Dawn..We've been married for 23 years. Our children range in age from 22 down to 5 years old. We made the decesion for me to stay home and raise these children because we would not compromise our moral compus when it came to raising our children. My husband only just finally hit on the right job 8 years ago. We are not college graduates, either. Therefore, there have been plenty of times in the past when he needed to take a second job -- and he did. The economy is what is has become because people just wanted more and more and yet, MORE. We never had that problem, envy or whatever you chose to call it. In addition, we never fell into the credit trap. If we couldn't afford it, we didn't buy it. Period. So I very much live in this time with children of all ages. We chose to maintain ourselves instead of over-extend ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with that.

nonmember avatar Layla

The Romneys have no clue about average Americans or average anyones that was her point I think I don't think she was saying oh this woman did absolultely nothing, she misspoke and is now being crucified for it. The vast majority of American women that are mothers work outside the home, we don't have elevators for our cars, what bothers me is her husband was stating she was who he looked to for advice on women-how can she have any idea what it is like to work 2-3 jobs, take care of your kids and then worry if you can pay the bills? That is what most American mothers are concerned about. And if she thinks she is the only mother that ever had health issues she is wrong on that point as well but most of us don't have her millions for the best health care money can buy. I am not a huge fan of the Presidents and probably will not even vote this Fall although I did vote for him last time but he and his wife did come from modest means and were not always wealthy, once they established their careers they were definitely upper middle class but not growing up and they were never in this class and still are not financially, I do think they have a little better idea of what reality looks like out here than the Romneys.

nonmember avatar Denise

Really,are any people reading the article? It's about the disconnect between the Very Wealthy and the folks. Seriously, do you understand how very, very rich the Romney's are? Hey, I'm happy for them, but you can in no way compare a middle class SAHM with Mrs. Romney. Middle class SAHMs worry about bills, affordable health care, paying the mortgage, what to do if the husband's laidoff, etc, etc.
Mrs. Romney may be a wonderful wife and mother and I'm sure dealing with her health is no picnic, but when you can hire people to do every task for you, then you have just eliminated yourself from the "regular people" . She needs to quit trying to relate - because she can't.

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