The news channels on television and talk radio pundits have had a field day with comments made by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen about Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's wife Ann. Talking about Mrs. Romney's comments about hearing women express concerns about the economy, Hilary Rosen said:
"What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country, saying, 'Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I'm hearing.' Guess what? 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 the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future."
Ann Romney responded that "she should have come to my house when those five boys were causing trouble; it wasn't so easy." She also commented that "My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect the choices women make."
The firestorm erupted for many based on the wording that she never worked a day in her life. Clearly when taken in context, Rosen was not condemning stay-at-home moms in general or trying to make a claim that they have an easier life than moms who work. But it did tend to strike a chord with families who have chosen to sacrifice some things to allow the mother to stay home to raise the children while the father provides for the family's economic needs.
The important thing to remember is that each family makes a choice about how it balances the need for family income and the time allowed for one or more parents to be at home. I know plenty of families, including two of our children and their partners, who are of modest income but still have planned and worked so that the mom could be home full-time while dad provides. And we certainly know lots of stay-at-home dads who are the primary caregivers while their partner works full-time.
The most important thing, it seems to me, is to respect the choices that families make and to allow them to make the choice that works best for their family. And in my mind (and my experience) when a choice can be made to have a full-time parent in the home - working - the children will have opportunities that they could not have otherwise.
Other blog posts on the Rosen-Romney comments:
- Working Moms Versus Stay at Home Moms
- Why Hilary Rosen's Comment About Ann Romney Fueled the Mommy Wars Fire
- Transcript of Hilary Rosen's Actual Ann Romney Comments Reveals Intent, Yet Still Sparks Working Mom / Stay at Home Mom Conflict
Image courtesy of Bill Pugliano / Getty Images.