Monday, April 16, 2012

In Defense of Ann Romney

Not that she needs it, and others have already rushed to her aid, but I want to say my part anyway.

I’m not sure if CNN contributor Hilary Rosen was doing the whole women hating women thing, or just resentment because of Ann Romney’s wealth and status, but come on. We’ve got to stick together!
Saying that wife to presidential candidate Mitt Romney "never worked a day in her life," undermines motherhood. And that is just not cool.
Being a “little wife” is a stereotyped that has gripped us since the 1950s—that a stay-at-home-mom’s day is:

Get up, make breakfast for husband and child. Pack lunch for child. Kiss both, send them off.
Get back in bed, sleep in.
Take a bath, read a gossip magazine.
Bake a cake.
Manicure nails, have lunch.
Curl hair, put on lipstick.
Go visit neighborhood girlfriends. Gossip, drink cocktails.
Go to grocery store, come home, toss something in the oven.
Vacuum something.
Watch television.
Have another cocktail.
Collect child from school, send them to do homework or relax in living room with them and engage in calm, wholesome conversation.
Husband comes home. Give him cocktail, serve dinner.
Pop dishes in dishwasher.
More cocktails.
Read unimproving literature, watch television.
Put on a sexy little nightie and crawl into bed for 10 hours of beauty rest.

(which reminds me of these hysterical Anne Taintor Vintage Revisited pieces that I love)

Get real. These pigeonholes leave out the heavy amount of work involved in both housework and tending to a child, or multiple children. There are the dishes lying depressingly in the sink, scads of laundry waiting to be done, cooking is time-consuming and tricky, and I won’t even go into the mothering part. Not being a mom myself, I can’t really speak from direct experience. But I can testify as a witness to all of the moms I know. I have 3 nephews and 2 nieces and seeing the mothers of these kids take care of them—even when I can pitch in and help them—is enlightening. Parenthood is the most challenging thing in the world, perhaps because there is no “right way” and “wrong way” (besides the obvious feeding the kids, and not smacking them around), although the myriad of books on the subject preach otherwise. There are so many situations that are unpredictable and morally conflicting and what do you say when a 4 year old looks up at you with teary eyes, lips quivering, and says “does the Easter Bunny exist? Why are there plastic eggs upstairs if the bunny is supposed to bring them?” Damn! It’s hard! And unending. Once a parent, you are always a parent. It gets into your blood and your instincts and every cry from a child, even if it isn’t yours, is gut-wrenching and sets your heart going.

So yes, Ann Romney may have had maids and nannies and wealth to help her along in this most difficult of life’s challenges, but Ann gave birth to and raised 5 kids. FIIIIIIVE. That is inescapable, even if there is someone to change their diapers floating around, and it is pretty hard core.

Let’s hear it for the Moms!

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