While the spotlight is still hot, I want to take on the recent Brouhaha regarding Hilary Rosen’s poor choice of words concerning Ann Romney. Now. I don’t know either of these women, but I consider myself a student of pop culture, political discourse and the news cycle. Hilary Rosen said something stupid and she may even have believed it deep in her soul. She may have believed that raising five kids to adulthood does not qualify one for making comments on finance or the
economy, but, man, does she surely regret saying it.
What made the comment so stupid was how it gave succor to the other side. It gave the Anti-Obama Camp a fantastic opportunity to beat their ferocious drums and pretend that one woman’s misstatements can paint an entire political party. In our hearts we know that’s not how it is, but in the world of politics, everyone must be totally politically correct all of the time or their entire party is lambasted for its cruelty…. to somebody.
I know Count Raoul is a dude, and in the eyes of many, has not earned the tree stump from which to shout. As soon as they let females in the locker room, I stopped pretending I could not speak about their issues. Feel free to judge me by my words, not my body parts.
But Pandora’s Box is open and I will see what is inside. Here are some theories that have wafted out that I would like to write about on another day: Women’s liberation ruined the family; God is totally unfair to the female gender; Political correctness is making all of us afraid to speak our minds. Any takers? The theory that I grasp upon today for comment is the plight of the working vs. non-working mother. This may not go exactly as anyone expects.
Of course, the stay-at-home mom is physically and financially as astute as the working mom. Maybe not physically as primed as a female firefighter or as financially savvy as the female stock broker, but compare her experiences to, say, the female marketing VP; I’d put my money on mom.
Having spent about a thousand years in business with men and women, I can tell you that a lot of ‘middle managers’ spend their days at meetings, business lunches and in line at the airport. The working moms miss their children but choose to work because the family needs the income, they do not want to waste an inquisitive mind or a combination of the two. It’s just wrong to presume that either group is unfulfilled. With job insecurity and unfathomable education, healthcare and retirement expenses on many family's horizon, it is such a rarity now to find a mom who does not do something to help pay the bills. But they exist and I suspect they quietly know how ‘fortunate’ they are. On the other hand, they need not be shamed, either.
However! There is a caveat to all of this. And I am trying to wrap my head around it. A minority of stay-at-home moms fall back on their child-raising duties as so incredibly sacrosanct that becoming a teacher or banker or astronaut is not an option because their children would suffer. Trust me, this is a minority, but it is a vocal group. They need to shut up, too.
What an insult to the woman who works and pays for day care or rushes home to relieve the babysitter. The non-working mom is not a better mom and the fact that her kids grew up healthy and happy (not always) is not an assured result of her staying home. The kids who grow up happy and healthy almost always come from good and loving homes no matter the occupation of their mothers.
When a woman says her job is to “be there for my kids,” what does that imply to the working mom? That you are not there for your kids? Hilary Rosen may have been jealous that Ann Romney was married to a wealthy financier. But Ann should not – and I don’t believe she has – imply back that her child rearing duties showed more love or nurture than a working mom’s efforts.
In the end, this will blow over as soon as another perceived injustice bubbles up to the surface or a celebrity goes into rehab or worse. The Republicans will claim an edge with the women’s vote and President Obama will have his speechwriters
(including the women) working through the weekend to say something nice about all women; working, non-working, retired, happy, ugly or strange. If they can vote, they suddenly need to be complimented.
Why couldn’t everyone have just done this from the start? Most women make most men look like fish. Catfish.