Way-hey! It’s Mommy Wars time! Or Mummy Wars, as I ought to call it in UK English, only it doesn’t sound as hardcore. But, hey, whatever. Nothing we love more than a good ol’ Mommy/Mummy scrap.
To summarise: Obama adviser Hilary Rosen suggests Ann Romney isn’t an all-round expert on women’s concerns as she’s “never worked a day in her life”. Ann Romney points out that raising kids is pretty hard work, actually. And that, plus lots of media shit-stirring, is pretty much it.
So, who do we agree with? Ann Romney because we should be valuing the unpaid work millions of women do? Or Hilary Rosen as she’s not involved in a presidential campaign that, if successful, would completely fuck women over?
What with having had little people emerge from my vagina, I am an expert on this kind of thing, so here’s my point-by-point guide to help you out.
- Looking after kids is hard. Doing paid work is hard. They are both hard because they involve doing stuff for people when you don’t necessarily want to do it.
- The relative hardness of paid work vs stay-at-home parenting is variable. Factors for variation include: i) whether you have, or could potentially have, a job with good pay and conditions; ii) whether you have, or could potentially have, a nanny or home help; iii) whether your kids are, or could potentially be, being complete and utter nightmares. Factors i and ii depend a lot on money; Factor iii, in my experience, varies from millisecond to millisecond, and you’ll never, ever work out what it really depends on.
- Going on and on about how hard looking after kids can be is nice and all, but it’s not really “appreciation” in any real sense. Normalizing the fact that someone’s having a crappy time is certainly the easy option, but making said time less crappy (changing parental leave laws, challenging gender stereotypes, questioning why those outside the home have more power and influence) would be a whole lot better.
- Getting totally carried away and telling someone who’s in the middle of cleaning up toddler vomit that hey, she’s the “CEO of the home” and doing a great job of “project managing” this family “business” is not showing appreciation. It’s being a patronizing bastard.
- Women like Ann Romney do not speak for the whole of womankind. Mitt Romney ought to get a focus group or something. Or just talk to some other women (but careful, Mitt. There are literally BILLIONS of us out there, and yeah, I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but believe me, it isn’t).
- If raising kids is so fucking hard on women (and yes, it is) perhaps it would be a good idea to let pregnant women make their own choices about whether to have said kids. And yeah, I know it was cheeky of me to slip that one in. But I’m like that.
Right, that’s it. I think I’ve said it, but I’ll leave it to the First Lady for a summing up:
Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.
Uh, thanks and all, Michelle, but I for one am a right lazy sod. But hey, I appreciate the sentiments.