Saturday, April 14, 2012

Worked a day in her life

I'm sure some of you have heard the recent "gaffe" by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen. When Mitt Romney commented that his wife Ann is his connection to women in this country, and she said that they are most concerned about the economy, Rosen responded by saying the following:

"His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.... she’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids? How do we send them to school? And why we worry about their future?"

The Republicans have jumped on this comment as anti-SAHM and even anti-women, and the Democratics have distanced themselves from it and apologized. Rosen was forced to apologize.

Am I the only one who feels that Rosen's comments were incredibly true? I know Ann Romney has dealt with serious health issues and I have nothing against her, but I find it very hard to believe she has anything in common with 99.9% of women in this country, including SAHMs. I mean, how many SAHMs have housecleaners, cooks, gardeners, nannies? (If the Romneys have none of these things, I apologize, but I'm guessing they do. I mean, I would if I had that kind of money.) Most SAHMs are alone all day taking care of their kids, and likely have to economize more than anyone, living on a single income.

Hilary Rosen, on the other hand, is a mom who works full time, and I feel her frustration of having her needs "understood" by a multimillionaire.

In Rosen's apology, she said: "Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."

Very true. I'm really beginning to like this woman.

(Apologies for a somewhat political entry, but this is about being disappointed in both parties. Anyway, it's a Saturday morning, so nobody is reading anyway.)


  1. So well-said that I shared it to Facebook. My mother's going to have fits. Ah well... :)

  2. Thanks, Amanda. I always feel nervous posting things like this, but I really related to Rosen's statement and I was angry that she was forced to rescind it.

  3. I agree with Amanda. This has nothing to do with mommy wars, and everything to do with money. I was really annoyed both that her words were twisted to make this seem anti-SAHM, and also that she was forced to apologize for stating the truth.

  4. Exactly, OMDG. She was just stating that Romney's wealth made her out of touch. It's not like most SAHMs don't worry about the economy.

  5. Yeah, I agree. It would have been much clearer if she'd said "she's always been wealthy" and I wish the Dems would hammer on that - and on the working-class roots of both Barack and Michelle Obama. I'm braced for an election like the Bush/Kerry campaign, when the Republicans will take us through the looking glass.

    I do take issue with the "disappointed in both parties" thing, though. I'm not crazy about Obama's record in a lot of ways, but the two parties are *not* equivalent. One is trying to send us back to the 19th century.

  6. I could not possibly agree with you more.

    A multimillionaire woman who has never had to be a part of any workforce, face any sort of economic hardship (most non-millionaire SAHMs have had to deal with this too, even if they themselves never worked out of the home), grapple with wage inequity, contend with racing to daycare to beat the clock at the end of a long day of work, is not someone who can be the representative voice on the topic of the economic realities of the vast majority of the mothers in this country.

    This is not about politics, this is about making sure that the voices of the overwhelming majority of mothers in this county are not drowned in and muffled by one woman's money.

    I am very disappointed in that Rosen was forced to apologize for stating the truth, and what upsets me the most is that the political pot-stirrers are working overtime to make this into a SAHM vs. EOHM (employed outside home mom) issue. Divided we all lose!

  7. Jay: I'm disappointed in how both parties *handled this particular issue*... I'm not trying to make any political statement beyond that. Although I did like Michelle Obama's tweet about respecting all women.

    WCD: Yeah, I hate that they turned around a comment about wealth and made it about SAHMs. I don't think of Ann Romney as a SAHM as much as a woman of privilege.

  8. Did you know the Romneys lived in a small basement apartment with two young children while Mitt was an undergrad student? It is unfair of you to make assumptions without bothering to do research then putting a half hearted apology as an excuse. Maybe you will never be as wealthy as the Romneys, but as a doctor your children will live a more privileged life than 99.9% of people in this country. If in a few years one married a wealthy politican and decided to stay home to raise her children, would you say she had no clue how most women lived? Was Barbara Bush privileged? Yes, but she is excused because she worked as a school teacher. How different is that from Ann Romney's time spent as a non paid volunteer in a number of charities? I think Romney's comments were a compliment to his wife. He did not state that he had no other advisors on women issues. He respects his wife and values her opinion.
    This aside, I am disappointed that you would allow your heavy political bias to mar such a useful blog for women who are in or interested in the medical field. I wish you would limit such posts to your blog.

  9. Anon: I intentionally didn't state my politics in this post (both parties didn't like Rosen's comments), only said that I found Rosen's comments spoke to me as a woman AND a mother... and isn't that what this blog is about? I think your own politics are what angered you about the post.

    And I agree that as doctors, we are more privileged than much of the country (not 99.9% by any stretch, but maybe 80-90%). If I went around saying I was a speaker for, say, single moms working two jobs just to pay the rent, I'd expect someone like Rosen to call bullshit on me.

  10. I wonder if Rosen had used the term "hold down a job" instead of "worked a day" some of this maelstrom could have been averted. Perhaps not, but the thing is, most women (and men I hope) would agree that raising five kids is "work" and that volunteering for charitable organizations is admirable. But its silly to say that those two activities qualify someone to speak for the women in this country who have to hold down a job and raise kids.

    I myself have lived in some pretty crappy apartments. That, in of itself, does not qualify me to participate in policy making that affects the women who do so, with their kids, and while lying awake at night wondering how to feed them.

    On a side note, Anon, I do agree that it is refreshing to see a politician actually respect his wife. Much more so than, say, John Edwards.

  11. Dissapointed Anon at 2:46 pm

    Doctors are not people "of priviledge" but someone who works all their life on their education, and labors long hours their entire career. Its a free country. Anyone wanting doctor's income, come on study 12 hours a day, take out a loan, spend 12 years studying hard while being poor, and wellcome to priviledged world of sweat work.

    You sound very envious and resentful.

  12. You should probably read this article before jumping to conclusions:

    And by the way, being a SAHM is a very HARD job!!! I always say that somehow going to my real job is like taking a break!

  13. No one debates taking care of kids is hard ... Working mothers also take care of their children and all imagine how isolating life would be as a SAHM, on top of the work. ... But I am one of the many people who don't choose to work. I leave my daughter every day because I HAVE TO. I work for my family's income, as well as our benefits. Ann Romney and Ms. Rosen are both besides the point. They are both admirable women who have made the most of their wonderful personal gifts. It's just another element of misogyny in our country that we are creating a dialogue in which one or the other must be vilified. Why can't we respect them both?! And why can't we still have a realistic dialogue that recognizes that both have economic opportunities that are not enjoyed by most mothers, working or otherwise, and it is the needs of most mothers, most families, that we should focus on addressing! ... One working mother's opinion!

  14. Anon @ 6. This is anon from 11:46 am. I am in no way envious or resentful seeing as that in addition to having a doctorate, medicine is my chosen career. A doctor may not feel privileged, but his/her children are, at least when it comes to wealth. Also, working long hours to make your high salary does not make you any less privileged.
    Red humor- who then has the ability to make policies on women? Most politicians are wealthy and have never stayed up at night wondering how to feed their children, more likely which private school send them (here I go making a fizzy-like assumption). No matter ones wealth situation, women have unique issues that need to be addressed. My point that Romney did not say his wife was his sole advisor on the issues of women has totally been ignored.
    Fizzy I was not trying to be political, but pointing out that it is lazy to make poor assumptions about people then apologizing instead of finding the truth. I have been both a sahm and working mother and both are hard work and although I am not an expert on women's issues, I would appreciate it if my opinion was sought. Whatever her political feelings, Rosen was wrong to attack Ann Romney.

  15. I wouldn't exactly call being a politician's wife a cakewalk. I think it must come with alot of responsibility on top of being a wife and mother and I do respect Ms. Romney for that. It doesn't look like she's out there just eating bonbons on the campaign trail; she is having to spend time away from her family too. I would be surprised if Ms. Rosen doesn't have plenty of help herself.

  16. I wouldn't exactly call being a politician's wife a cakewalk. I think it must come with alot of responsibility on top of being a wife and mother and I do respect Ms. Romney for that. It doesn't look like she's out there just eating bonbons on the campaign trail; she is having to spend time away from her family too. I would be surprised if Ms. Rosen doesn't have plenty of help herself.

  17. Maybe you people want to start calling yourself something other than Anonymous. It's not possible to have a discussion with a bunch of Anonymouses. It's pretty frustrating for all of us.

    It's not possible (or at least not easy) to know exactly the kind of help Ann Romney employs in her home, which is why I "apologized" for not knowing. But bottom line is that she's very rich and even if she lived in a cardboard box, it would be because she *wanted* to live in a cardboard box. There's a huge difference between living in poverty b/c you're broke and rich people "slumming it."

    Maybe Ann did work to help her husband campaign. And as I said, she's dealt with a lot of health problems and I have nothing against her. I'm sure she's a nice lady. But I still think it's valid to say that her problems bear no remote resemblance to those of the rest of the women in this country, including SAHMs, and that's why I felt Rosen's comments were legitimate. And yes, that's true of a lot of politicians, but that bugs me too. I think if intelligent, poor people were making legislation, things would be much different. But that a whole other issue.

    But what bothers me most of all is I feel like Rosen's words were twisted to turn SAHMs against working moms, and that's just not what she meant. We women should be united, because most of us DO want a lot of the same things (i.e. economic recovery, access to birth control).

    For the record, I think this is clearly an appropriate topic for MiM and I even asked the mod if she was OK with me posting it and she said yes.

    Also, if reading an article in French is the only thing that's going to keep me from jumping to conclusions, I think we have a big problem.

  18. I have nothing against Ann Romney either, but staying at home with however many children isn't a career choice, it's a life choice. And since she could afford it, bless her. But she still has no clue what it is like to be in the workplace, let alone what it's like to be in the workplace, quite likely as the breadwinner AND raise children at the same time. So if Romney wants somebody with insight into women's economic issues (thought I doubt the Republicans give a rip about that-sorry, didn't mean to get political) he'll have to look at somebody else.

  19. Thanks for writing Fizzy

    Everyone please check out this article where Mitt Romney says poor women mothers should " experience the dignity of work" and not be stay at home moms. Ironic how upset he was when he himself does not recognize staying at home as employment and wants women to be " working"

  20. The article:

  21. Wow, Anon, that is pretty unbelievable. What a hypocritical policy.


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