Last week, the media was in a frenzy over some incredibly poorly-chosen words by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen on how Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life." Others have already delved into the controversy, rebirthing the mommy wars on one side while calling for a ceasefire on the lose-lose conflict that only seeks to divide women on the other side.
At it's core and as an outsider (as I am not yet a mother), I believe that the mommy wars are about insecurity and unfairness. Mothers are insecure about their roles as either a stay at home mom (SAHM) or a working mother because our society unfairly limits women in their efforts to "have it all." SAHMs are criticized for not contributing to the family's financial stability, whereas working mothers are judged for handing their children over to daycare, "illegal" nannies, and in some cases, even stay at home dads ("babysitters"). Yet, both SAHMs and working mothers still contribute more hours in childcare, cleaning, and cooking than their male partners -- what many believe to be an unfair division of household labor. Both SAHMs and working mothers are "full time mothers." And let's get one last thing crystal clear: just because a woman works outside the home for a part of her week (part-time, full-time, flex-time, any time!) does not -- I repeat, does not -- mean that she is somehow less than a full-time mother.
For some poignant, incredibly well-written commentary about this recent flare-up, see the following:
- Jill Filipovic: "Some Thoughts on Hilary Rosen, Moms, and Work"
- Dianna Anderson: "The Freedom to Choose"
- Rachel Held Evans: "Why We Can All Opt Out of the 'War on Women'"
- Liz Gumbinner: "The Myth of the Rich, Selfish Working Mom"
- Leslie Bennetts: "The Myth of the Stay-at-Home-Mommy Job"
- Zerlina Maxwell: "Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney, and What the “Stay at Home” Mom Conversation Overlooks"
- Libby Anne: "The Mommy Wars and Me"
“All mothers know that motherhood involves a lot of hard work, but let’s stop pretending that that’s the same as working for a living.”
(Leslie Bennetts, "The Myth of the Stay-at-Home-Mommy Job")