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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Katie Tully Curtis

America is great because people like the Romney's can have a vision of building a business and a family, and then go out and do it. To bash them for having done so is totally due to envy. Do we want to be Denmark or Russia, where the government taxes everyone so much (50-60%) that we are left with no choices just so we don't have to envy someone who has more? Really, people aren't fired up about this issue because they think Ann is out of touch. They are fired up because she has money.

cecil... cecilmansmom

and the Obama's has more money than the Romneys but hey let's ignore that little fact. 

May-20 May-20

This has nothing to do with wealth. This has everything to do with being the wife of the (potential) Republican candidate for president. The Democrats did the exact same thing to Sarah Palin in 2008 in reverse. She was lambasted for being a working mom. I thought that the women's movement was about CHOICE. Well, now it seems that if Republican women don't make the correct choice, Democrats pounce and rip them to shreds. The funny thing is this -- the correct choice changes whenever the Democrats say so. Palin was wrong to be a working mom with five children. Romney is wrong to be a stay-at-home mom with five children. Okay, then, what's the right answer? Oh, I know -- become a Democrat. No thanks; I'd rather have the choice to be a Republican and raise my children how I (yes, I) see fit.

wireh... wirehangers

Hilary Rosen's irresponsible and insensitive comment has definitely caused a distraction from the real issue.The issue is Mitt Romney going to his wife as a way to relate to the average woman.Ms.Rosen probably could have made some very good(but still debatable)points as to Ann Romney not being an "average"woman just like Mitt not being an "average"man if she left out the "work" part.All moms work.Once you choose to be a mom you are choosing to work wether it's in the home or not.I've done both and they are both very difficult and not something to be taken lightly.I was a SAHM for 15 years and was treated with so much disrespect not by single parents but by married couples that both worked outside of the home and had loads of material things that I chose not to have so that I could stay at home and not pay for daycare.I was told that" everyday is a vacation for you" and was constantly asked  "so have you found a real job yet?".I know there are also women that work outside the home,have their kids in daycare and are ridiculed for that too.I have respect for all caring people raising children and it's sad that this should even be debated.I would love to see more SAH dads.Whatever works for your family.

lolly... lolly4321

My problem with this whole thing is firstly it is a distraction and secondly most of us working moms are not working because we choose too but because we have to. I wish my husband was wealthy and I could stay home and raise my children but that is a privilege I don't have so I go to work like many many other women who would rather be home with their children but we are not lawyers, CEO's,and doctors just average working moms.


 

ysmeine ysmeine

As a single parent who works nights so I don't have to work second and can see my kids every day. As a single mother that after my divorce knew poverty so deeply that there were nights when all I had was rice and water to feed my kids, where the four of us slept in a car behind my work because I couldn't get approved for an apartment. I have seen the darkest side of poverty and thankfully they are behind me. Yet, to me Mitt and Ann Romney are no different than any other politician and wife.


I have met with politicians that "wanted to understand the working class" or "supported women's issues" but they don't get it. What working class and single parents need is affordable and safe child care and access to an education. These are the things that change lives and open doors.


That said, I'm sure Ann works very hard taking care of her family and supporting her husband.

nonmember avatar Lucy

Reading the Washington Post article linked in the above article has provided some insights not yet mentioned in this comment section, as has looking up some info also available on the web. The Romneys' youngest child was born in 1981. She has not had the opportunity to change a diaper in a long time. That child was about 17 when she was diagnosed with MS. I don't undersand why some of the commentors seemed to think she was a stay-at-home mom with MS; somehow that is not accurate. She travels freely now and jokes about having a "horse in every port.." The horse article is pretty interesting; maybe some of the commentors would like to read it and see if it changes any opinions? (BTW the horse in the article was beautiful. Do you have time to train on a horse like that?)

Ray Ben David

Has anyone given any thought to the Romney's rise to wealth? Mitt is a self made millionaire. Do you think they always had money? Come on people. WAKE UP! They struggled just like they rest of us at one time and you can be assured Ann faced some of the same hardships as the rest of you.

Cassondra Monique

The article and comment proves that most women have trouble relating to each other. I don't think the Romneys know a damn thing about what the AVERAGE American deals with in everyday life because they don't live the same way. I also think the comment from her makes her come off as an jerk because it has nothing to do with the argument at hand. II don't think she meant it the way it was taken either. The commenters saying that none of the first ladies or potential first ladies can know what it's like for the rest of us are right but those women aren't trying to tell us they do either.

gryff... gryffindormommy

Darlene.   Good for you.  But if you believe for even ONE MINUTE that your success had everything to do with virtue and hard work, and not also a tremendous amount of luck, you are simply so out of touch with reality, its shocking.


I have done it all.  I've been a working mom, I've been a stay at home mom (my favorite job by far) and now I am a single working mom because my husband decided after 15 years that being a grownup was overrated, and left me and the kids so he could go back to the college life with a college girlfriend.  


I've lived within my means this entire time, thankfully, so I am able to support my two kids alone now.  But its hard.   I barely make it.   And we have no cable, no smart phone, no fancy gadgets like ipads.   But we're happy and we're together.  


Using words like "moral compass" to describe your OWN choices are nothing short of judgments against others who are fighting like hell to do the best for their kids.  You should feel ashamed.



As far as those who think no other first lady probably has a sense of what its like to raise an "average family" - um - our current first lady didn't even have a bedroom growing up.  She and her brother slept in the living room.... their family lived in a one bedroom apartment - they separated the living room with a sheet as a makeshift wall for privacy.  I would say Mrs.Obama DEFINITELY understands what it is like. 

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