When Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen stated that Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life” when discussing economic issues, the hopeful first lady signed herself up for Twitter right quick and responded accordingly. Ann then hopped over to Fox News and defended her choice to be a SAHM by saying:
“My career choice was to be a mother and I think all of us need to know we need to respect choices women make.”
Even though Rosen shows no sign of recanting her statement, both ladies seem to have stumbled into the cultural firestorm that often is professional working motherhood vs. stay-at-home motherhood. Politics completely aside, the conversation is always a delicate one in which even the question of a SAHM having a “job” is a taboo one — and for good reason. A simple question of “do you work?” when posed to a SAHM can result in an array of emotions as it sure isn’t a vacation keeping a home and raising children.
We have since evolved to other vocabulary choices such as “do you work outside the home?” or “are you employed?” but the residual tension always lingers with the underlying suggestion that being a SAHM is somehow not “real work.” The debate is usually fraught with comments on class and wealth as in our contemporary economic situation, few women are in a financial position to choose stay-at-home motherhood in the first place.
And yet in the wake of these dumb and incendiary comments by Rosen, Twitter has exploded with the insinuations that modern mothers are often quick to make everyday, with questions about privilege, nannies, elitism, and who exactly has the right to call themselves a “working mother.” But we aren’t exactly hanging around the playground with this one, ladies, muttering under our breath about the mother who just pulled up with a Bluetooth. This has become a national discussion, with the respect for women’s choices and family directly at the center.