I was featured on a segment of Fox and Friends this morning, and I’ve been getting lots of colorful comments on random posts throughout my blog from people who don’t agree with what I had to say. I thought I’d offer a place for people who are visiting and want to discuss things further, so that I’m not getting comments like, “You are a liberal scumbag” under a post about my child losing a tooth. I was a part of a panel of moms reacting to this so-called “War on Moms” ignited by Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney’s lack of work experience. In case you missed it, a firestorm quickly ensued that reignited an age-old mommy war, with stay-at-home moms adamantly defending their roles at home as a full-time job. My segment hasn’t been posted online yet, but here’s a bit from the show from yesterday. Yesterday’s show featured my friends (and fellow bloggers) Elizabeth Esther and Joanne Bamberger, along with Betsy Hart, who believes that Democrats do not like stay-at-home moms and want all mothers to be single. (Yes, really, she said those things).
I completely agree that women who stay home are working, and working every bit as hard as their WOHM counterparts. I work part-time, and the days I’m home with my children are more challenging, both physically, mentally and emotionally, than any day I’ve spent at work. That being said, I don’t believe that Rosen’s comment was an insult to stay-at-home moms, because she was not addressing the work ethic of stay-at-home moms. She was addressing Mitt Romney’s constant comments about his wife acting has his advisor on women’s issues. I think it’s fantastic that Mitt consults with his wife. She seems like an amazing person, and I’m sure she would make a great first lady. However, I don’t think her life experiences mean that she can put her husband in touch with the average American woman who has struggled to keep her family fed. And you know what? I’m not sure that any single woman can fit the bill of representing all American women. I think that is where many feel that Romney is out of touch – because he continues to refer to his wife as an example of how he stays abreast of women’s issues. I think that’s a bit short-sighted. Ann has never experienced the reality of women who juggle work and family- especially when it concerns the needs of middle and working class mothers. The comment has NOTHING to do with the value, or choice, to be stay-at-home mom.
It’s frustrating that this conversation was derailed into yet another “mommy war” conversation, where mothers who work at home felt the need to defend their role as someone with a work ethic, or as someone who is knowledgeable about world events or capable of contributing to conversations about the economy. The things is, though . . . this was never questioned in the first place. In my opinion, the Romney campaign has taken one comment out of context and centered a debate around it, trying to forward the narrative that democrats are attacking stay-at-home moms. My friend JoAnne says it perfectly in a recent piece she wrote for CNN:
It's a totally fair question to ask whether someone who has never had to work to earn money is the right person to advise anyone on the economic struggles of women today. Asking that question shouldn't be the start of a new skirmish in the stay-at-home mom vs. working mom debate.
As a tactical matter, the Romney campaign was smart to jump on this and try to make it look like Democrats are attacking conservative stay-at-home moms. The whole Mommy Wars meme is one that always gets lots of attention, and it's one that conservative women activists like to promote.
So, dear Fox viewers. If you’ve come here to argue with me about my opinion, that’s fine. I don’t mind a spirited debate and I’m always happy to engage in political discourse. I really enjoyed getting to talk about these issues on Fox and Friends today. Despite feeling very differently on the issues, my co-panelist Elizabeth and I are friends in real life and had a good laugh (and hug) after the show. That being said, my blog is not a place where I host personal attacks, insults, or people parsing my words. So if you would like to disagree civilly, be my guest. But if you are here to tell me what a jerk I am for saying that Ann Romney is clueless or hasn’t worked hard in her life . . . well, I didn’t say that. If you are here to call me ignorant or a scum-bag or some of the more colorful words that have crossed my inbox and twitter stream and public facebook page since the show aired, those will likely be deleted. I feel strongly that we should be able to talk about political opinions without resorting to name-calling.