Unless you live under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard by now that political strategist Hilary Rosen has not only put her foot in her mouth, but possibly her entire leg as well. In an interview on CNN Wednesday night she said that Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, had “never worked a day in her life.” Rather than pursue a professional career with implied public prestige and a paycheck, Ann Romney chose to focus her life on raising her five sons and managing her home. Of course, this statement quickly erupted into a firestorm of controversy and re-ignited the endless working mother v. stay-at-home mom debate. Ms. Rosen did issue a written statement of apology the next afternoon, but by then the damage was done and little has been said.
By the way, I don’t find it insignificant that the statement was made by a woman about another woman. We tend to be our own worst enemies.
Really? Why are we arguing about this?
I have had some kind of work that produces a paycheck pretty much since I started babysitting just before my 12th birthday. Since I became a mother nearly a quarter century ago, I have had part-time jobs, full-time jobs, my own business where I worked away from home, my own business where I worked from home and times where I was able to devote all of my attention to managing my home and raising my children. No matter what I was doing or how I was doing it, I was criticized for it.
But aren’t we all sisters?
As women, we should be supporting one another. We should be creating a community and doing our part to make this world a better place. And yet, here we are, tearing one another down, denigrating the role and worth of motherhood and simultaneously denigrating the role and worth of mothers with an additional job. This is not how it is supposed to work. This is clearly the adversary at work. Satan must have been doing the happy dance yesterday for sure as WOMEN traded barbs back and forth, both publicly and privately, about which type of mother was the better woman, who was making a greater contribution to society, who was nobler, made bigger sacrifices, was lazy or selfish or . . . .
Let’s stop this insanity.
Let me just clarify this. Every mother works. Some have additional jobs that come with paychecks. Why a mother has an “additional” job (and since motherhood is several full-time jobs in itself, I say anything else is an “additional” job) or doesn’t have an additional job isn’t anyone’s business. There are as many reasons for the job as there are women who have one. Either way, life isn’t easy. Granted, some lives are harder than others and it’s not always a matter of money. Each of us has challenges. Each of us has needs. Each of us has a story that isn’t readily visible to the rest of the world and probably never will be. And that story isn’t the world’s business.
It’s time for us women to stop judging one another and begin supporting one another. We all have difficult jobs–some of us just have more jobs right now than others. Some of those jobs come with paychecks and some don’t. Self-worth and value aren’t dependent on a paycheck and they’re not dependent on not getting a paycheck. We all have inherent worth as daughters of God. We are all worthy and we are all valuable. How about if we remember that? Instead of tearing one another down, how about if we look for ways to lift one another up?
This motherhood thing is hard. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know how true that really is but I do know that it takes a community to support a mother. It is time for us to step up and be that community.
Sisters, be sisters. Real sisters. Not the squabbling, bickering sisters of our childhoods, but the supportive, loving, strong and amazing women of God that we are.
Every mother is a working mother. Every woman is our sister. And we are all daughters of God.