Friday, April 13, 2012

SAHM Controversies (Or Things That Make You Say Whatever)

I'm about to say something pretty controversial. Are you ready? Hang onto your hats and your hose and your britches.

First, here's a little background on why I'm about to say this thing that makes necessary this clutching near of your horse and your hos and your bitches:

The other day there was a minor, made-up, totally bull shit scuttlebutt over the fact that some TV pundit said, "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life."

Hilary Rosen, without foot in mouth
Here's a bit of context. Hilary Rosen, the pundit, was responding to Mitt Romney's claim that he turns to his wife for advice on women and the economy. Immediately after that period there, the one right after the word "life," Hilary Rosen said, "She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in the country are facing. How do we feed our kids? How do we send them to school?"

Rosen's point was that Ann Romney, who is an extremely wealthy woman, can't really understand the typical American woman. Isn't that what these dumb campaigns are always about? "I'm just like you. I like y'all's cheesy grits. My wife drives the car you built here in this factory, in fact she drives two of them. Hey, you like football? I have a friend who owns a football team. Hey, you eat hot dogs? I eat hot dogs, too, whenever the maid forgets to buy my filet mignon. You're unemployed? Me, too. Har, har har! We have so much in common, poverty-stricken voters, so vote for me!"

Rosen's comment was nothing more than what has been said a million times already: Mitt Romney and his family are extremely wealthy and having that much money for your entire adult life can make it difficult to understand what it's like for a person who makes minimum wage.

Instead, the whole thing gets turned into this ridiculous notion that Rosen was saying stay-at-home moms don't work. Oh my God, please give me a break.

But while I have you here, I'm going to say something that might piss off a lot of people. Here it is:

In my experience, being a stay-at-home mom is not that hard.

Gasp. I know. I'm so wrong! It's the hardest job in the world! It's a noble sacrifice! It's a saintly, angelic profession for saintly angelic sacrificing women.

Whatever.

Yes, the infant and toddler years are difficult. (I have a secret to tell you new parents: All the years can be pretty difficult because being a parent is difficult. You think a crying baby is bad? Try having a sassy, back-talking pre-teen girl in your house.)

But just once I want stay-at-home moms to admit that as soon as kids are school age, it is not that hard. Those kids are gone seven or eight (or sometimes more) hours of the day.

I said I want white milk! WHITE MILK, you dumb cow!
Yes, I know you are not sitting there eating bonbons and watching soaps while they are gone. But, whatever you are doing:
If you are a member of a certain tax bracket...
If you are a member of the 1 percent...
If you have a typical, healthy child without special needs...
If you aren't raising Tiny Toddler Hitler or Baby Charlie Manson or Terrible Twos Charlie Sheen...
If you have a non-psychotic, non-sociopath, non-douchebag child...

It's not that hard.

I stayed home with my son for about a year after he was first born. I did go to school but I was only gone a couple of hours a day, during which he went to my mother-in-law's house. That year was fanfuckingtastic.

This past year, I guess you could say I've been a stay-at-home mom. I haven't worked. Sure, I wrote a book and I've done some freelance projects, but I did those while my children were at school every day from about 7 am until 4 pm.

For at least four of the years that I worked at Southern Living, I went to work as soon as the kids got on the bus at the asscrack of dawn and I came home in time to see them get off the bus or, later when we moved to a new house, I got off in time to pick up Kate in the car pool line.

No, I wasn't a stay-at-home mom, but I sure as hell was home when the kids were.

I was blessed to be able to do a job I loved plus be home every afternoon for my kids. I was lucky.

I have been blessed to be at home this past year, to be with them after school and to write and clean and do laundry and fold laundry and put away laundry while they were gone.

OK, I lied. I rarely put away laundry.

My point, really, is that just once JUST ONCE, I want people to stop acting like such saintly, self-sacrificing angels and admit that once those kids are in school, IT'S NOT THAT HARD.

OK, go ahead and hate on me. I don't care. But having children and staying at home is not any harder or more noble than having children and working outside the home. And working outside the home and having children is no better or nobler than staying at home.

This is not that hard.
Listen, there are jobs outside the home that aren't that hard either. The DJ position on Ellen, for instance. Or vice president of the United States of America. On a scale of 1 to coal miner, those guys are no coal miners.

The truth is that life is difficult and we all struggle no matter what our days are made of. This is true for everyone everywhere in every profession (paid or unpaid) in every country in every house on every block. Whatever choices you make or feel are made for you, life is tough.

If you can stay at home with your kids, great. If you choose to work or have to work and you can be home in time for after-school snacks, great.

If you can't make it home until 5:30 or 6, that's OK, too. My mom got home every day by 5:30. We went to day care for awhile. We were latchkey kids for a bit, too. And guess what? NO ONE other than my mother raised me. I don't remember one person from day care. There is no doubt that my mother influenced me in every conceivable way.

I guess all I'm saying is whatever you're doing, good for you. You don't have to convince anyone how worthwhile it is or how much work it is. It doesn't actually have to be hard to be worthwhile. Don't let a bunch of assholes trying to win a campaign tell you there is a war on stay-at-home moms or working moms. Let's stop allowing jerks to pit us against one another for ridiculous reasons or to hijack the national political discussion with unnecessary debates.

Raising 5 boys is hard, especially when your husband is a robot.
And don't let a bunch of assholes try to make you feel sorry for Ann Romney, either. Yes, she raised five sons. Good for her. That still doesn't mean she understands one tiny bit what it's like for you when you're sitting there, hands shaking, on the phone with a bill collector who does not care that your husband just died and you can't make your payment on time. This doesn't mean she understands what it's like when you are laid off and your entire self-image is shattered, when you go from a professional job in your college major to serving up lattes at Starbucks. This doesn't mean she should be her husband's go-to on issues concerning women and the economy.

All it means is she stayed home and raised five sons. Period.

---

How about you all just STFU now?
While Googling information about this story, I found this great quote from Barbara Bush which pretty much sums up what everyone's reaction should be to this political horse shit. Basically, she said what I was thinking but she said it a lot more succinctly and without all the unladylike curse words.

"Forget it. Women who stay at home are wonderful. Women who go to work are wonderful. Whatever."

Exactly. WHATEVER.

7 comments:

  1. I clearly remember as a young mother with a four year old and a newborn, having time to straighten up the house, take care of and play with you and Tim and still watch Password, All My Children, etc. I wondered what all the fuss was about. I wondered what else I should be doing? I sometimes felt guilty for not being enough of a woman because all I was was a housewife. The '70's brought women out of the home and into the workforce at a rapid pace. I suddenly became that woman I thought I should be. 30 some years later, working outside the home or staying at home, it doesn't really matter. The biggest paycheck I have ever earned is seeing you and Tim succeed at living. You both are doing a great job of being human beings. That's the real work we should be busy with, especially with those damn zombies breathing down our neck!

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  2. a-fucking-men amy. geezus. being a stay at home mom kicks so much ass. SO MUCH ASS. its twenty times easier than going to ANY job. i could NOT agree more.

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    1. Have you noticed how if a man says he is "babysitting" his child, women will shriek, "You can't babysit your own child!" But those same shriekers will make sure everyone knows that the "jobs" stay-at-home moms do at home (cleaning, etc) would be worth a $100,000-plus salary each year.
      OK. Sure. But guess what? No one's going to pay you to watch your own kid or clean your own house, so just shut up already.

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  3. I'm also so sick and tired of HEARING about how hard people work at their jobs outside the home and how tired they are. SHUT THE F'K UP. its called being an adult. so SHUT THE HELL UP. and its not a competition either..so shut up. we work, we get a paycheck. so shut up.

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  4. My least favorite blog of yours ...

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    1. Sorry. I'm sure it's the same way I feel about all the blogs in which you discuss how awful the name Kate is.

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