The Stay-At-Home Mom: The Last Kind Of Woman You’re Allowed To Hate

It’s no secret that Hilary Rosen, and by extension the DNC, recently stirred up a bit of a debate about women with her recent comments that “Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.” And for once, it is the Republicans who are defending a woman’s right to choose and vigorously denouncing the tactics of the left in trying to say that Romney is somehow less of a woman because of her choice to stay at home and raise her children. This doesn’t excuse the right’s views on most other things female-oriented, of course, but it certainly did display a chink in the armor (and the ideology) of many “modern women” who consider themselves a proponent of any and all things choice. It is undeniable that in today’s culture, especially amongst the educated and the liberal, there is a certain stigma around deciding to be a full-time mom.

I am the first to admit that I am somewhat biased on this subject, as, though she works full-time now, my mother stayed at home for much of my childhood. My father, as it happens, has worked from home all my life, so I had something of a stay-at-home dad as well. I can only relate for a small portion of my childhood to what it is like to grow up with a mother who works, and I cannot help but feel grateful for the choice my mother made to be at home for me when I was young. But beyond that, my mother is the opposite of what you would consider a soccer mom. She never dressed in J Crew, she’s always had an affinity for blue jokes, she is well-educated and currently finishing a Master’s, she never bought a car with more than two doors, and she once brought me to a showing of her John Waters-esque drag pageant in which she was one of the few actual women. I have seen her eat a placenta made of Fruit Roll Ups on stage. She has been on local news protesting against LGBT discrimination, yelling at the camera crew. Frankly, she’s far more of a badass than I’ll ever be. And, most importantly, she certainly wouldn’t let anyone ever tell her she “had” to stay home if that isn’t what she wanted to do. But when I came around, followed by my sister, it was important for her to be there to make Halloween costumes by hand, to pick us up from the bus stop, to make us a dinner from scratch every night (and teach us her recipes), and to tuck us in after a story and a few shadow puppet plays on the wall. As a child, it was heaven itself, getting to spend so much time with my own personal Wonder Woman.

But it is no secret that she often felt the sting of judgment from friends, from family members, from former coworkers, from the media itself — the message was clear: There is an “easy way out,” and she was taking it. We have show after movie after show that casually demeans and dismisses the stay-at-home mom while exalting the “Superwoman” who can work 80 hours a week, go out with her friends for cocktails, and still manage to barely see her children and feel perpetually guilty about it. I remember watching the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It recently, and stopping halfway through, because I found it incredibly offensive. As a young, working woman I am supposed to emulate Sarah Jessica Parker’s spread-too-thin character, while joining her in snickering at the moms who have nothing but time, and don’t even know the meaning of “hard work.” I am supposed to see myself in that proverbial image of the woman in the slim skirt suit with the briefcase in one hand, the martini glass in the other, a baby cradled in her arm, and an exasperated look on her face. There is a message being conveyed relentlessly that if I am intelligent, fun, interesting, and worth talking to — I shouldn’t be wasting my time raising children. I should be in the working world, actually doing something with my life. And I can’t help but make the connection that, by that logic, no matter how many interesting, fun, challenging things my mother did while raising me — both in and outside the home — at the end of the day, she was still “just a mom,” and therefore worth inherently less than a woman who embodied all the same qualities, but embodied them at a 9-5 job.

My mother always insisted that she had children because she wanted them more than anything, and that she stayed at home to raise us because she believed “there was no one more qualified for the job.” Surely this mentality has gone out of fashion, but is there not still a grain of truth to it? You have children for all the magic and nuance they will bring to your life, would you not want to spend as much time as possible with them? And even if you do hire help, there is certainly a point at which you’ve stopped bringing in some extra hands in the afternoon and started passing off the raising of your children onto someone else. There are countless families who hire help for 50 or more hours a week, who barely see the children they have brought into this world. And yet, with the way we’ve constructed the hierarchy, it is doubtful that those women would catch nearly as much flack as the woman who eschewed nannies altogether and stayed to raise the child. There is just a system of worth now, and much of it is based on what you contribute financially and professionally, on how much power you accrue.

Women go to college more than men now, they get better grades, and in many cities, young women are outperforming men in the “getting hired initially” department — a crucial point on which much of this whole system hinges. It’s undeniable that we’re going further and further in a direction in which revealing you are a stay at home mother will elicit the same reaction (and the same judgment) as someone who worked all day would have received fifty years ago. There is an immediate assessment of character, and a wondering about why she couldn’t make it in the “real world.” And I’m sure that for many people meeting my mother, articulate and witty as she is, there was no amount of cunning she could have displayed to get out of the box that stay-at-home motherhood had put her in. It was just a defining characteristic about who she is, and until she joined the ranks of the working, it wouldn’t be escaped.

But perhaps the saddest part of this whole situation is that it’s most often other women who are quick to point the finger and make the snide comment about the full-time mom. Perhaps there is a fear that she will give the impression that all women are still like that, or still hold that as their ideal. Perhaps women feel the pressure to justify their choice to be in the professional world, because they are still, in many industries, not fully integrated. Perhaps there is a mote of jealousy, especially towards women who fully embrace their choice to stay at home and make no judgments about a woman who chooses to work. There are many women who feel the strain of having to balance a booming career with the pressures of motherhood, and the grass must surely look greener occasionally for women who aren’t juggling with the former. Whatever the reason, though, it’s incredibly disheartening to hear a woman — especially a woman as intelligent and accomplished as Rosen — make the assertion that a mother has never worked a day in her life. How insulting to motherhood itself, to the complexity and difficulty that comes with raising a child, and to the children who have nothing but fond, grateful memories of the time they got to spend with the parent who stayed home to care for them. There is no reason that our professional success as a gender should come at the expense of those who take the other route. There is nothing shameful or lazy about choosing to be a full-time mother, and it’s about time we started respecting a woman’s right to choose. TC mark

image – GS+

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Amber

    Chelsea Fagan writing an article that supports women—has Hell finally frozen over? 

    • Anonymous

      No no, I assure you, I still subvert my intense, crippling self-hatred into a farcical, almost comical wrath against my own sex. When words are not enough to find some kind of catharsis for my frustrations, I donate to Christian foundations that seek to hinder women’s rights, and tell little girls that I pass in the street that they are ugly, and that no man will ever love them.

      I just couldn’t miss an opportunity to rip on Sarah Jessica Parker, and this just seemed the most insidious way to go about it.

      • Jenny

        First time here and I dont actually know yet where I am because I can’t multitask and right now I’m reading the responses to your article and fearing that I am going to obsessively need to respond to everyone here. I’m glad you have fond memories of your stay at home mom (who sounds like she was a very good and fun mom.) I hope my children will say the same one day. Being at home with them is a blast. I may need to re-read your article, but it doesn’t sound like you are actually a mom yourself yet which makes your article all the cooler. You sound a lot like me but I’m not hating on SJP or girls I pass on the street. I save that for myself, and sometimes the moms at school pickup who park their minivans in the middle of the road and scream at their kids to “get in the car” and then back up into the cross walk for good measure before they take off. Although I do a mean Hand That Rocks the Cradle when it is called for. I bet your mom did too.

  • Anonymous

    I think its the fact that many women do not have the luxury to choose between motherhood or a job is the source of all the anger, and I agree with it.

    • http://christophermluna.com Christopher Michael Luna

      Right, and the notion that struggling as a stay-at-home mom in a family with an income of more than a hundred million is the kind of “struggling” that we like to put scare-quotes around because, hey, it’s not really the same kind of struggling that most people in America undergo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2311203 Kevin Pritchard

    Wait, you realize she NEVER worked. Like ever. 

    The whole point of that comment wasn’t to bash stay at home mom’s, it was to highlight the fact that she has no idea what it’s like to be a mom struggling to get by?

    Right? Or did i miss something?

    Ps stay at home Moms rule. 

  • April

    You’re distorting what Ms. Rosen said. She was referring to the economic privilege that the Romneys enjoy. Ann Romney never had to work because she and Mitt had safety nets. She was saying that Ms. Romney does not represent the majority of American mothers. She and Mitt are not in touch with the everyday realities of the middle class.
    Most people support stay-at-home moms. After all, Ms. Rosen is a mom, too. I don’t want people to vilify her or misunderstand her point. I think it’s a valid one.

  • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

    Kick-ass, Chelsea. Awesome article. 

  • Guest

    No one’s judging stay at home moms. But these days i think it’s such of a rare luxury to be one. 

  • http://twitter.com/Nadiaaa87 Nadia

    Yeah this article is misleading just like everything else the right is putting out. No one said stay at home moms don’t work hard. No one said being a stay at home mom is “shameful” or makes you “lazy”. Rosen’s comments were to address the fact that Romney cites his wife as reason he is an expert on women’s issues and their views on the economy. The fact that people have extrapolated from that some sort of “war on moms” is absolutely ridiculous, misleading, and frankly a diversion from more substantive issues. No one is arguing with anything you said, but the fact that you feel the need to say it because moms are under attack is the problem. 

    • Margaret Thatcher

      I disagree. Saying that poor women should get jobs so that they can know the “dignity of work” implies one of two things: Either that motherhood/taking care of one’s children isn’t work (LOL!) or that there is no “dignity” in it. Either one makes a fine opening salvo.

      • http://twitter.com/Nadiaaa87 Nadia

        Wait what? Who said poor women should get jobs so that they can know the “dignity of work”? For one, that’s the whole point of all this ridiculousness. Poor women aren’t even involved in this argument because they don’t have the luxury of being stay at home moms. And yes, being a stay at home mom, no matter how dignified it is (and I really do think it’s valuable work) is less work than the stress of working 2-3 jobs as the sole provider of a family. Basically you have two wealthy white women arguing some bullshit that is not even in touch with the majority of this country. It’s amazing what the American public lets derail them. 

        Sidenote though: Do you understand why some people might do the shifty-eye at  this stay at home mom argument? It’s because this is how it probably went down- you and your husband decide to start a family. You both have great jobs- now tell me this, who is more likely to have to stop working to take care of the kids? The fact that its the woman the vast majority of the time means that our society still reeks of patriarchy. No one is saying the work isn’t valuable or dignified. It’s just that it should be evenly spread out among genders and that there should be just as many “stay at home dads”.  Also- are we really trying to argue that society looks down on upon moms more than working women? Puhleaseee. Welcome to the world of being a woman where if you don’t want to have kids or get married, you are looked at like the biggest weirdo in the world. 

      • youngin

        I agree with you Nadia. And actually, it was Mitt Romney who said earlier this year that poor women who have kids and are on welfare should “know the dignity of work.”  And he supports having such a mom put the kid in subsidized child care instead of the mom staying home to raise the kid.  He undercuts his own umbrage over people hating on SAHMs. So according to Romney, it’s a respectable choice for a mother to stay home if a wealthy husband supports her, but not if the mom doesn’t fit into his idea of the conservative family structure. The recent outrage from the right seems more like all these guys finally have a chance to paint the kinds of women and those who support the progress of women as secretly harboring hatred for traditional roles for women — they get to paint progressive and working women as feminazis who are probably lesbians anyway (the horror!) who want to overthrow the traditional family structure where the man works and the mother stays home.  I think most women would love to have more options (and receive less judgment for whatever option is chosen) when it comes to choosing how much time they spend raising kids, if they have them, perhaps in some sort of shared and equal way with a partner and then have the option of going back to their jobs and careers. But that’s not the case due to the way the economy works for most women with issues around child care, pay equity, and health care. A GOP economy won’t give many women the choice to stay home, which makes the outrage over the choice Ann Romney was able to make so ridiculous!

      • Jenny

        I’m just happening upon this website and not sure my comments will be noticed but just in case, wanted to say “thank you” Margaret Thatcher from this stay at home mom.

      • Jenny

        This is in response to Nadias comment about poor stay at home moms who “dont have the luxury…and arent looked down upon.” This is my first time here and I’m having difficulty navigating how to use the “reply” button. It takes me a while to learn new things. I have difficulty multitasking and so….I decided that “yes’ the stress of working a job outside the home while trying to raise my children was too much. So I quit to stay home. Hubby didnt like that so he left. Not because he didnt make enough money to support us, because he didnt make enough money to support his lifestyle of “trips to Vegas, boys nights outs, etc. etc. if his childrens mother was going to stay home and work an unpaid job. Plus, how could he ever fullfill his dream of being the next Hemmingway (he likes to drink and thinks he can write) if wife wasnt out working to support said dreams of drinking and pretending to write? Anyway…I an currently poor and financial stress and divorce drama aside, enjoying the luxury of staying at home while I try to figure out how to get back to work without it “being like before”. I don’t think having the luxury to stay at home or not disqualifies someone from having opinions about all interpretations and tangents of the original Rosen quote. As to who should stay home with the kids….a personal decision I guess. In our case, I am personally better at it than the ex. And as for who gets looks down upon in this society and your disbelief that it is the stay at home mom and not the woman who chooses not to have kids….I guess everyone has their own experiences. This poor divorcee who is currently not working, by choice…trust me, looked down upon. Double trash here. It sounds like you are someone that is choosing not to have kids and feels like she is looked down upon. Most of my friends from high school did not go on to have kids. I have never looked down upon any of them. I dont judge other peoples decisions and choices unless they are stupid. Not having kids…not stupid. Judging someone when you don’t know the reasons for their decisions…stupid. Not saying you did that, I just like the way it sounded in the last sentence there.

  • iz

    As far as I’m aware the Rosen comment was supposed to be addressing the privilege paradigm of not grasping how hard it is to work outside the home when you have kids and you have no choice.  You have to feed your children and pay the bills. The spread-thin SJP you are talking about does have a choice, so I think this whole article is missing the point. 

  • DW

    Really glad my mom stayed home when I was younger. It always seemed like the kids that went to daycare were the same ones who were getting in trouble for one thing or another. 

    However, it does boggle my mind that more people (women especially, given that at the very least a pregnancy means taking time off of work, let alone the decision to end a career to be a “full-time mom”) are choosing to be a parent at all. The negative impacts to your personal budget, time flexibility, stress, etc. just seem to outweigh the potential benefits of parenthood. Obviously, we can’t all think like that, the world needs a new generation of talented, bright, and educated people stepping in, but I would expect the general US population growth to slow if my opinions are shared with my young professional peers.

    • Anonymous

      This is exactly why the US birth rate has been below the replacement rate for the last several years; the trend also extends to include most other industrialized countries. 

      For better or for worse, the non-industrialized countries (especially in Africa and the Middle East) are reproducing at 2 to 4x as much as nations like the US, Australia, and most of Western Europe. Interestingly, our population rates continue to soar due to influxes of immigrants. 

      Regardless, for many, the decision to have a child isn’t made based on economics, and certainly doesn’t make sense for those who want to live a life centered around “me, myself, and I”. As you said, one can only hope that enough intelligent, well-adjusted people will see the value in taking a tiny piece of the next generation into their own hands by molding one (or a few) members of it. 

  • Cassie

    I really love and agree with this.

  • Anonymous

    preach it.

  • Kayleigh

    So many warm, fuzzy feelings and head nods. Love it.

  • shannon

    i typically agree with you on most things, chelsea, but i’m going to have to disagree on this one.  i was raised by a stay at home mom for the first 8 years of my life and admire the hard work that went into raising respectful, well-rounded individuals. i’m very lucky to have had that experience and i know my mother feels the same way. however, i don’t think rosen was ever really trying to say that being a stay at home mom isn’t challenging or difficult or worthwhile or good or important to many women and their children. i think her point was that many, many women don’t have the privilege of making that choice. and for romney to compare her experience as a wealthy, privileged, stay at home mom to someone like a single mother, working two jobs just to keep food in her kids’ bellies, is really missing the mark. surely many mothers who have no choice but to work at a “real job” all day, every day would love to have the luxury of staying home with their children and going on field trips and making a lovely dinner every night. but for a huge portion of the world, that option isn’t even in the realm of possibilities. raising children is hard work, absolutely. but i don’t really think it’s fair to equate that work with what most mothers have to do- spend time away from their children because they HAVE to, work full-time, and STILL be parents and try to keep everything together. it’s not shameful to be a stay at home mom, by any means. but it’s just simply not the same as working outside the home and being a mother at the same time. 

    • Hailey

      Couldn’t have said it better. I think many people who make comments on this are missing the mark and are allowing themselves to get caught up in this made up controversy. A woman with the CHOICE to stay at home (and Mrs. Romney had the choice, no way around that) is just not the same as most American women who don’t have the choice and MUST work. For Mrs. Romney to say that she is the voice of women when it comes to issues with jobs and the economy is just laughable because she knows NOTHING about what it is to be a middle to lower class woman (even better a woman of color) who must work to give their children a chance.

    • Anonymous

      well said! i agree 100%.

    • me

      Its not always a luxury when your kids are not behaving or are sick ….while your working and are having a nice lunch break while the day care worker is cleaning up throw up or listening to whining. I try to teach my kids to be well mannered all the time but life happens. Siblings dont always get along…kids are cranky. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to be a SAHM …to just paint this positive sunny picture while your the one doing all the HARD work.I cook with my kids almost every day …to make a easy lovely dinner. It does take effort to teach or cook etc and to be a sahm …
      a sahm is maintaining and keeping things together all day…I just dont see why it cant be respected.

  • Oliver Miller

    • Oliver Miller

  • Saikia

    Fantastic article. Didn’t miss a beat =)

  • Sarah

    this article was particularly interesting to me because my mother, who has worked full-time since before my older sister or i were even born, was often the victim of judgement and harsh words from my friends’ parents, most of whom stayed at home. my mother has said that she was told she was “screwing up” her children by not being available to them at all hours of the day, that she was neglecting our needs. when, in fact, i think at the end of the day, if you’re a good parent, you’re a good parent, regardless of where you spend your afternoons.

    • Jenny

      My ability to be a good parent is highly dependent on how I structure my life, including where I spend my afternoons. I wish I were different. I am trying to be different and figure out how to be a bad ass working mom who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan and not be that SJP character or the “woman who works 80 hours a week with endless guilt”. Sarah, this stay at home mom would never judge your mom, I envy her. She worked a full time job and it sounds like you felt/feel that she was still a good parent.

  • Neha

    I do agree that Rosen’s point was missed, but you have to admit that there is a stigma to being a full-time stay-at-home mom.  In my circle of friends, I was one of the only ones who had a stay-at-home mom and constantly got questions like “what does she do all day?”, or comments basically insinuating that she sat in front of the TV until it was time to pick my sister and I up from school. That notion is completely false, and my mom only ever got to relax at the end of the day. It can be annoying to have to qualify your mom’s intelligence and societal contributions just because she isn’t a part of the workforce.

    And isn’t Chelsea just responding to the debate brought up by Rosen’s comment, not to the comment itself?

    • Lucy

      I agree that the question shouldn’t be posed to the child who clearly had nothing to do with the parents’ decision to have the wife stay at home, but that question is exactly why this debate is so frustrating for those of us who could never imagine giving up a career to be a stay at home mom.

      SAHMs aren’t caring for their children all day after their kids turn 5 and are at school for 6-8 hours a day. What are these women so busy doing while the children are out of the house that they don’t get to relax until the end of the day? Laundry? Cleaning? Grocery shopping? All of the things that working parents still find time to do?

      • Neha

        I had nothing to do with my parent’s decision, but I just wanted to illustrate that not only were my mother’s peers looking down on her, but their children as well. The stay-at-home vs working mom debate should be nonexistent; there’s no reason to pick a side.

        And I’m not going to generalize, I’m only going off of personal experience, but yes my mom did exactly all of those things, the laundry, cleaning, shopping. But the difference is that nothing was compromised. Most of my friends weren’t allowed to go out because they had siblings to cook for and look after while their parents (moms and dads) were at work. My cousins are in day-care all day. I don’t look down on working mothers as I plan to become one myself, but while my friends ate ramen at dinner I had home cooked food. Not saying that this is true of all working parents at all, but when both parents work, certain things are compromised. There’s nothing wrong with that, but responsibilities do get pushed aside and handed off elsewhere.

    • Jenny

      For what its worth…I dont own a tv.
      I agree that it seems like Chelsea is responding to the “debate” vs original comment.

  • A-W

    I agree with the general ideas of this piece, but using Ann Romney as an example of the “stay at home mother” seems unfair to the very women you are defending. Her (insane) economic status greatly effects the amount of “work” she has to do.
    I have little respect for women who advertise themselves as hard working stay-home mamas,but don’t cook, clean, or spend their day with their kids Those are NOT hard-working mothers, they are the ladies who lunch.

  • Nina

    Raising a child IS work, but you actually have to do it. The joke here is that Ann Romney claimed to be a stay-at-home mother while she had several helping hands. Giving birth and staying at home all your life does not make you a stay-at-home mom. She would actually have to change some diapers, cook meals for her family, do laundry, clean her kids rooms, discipline them when they’ve misbehaved and be present for something other than their birth. Who here thinks Ann Romney changed a crappy diaper, washed a single dish, dressed her children or took them to school? She is merely a woman who gave birth and stayed at home, hardly a parent. She didn’t earn the right to call herself a mother. I think that’s what Ms. Rosen meant when she accurately said Ann Romney never worked a day in her life. She wasn’t insulting REAL stay-at-home moms.

    • DW

      Not really a fair assumption that she just sat at home all day while people were paid to do all of the other work. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. I haven’t seen any signed testimonies from nannies or housemaids on the subject, so I wouldn’t be making blind statements with no support other than her family was very wealthy.

    • Anonymous

      You clearly don’t know Ann, and you have no more right to speak about her life than she has to speak about yours.  I understand that you are resentful of the fact that she has more resources than you do, and that you can’t imagine that someone from different circumstances wouldn’t fit into the judgmental box in which you have placed her, but maybe you should stop being such a hypocrite and making incredibly rude and judgmental statements when you clearly have absolutely no experience with her.  I know the Romneys, and Ann worked very hard raising her kids.  I defy you to find anyone who knows them personally and has actually interacted with them in their home to say something different.   And Ann is phenomenally involved outside her home too, and just because she hasn’t been paid for all her non-profit work doesn’t make it any less admirable than people who put in equal hours and make a salary.

    • Jenny

      Yikes! While Ann Romney may not represent most mothers, you are stating that a mother who is privileged does not have the right to call herself a mother? If I had the privilege of winning the lottery tomorrow I’d be a way better mother who was less stressed out and spent MORE time with her kids because I had the luxury of hiring people to help me. I’d have more energy when I was with them too cause yoga class and going for lovely runs does more for my endorphins and energy levels than housework. Oh gosh I could go on forever with this one.

  • http://twitter.com/MandaLeeK Manda Lee Kennedy

    This is lovely, and true – but misses the point.

    There is no right to choose to stay at home for the vast majority of American parents. The stagnation of individual wages – as productively and profits have skyrocketed – over the past few decades has lead to the virtual extinction of the single-income household.

    I’ve never met a women who thought stay at home mothers were less skilled, or lazy. We might envy them, we might make passing comments as are often made about teachers, or unionized labor, or pop stars! The grass is always greener after all, but only the most extreme, absurd minority take the position that being a stay at home parent is easy or shameful.

    The resentment of Anne Romney trying to be a spokesperson for women on economic issues is not simply about her being a stay at home mom, it’s about her being so damn privileged that her choice was entirely unhindered by “How are we going to make rent/eat this month?” and her (and her husband’s politics and party’s) complete unwillingness to even talk about the issues that would give families the power to choose to have a parent in the home, let alone do anything about the problem.

    • shannon

      i agree completely. a rich person speaking on behalf of poor people is like a white person speaking on behalf of black people. it’s just offensive, really. 

      • Andrew Rowland

        Logically, I would say rich people generally are more qualified to talk about wealth, and therefore, the rich and the poor, than poor people since they clearly understand the rules of personal finance enough to benefit themselves whereas poor people may not. Do we really think listening to a poor person tell the rich people how things should be run is better?

      • shannon

        Someone’s wealth and/or social staus is not necessarily an indicator of their knowledge of or skill with money & finance. For example, do you think Kim Kardashian is rich because she’s such a great financial genius? No, mostly she’s rich because her parents were rich and because she has a big butt. And I certainly wouldn’t want her making my financial choices for me. Romney is not qualified to be a spokesperson for the poor because she is not and has never been a member of that group. The people who would be most qualified to speak on the experiences of the working are the people who have actually has those experiences.

      • Sophia

        I can’t tell if this comment is satire or not, but if it is, then I agree.

      • shannon

        no.

      • Sophia

        Why would a white person speaking on behalf of black people be offensive? That’s ridiculous. Are you saying just because I was born to a family with less melanin than a black person, I can’t be a proponent of black rights and speak at rallies etc.? THAT’S offensive.

      • shannon

        no, that’s not what i meant. absolutely, you can and should be an ally for minorities, but (assuming you are white, which is what i think you were implying) you cannot speak on black people’s experiences and from the perspective of a black person because you are not black. i made this comparison because ann romney was speaking on behalf of working mothers when she, herself, has not ever been a working mother. she can certainly be an advocate but to be their spokesperson doesn’t make sense because she doesn’t belong to that group. 

      • shannon

        also, i dare you to speak at a black rally and let us know how that goes.

    • Sara

      Also, is she REALLY a “stay at home mom” when her youngest son is 30? Fuck no. 

    • http://twitter.com/pardimate Steph Carcieri

       Beautifully put.

    • Jenny

      Manda Lee Kennedy…if you see this…I would love to know more about where I can educate myself regarding “the issues that would give families the power to choose to have a parent in the home”. This is a topic I am so passionate about, but I lack the political knowledge to be able to know if what you are talking about could truely ever be an option.

  • Ashley Reynolds

    “But the problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don’t get young men standing up and saying, “How can I combine career and family?” Gertrude Stein 

  • youngin

    The outrage is that Romney and his wife consider it a respectable option for wealthy women to stay at home, but not for poor women (who need to know the dignity of work). Also, Hilary has two kids of her own, which she adopted.  I don’t think young women should join the ridiculous fight that pits some mothers against other mothers.  Women have been fighting for too long to have the same career and work opportunities as men for me to turn against any woman who makes any choice about a career versus being a mother. The patronizing head-patting by people like Mitt, conservative pundits, and men who say that being a  SAHM is the hardest job in the world when they won’t even do it makes me upset at them, not at women who stay at home or women who do both or women who focus on a career or just work. Of course taking care of your kids is awesome and doing it well is important, and it should actually be respected, but that respect should be expressed through policies that actually respect the choices, including over our bodies and educations and jobs, not just words that place women’s motherhood capabilities and roles on a restrictive pedestal.

    • Kel

      well said.

  • Dave

    this is great. i truly admire stay-at home moms more than anything (i actually aspire to be a stay-at-home dad myself, but the stigma behind that is an entirely new can of worms that doesnt need to be opened at this time), and i believe the scrutiny they face is wholly unwarranted. i just dont understand how something so wonderful as staying home to raise your children and keep a nice home can be so ridiculed. thank you for coming to their defense.

    • Jenny

      “i just dont understand how something so wonderful as staying home to raise your children and keep a nice home can be so ridiculed.”

      Thats because you are a real man and there are so few of you that you probably have no role models. And staying at home to raise your children and keep a nice home is not valued in our society. As I express above after Manda Lees comment, I wish I was more educated as to whether we could live in a society where this could be an option for people who are not wealthy.

  • Guest

    Ann Romney simply cannot relate to a single mother trying to raise 3 kids on a measly salary, yet she is apparently “advising” her husband on the subject. Rosen’s comment make have been poorly worded, but it was not off.

    This angle that the media has decided to run with once again diverts attention from the point, and once again pits woman against woman. While we watch two women (and subsequently two political parties) catfight, we can ignore more pressing issues.

    Gotta love that American media stream.

  • Sophia

    LOVED this. Looking through the comments, maybe they’re right – maybe Rosen’s comment wasn’t really about this. But regardless, this stigma DOES exist, and it’s not right. Growing up with a stay-at-home mom, I always got condescending questions about what my mom actually “does”, which was really frustrating, and I always felt like I was defending her choice. Thanks for a kickass article.

    • Bettinalinda

      Well, I also had a SAHM and sorry to say this, it was an easy way for her not to deal with the real world and not to develop a life of her own. When my dad left her she became a blubbering fool who didn’t have even a basic understanding life, and in her old age became so utterly isolated that it lead to dementia. I always envied my friends whose moms worked because they were so with it and vibrant, and set such a good example to their daughters. So sorry Mom, I think you made a selfish choice by staying at home and avoiding the world and all it’s complexities. Kudos to all the working moms and to Hillary Rosen for calling out Mrs Romney for what she is: a useless human being who hasn’t worked a day in he life.

      • Laissez Faire

        I think real issue is how you maintain relationship between individual and community.  It’s not an issue whether a mom should be at home or out.  Working as a mom at home doesn’t necessarily mean being isolated from the world.  Exchanging kids’ schooling curriculum, collecting books & dictionaries from Half-Price book store, seeking advice from older moms or mentoring younger moms, and so on.  I just couldn’t tolerate Rosen’s slur against the working moms at home simply because I know my wife is literally working as a mom at home.

      • Sophia

        Well, I’m sorry, but I had a really different experience. By staying home, my mom was able to be there for my entire young life and thereby do an amazing job raising my siblings and me. I’m so thankful for the choice she made, and I owe pretty much all of my successes in life to her drive and efforts. I don’t think it’s fair for you to say that just because YOUR mom was “a blubbering fool”, that anyone else who chooses to be a stay-at-home mom is a “blubbering fool” too. Avoiding the “real world” is not the reason that most stay-at-home moms choose to stay at home. And what is the “real world” anyway? We get one life; why spend it somewhere you don’t see yourself suited, if you can do something you enjoy much more by rearing productive human beings? That seems like a really honorable choice, actually. I resent your screwed-up logic and ignorant judgment.

      • http://twitter.com/AliPants Nosilla Remarc

         How is she a useless human being?  Because she didn’t provide services for profit? I’m sure her children don’t consider her useless.

        It’s unfortunate that you consider your mom to be a blubbering fool but maybe don’t project your family issues onto EVERY OTHER PERSON who is a stay at home mom?

      • Jenny

        Bettinalinda – I am very similar to your blubbering fool of a mother with the exception that I tried to do what you ridicule your mom for never having done. I am a MUCH BETTER person when I am NOT out there dealing with “the world and all its complexities”. And by the way, the research to support your statement that her isolation led to dementia is scant. I know this because when I was “out there” I often had dementia patients on my caseload and needed to keep up with the literature. I don’t, however, know enough about Mrs. Romney to make an educated comment about whether she is a useless human being.

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