If you’re like me, you probably do your best to avoid the 24-hour news cycle, simply because you don’t like watching monkeys wearing red ties throwing shit at monkeys wearing blue ties and vice-versa. However, sometimes things get so bad that my Fortress of Solitude is breached, such as the whole clusterfuck involving Hilary Rosen calling out Ann Romney for “never having worked a day in her life,” and since the lack of children – or a vagina – hasn’t stopped the whole wide goddamn world from commenting on the so-called War on Women, it’s my God-given right to pick a fight over the issue as well.
This is not going to be an argument about whether or not being a stay-at-home mother is a dignified job worthy of respect, as that way lies madness. However, Hilary Rosen’s argument that Ann Romney is out of touch with the modern woman because she stayed at home and raised five kids instead of entering the workforce isn’t completely devoid of merit, but not because Mrs. Romney chose to take on a traditional gender role; it’s due to the fact that the woman was born with a silver spoon firmly lodged up her ass.
Before she married or even met Mitt Romney, Ann Davies was the daughter of a prominent family from Bloomfield Hills, a city in Michigan that has consistently ranked in the top ten wealthiest small cities in the US, despite it being only 20 miles from Detroit. Not only that, but her father was the god damned mayor of Bloomfield Hills and she grew up riding horses and going to private schools – which is the kinds of things white people do for their daughters when they have too much fucking money.
Not only that, but she didn’t exactly marry below her station when she became Mrs. Romney. Good old Mitt’s dad was not only the one-time president and chairman of American Motors in the 40s, but he was the governor of Michigan while Mitt was trying to figure out how to get Ann’s bra off in the back of his red convertible. Neither Mitt nor Ann were wanting for money in any way, shape, or form, and this didn’t magically stop once they tied the knot, so you can’t sit here and tell me that Ann Romney had to hold down one or two jobs while she raised her five kids.
Let’s get something straight: working full-time while raising kids is the hardest job in the world, followed only by rocket surgery and trying to keep two dogs in a bathtub. Ann Romney didn’t have to worry about paying rent on a 3-bedroom apartment shared by her husband and five kids while Mitt worked down at the local foundry during the day and she waited tables third shift every night for $2.10 an hour plus tips, just to make sure they could send their kids to school in clean clothes and with enough food in their bellies that they weren’t suffering from borderline starvation.
The truth is that Ann Romney wouldn’t survive for five minutes out in the real world, and when she tries to hold herself up as the Hardest Working Mom in Show Business it makes my stomach turn on behalf of all the mothers I’ve known that both worked full-time and raised their kids, either with the aid of a spouse or on their own as a single mom. If you’re in a committed relationship today with a domestic partner that earns enough money to allow you to stay at home and care for your children, you’re damned lucky, especially in the current economy.
When I think about the people I grew up with and around in my generation, the number of single working mothers or double-income families with kids was the majority share by a long shot; my parents were able to do the single-income thing, but only because my father nearly killed himself working six days a week in order to do it, which enabled my mother to not only care for me and my brother but also also get an MS in Education once we were old enough to look after ourselves – so she could get a job at the local community college teaching English. Not only that, but my parents were able to afford regular babysitters for me and my brother, even on their single-earner income, so don’t tell me that Mitt and Ann Romney couldn’t afford a battalion of nannies.
It’s not that Ann Romney didn’t work a day in her life – it’s that she never needed to. She says that she “made a choice” to stay home and raise her five boys – what about all those mothers out there that don’t get that choice? She never had to sit down with Mitt to hear him say, “I love you, honey, but I don’t know how we’re going to pay the mortgage if you don’t get a job too,” so I have less respect for her choice to stay at home than I do for a mother who makes the “choice” to work like a dog in order to keep her family from being tossed out on the street – the woman just hasn’t had to struggle like the rest of us, and no number of indignant, self-righteous, passive-aggressive tweets is going to change that.
And before anyone gets all uppity about me saying Ann Romney hasn’t experienced hardship and challenge in her own life: yes, I know that she was diagnosed with both Multiple Sclerosis in 1998 and had a lumpectomy in 2008 for an intraductal carcinoma, but thanks to the marvels of modern medicine she’s doing just fine today – it must be amazing to not have to worry about paying back the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cutting-edge costs for, say, treating cancer.
Which reminds me – I need to change my address again. I can feel my creditors breathing down my neck.