The following was written in response to Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s asinine comment toward Ann Romney that as a stay-at-home-mother of five sons, she hadn’t worked a day in her life.
I tried the fulltime at-home-parent thing. I really did. I stayed home fulltime with Thing 1 for 16 months before going to work in an office. A couple years later, I got pregnant with Thing 2, and I took a couple years off again before tiptoeing back into the workforce, this time as a work-from-home freelance writer. Since then, I’ve added social media promotion, consulting, and speaking to my resume.
I love my job. I love it.
I couldn’t hack it as a stay-at-home-mom. Being a full time mommy is the most sacrificial choice any woman could make for her children. It is messy and gross. It is demanding, while also somehow managing to be tedious, and a lot of the time — boring. It is constant, and it is thankless.
No one says, “Wow! Great job shining that stove, I could really relate to it!” They say, “I’m hungry, when’s dinner?” followed quickly by, “Ewwwww, I don’t like that!”
You don’t get raises, credit, or promotions. You get teenagers.
I hold in awe moms who make the decision to work fulltime – for free – as homemakers. I tried and I couldn’t do it. It is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the fact that some women do it, and do it with grace and patience and kindness, blows my mind. It is a level of self-sacrifice that made me miserable. I couldn’t hack it. It was too hard to do the thankless work, day in and day out. I am just not that good a person inside.
Now that that confession of selfishness is out of the way, let’s get rid of this ridiculous notion that domestic engineers can’t know what it’s like to live in the ‘real world.’ Nothing is more real than managing a home and raising a family.
Moms are Politicians: Have you ever settled 17 squabbles among your subordinates without being able to fire any of them? You can’t list your kids on Craig’s List, you know. Also? Holidays. In-laws. Parent-teacher conferences. The end.
Moms are Accountants: The payer of the bills, the keeper of the allowances, the supreme budgeter and coupon-clipper. She balances the checkbook and makes the hard decision not to deal in subprime loans, no matter how much her tweeny-bopper daughter pouts with her sad little lips.
Moms are Crisis Managers: Oh, you have to be to school early today for a math tutoring session I forgot about and you’re still sitting at the table eating breakfast in your pajamas? GET IN THE CAR NOW, HERE ARE YOUR CLOTHES, GET DRESSED ON THE WAY! Done.
Moms are Counselors: We help our kids figure out how to make good decisions. We cheer them on. We help them learn from their mistakes.
Moms are teachers, nurses, chauffeurs, chefs, maids, receptionists, stylists, negotiators, travel agents, and let’s face it: magicians. They are on 24/7/365. The thanks they get for this is women that couldn’t make the professional, personal, and financial sacrifices necessary to be fulltime stay-at-home-moms going on CNN and telling them they don’t know what it’s like to work.
Stay-at-home-moms know more about what it means to work than a lot of CEOs. They deserve respect, not derision. Every mom has to make her own decision about what profession to pursue, but no one should assume that she that chooses her children over a salary or personal professional gain is worth less than anyone else.
Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Most moms I know would lay down their physical life for their children in a heartbeat. Moms that give up personal ambitions in the workforce to care for their children fulltime deserve a special kind of accolade.