December 20, 2014

Hilary Rosen will never know the “joy” of changing 10,000 diapers.

Brittany Burton is an occasional contributor to Publius Online. She is a stay-at-home mom who wishes homemaking involved more bon-bons and fewer dirty diapers.

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Late Wednesday night, my husband mentioned the attack on Ann Romney for “never working a day in her life.” In other words, for being a “stay-at-home” mom. I was busy breast-feeding my youngest, so I didn’t think much of it at the time. I rolled my eyes and said something like, ‘Oh brother, what next?’ It was morning before I actually watched the clip of Hilary Rosen making her jab at Ann Romney.

Only then did it strike home just how personal Rosen’s attack was on me and my choice to switch careers to raise my children.

Before having children, I worked full-time in a middle-management position. It was a demanding and usually thankless job. With how many hours a week I put in, my salary felt pathetic, but considering that I didn’t have more than a bachelor’s degree, I couldn’t complain. I had my own money, I was moving up, and people looked to me for leadership and direction.

When I gave birth to my first child, I made the decision to stay home full-time. For as long as I can remember, it was what I wanted. My own mother was a stay-at-home mom, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the job entailed.

I was wrong. I had no idea just how demanding the work of a stay-at-home mom is. Since, I’ve often looked back on my life before children longingly as it relates to the amount of work and monetary compensation I received for it. Back then, I knew my value and could put a number to it. Today, it’s not so easy to put a number or see appreciation for my efforts.

Despite the challenges, I am happy with my choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I want it because I believe my children will be better off if I raise them than if they’re raised by someone else. The smiles and laughter, baby-steps (literally and figuratively), the random ‘I love you, Mama,’ the growth and happiness of my beautiful girls makes it worth the effort.

As foreign as it may seem to our increasingly progressive culture, I also want to be a stay-at-home mom because I believe it’s where God would prefer me to be during this season of my life. He knows, and I know, that I could be doing things a lot more glamorous than breast-feeding multiple times a day, changing diaper after diaper, disciplining a whining child, reading picture book after picture book (and sometimes the same one repeatedly), oxy-cleaning juice- and marker-stained clothes…

But He also knows, and I also know, that being the best full-time, stay-at-home, change-the-diapers, read-the-books, endure-the-whining, and love-the-littles mom I can be is more meaningful than any other job I could be doing right now. I believe that nothing I can do will have a greater impact on the world than teaching my girls to be the best they can be.

I don’t say all this to devalue women who work outside the home, whether it is by choice or because of need. I recognize that there’s a lot that goes into the decision to work outside the home. I’m thankful I live in a time when women have more opportunities than they have had in previous generations. However, I also acknowledge that our culture is built on what happens in the home and what starts there, and I have chosen to dedicate my life to building my home strong.

…which brings me back to Hilary Rosen and why she makes me feel like a mama bear with threatened cubs. I feel that she has not just insulted Ann Romney, but assaulted the very purpose I have given my life to: giving my kids the best life I can and all of the hard work it entails.

I have made genuine sacrifices to raise my children. When Rosen decides to mock that sacrifice, I find it extremely offensive and personally disheartening. She reflects a society that devalues my contribution.

Ironically, I feel bad for Rosen because clearly, at least as it seems to me, she’s out of touch. She’s out of touch with stay-at-home moms and out of touch with working outside-the-home moms. She’s just out of touch with moms.

My struggles may look a bit different than a mother who is not a stay-at-home mom. But in some respects, I have more empathy for the mother who must work than anyone else, and her for me. Because working out-of-the-home mom or working in-the-home mom, we all know how hard it is to be a mother. We know what it means to sacrifice and work hard for our families. We’re making different sacrifices, but sacrifices none-the-less.

I also found it offensive and disheartening when Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager said that ‘[Rosen’s] comments were wrong and that family should be off limits.’ I think Messina kind of misses the point by saying that, ‘family should be off limits.’ It makes it sound like he’s saying Rosen’s comments were wrong because family should be off-limits. How about Rosen’s comments were wrong because they were just wrong?

And yet, the irony and hypocrisy continues to the top. I watched the clip of President Obama saying that his family didn’t have the luxury of Michelle being a stay-at-home mom…when he was making over $162,000 a year. It’s one thing if Michelle didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, but implying that they couldn’t afford it? I know lots of stay-at-home families with 2+ children that are making less than half that amount—much less than half that–and are doing just fine.

Moms make personal sacrifices that most men won’t make and can’t really understand, either. If Obama’s people think that this anti-mom message is how you empower women, that this is how you reach out to women and give them the tools they need to be successful and relevant, then they are the wrong choice to represent women in America. If they think that attacking stay-at-home moms is low hanging fruit, they have picked the wrong demographic to anger.

Don’t demean the hard, sometimes thankless work I do in my home. Don’t assume that because my family is making it on one income (and that of a man) that I don’t understand economics and how it affects my family.

Don’t assume that because of the traditional role I’ve chosen that I don’t value women’s rights. Don’t imply that because I’m a stay-at-home mom I can’t relate with other moms. Don’t think that I don’t make just as many sacrifices.

Hilary Rosen’s comments aren’t an attack on Ann Romney, except for superficially. They’re an attack on moms, our choices, our families, and our right as women to choose. And I’ve got news for you, Rosen: there are a lot of us.

And we vote.

Who’s really got a “woman” problem?

It’s Orwellian, really. In a series of confusing contraditions, Obama’s White House and campaign are talking about helping women, but paying them less than men and attacking the ones who opt to raise their children at home.

That’s going to create a credibility problem for Barack Obama.

Democrats have been spinning the tale that Mitt Romney‘s got a woman problem. Women don’t, and won’t, vote for him, they say, because a perceived hostility to contraception, to abortion, to birth control, to equal pay for women…if you don’t believe me, go back and watch GOP debates where moderators threw in questions, much to the befuddlement of the candidates, asking why the GOP wants to limit contraception, something Republicans patently do not want to do.

It creates a false narrative, and it has played right into the hands Barack Obama’s advisers. Or perhaps the media was receiving the questions from the Obama campaign in the first place.

It turns out that it’s not Mitt Romney who has a “woman problem,” though. Evidence is that it’s Barack Obama with a woman problem

.

Exhibit A: women in the White House make less than men

Whatever happened to women breaking through the glass ceiling? This, from the Washington Free Beacon:

According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).

Awkward, especially as the President has frequently criticized gender pay gaps and criticized Romney for not supporting a law (the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Restoration Act) that allowed law suits based on discrimination.

“Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income,” he said in a July 2010 statement. “And with so many families depending on women’s wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole.”

Like I said, kind of awkward. And that’s just exhibit A. How about we look at Exhibit B?

BELMONT, MA - MARCH 06:  Republican presidenti...

BELMONT, MA - MARCH 06: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) walks with his wife Ann Romney after voting at the Beech Street Senior Center on March 6, 2012 in Belmont, Massachusetts. Mitt Romney cast his ballot for the Super Tuesday primary in Massachusetts before attending his Super Tuesday gathering. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Exhibit B: feminist Democrats don’t like stay-at-home moms

Ok, maybe not all national Democrats, but there’s certainly a strain of liberals that struggle with traditional, conservative families where the father/husband works and the mother/wife stays in the home to raise the children.

Enter Hilary Rosen. Today, she made a frontal assault on the conservative beliefs of Ann and Mitt Romney, criticizing Ann for staying home with the Romney’s five boys.  The attack came just as Ann Romney joined Twitter.

Ann’s first tweet came just moments after Democratic strategist and DNC adviser Hilary Rosen lobbed an insult at Ann Romney, suggesting that the 64-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 16 had never held a job.

“Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” said Rosen, who was being interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the “war on women.”

I know that social views in America have changed a lot over the last few decades, that more women are in the work place than ever, and I don’t have a problem with that. However, since when did choosing to live on one income and raise your children become a negative? Has our view of what a woman is been so distorted by extreme feminists that they no longer respect a woman’s right to make a career out of raising children?

It may be old-fashioned, but it’s still de rigueur for a large portion of America.  When possible the father provides economically while the mother is the primary caregiver in the home. While economic times have made it difficult for one parent to stay home while the other works to provide, many still hold the paradigm of the mother in the home as the standard.

It’s also how a lot of people were raised. My mother stayed home, my wife’s mother stayed home, and my wife in her turn has chosen to stay home with our children, as well, leaving her career to raise them when they joined us.  While we don’t have the money that Romney does, we feel no less about the impact that she has on our daughters by being a daily part of their lives.

That’s just not good enough for Rosen, though. She recognizes how powerful an asset Ann Romney is to Mitt in the contest for the White House.  She may be just a little jealous, too. Ann Romney is married to the wealthiest man to seek the White House, has five handsome sons, and stands a good chance to become the First Lady, too. All without having entered the workforce.  It’s a paradigm that Hilary Rosen just can’t understand. In her world, women are successful by the same measure as men–how the do in the workforce. It’s hard to believe that Americans might like Ann because she has put other things first–like her family and her husband.

This is just the beginning.

If this seems a galling example of the egregiousness of the liberal war on women and the Orwellian spin by the Obama campaign, just sit tight. With the first Mormon to carry the banner for a major party in the contest for the White House, we’re sure to see more attacks on the conservative, traditional, and religious. It’s going to be a long seven months to November.