The latest Twitter mommy war is coming not from mom bloggers, but from from the political trenches. If you haven’t heard, Democratic political advisor Hilary Rosen made some statements about whether or not the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romeny, Ann, “works.” As we in the mom blogging trenches know, insinuating that a work-at-home mom doesn’t work is a fast way to get a major smack down.
You can read the whole Twitter thread here, but to surmise, Ms. Rosen said, “Ann Romney never worked a day in her life” and Ann Romney said, “Yes I did I raised five boys” and Ms. Rosen, backpedaling, said, “Yeah, but you didn’t have to earn a paycheck while doing it like most American women.”
I was speaking about it with my friend Jo-Lynne, who is far more politically conservative than I am, and she summed it up succinctly saying, “No one is ever going to win the ‘I worked harder than she did’ argument.”
There have been much commentary on it on both sides. My personal favorite is a tweet from The Catholic League, who clearly thought there wasn’t enough fuel to the mommy war just with the “where does mom work” element, and decided to toss in another favorite – the adoption issue! With a heaping side of homophobia to boot (Ms. Rosen is an out lesbian). NOT GOOD.
I think Angie at A Whole Lot of Nothing said it well when she responded to the ridiculousness of the reaction to these tweets:
Of course she didn’t misspeak as 90% of rational listeners realize. Of course she was putting down every stay-at-home mom who ever chose to life the life of leisure. Of course there’s no war on women in the news culture where women are pitted against one another, forced to defend their beliefs in a public forum.Of course because Hilary Rosen is gay she doesn’t understand the plight of the straight woman because she didn’t birth her own children.
Attacking a woman who is at home with her kids does not further women’s issues or rights for that matter either. Not to sound kumbayaish- but we all have a job to do- whether we are lucky enough to do that job and to be there to make breakfast for our kids, do their laundry (oh what a joy that task is) to change diapers all day, do homework, shuttle kids to after school activities, make dinner, do bath times and then do it all over again 24/7, or we outsource some of that work to cleaning people and babysitters because we need an income as well- we are still ALL working mothers. We just have different kinds of work. None is more valuable than the other it is just different.
Now, I’m an old school East Coast Liberal, so my reaction to Ms. Rosen’s comments were a bit different. I clearly understood that she was trying to say that a woman such as Ms. Romney, because her vast wealth and status, is not really “average”. Few of us are able to parent with the financial resources she had, and Mitt Romney’s decision to use his wife as a great example of the “average American mom” is fairly misguided (but then, Michelle Obama with her $300,000 a year salary as a working mom isn’t really much better, I admit). But Ms. Rosen chose her words poorly, and has now made Ms. Romney look like an attacked mother – causing exactly the opposite reaction that she intended.
One thing is clear, though – wait, two things. One, the mommy wars always hurt ALL moms. Secondly?
We’re likely to see a LOT more Twitter wars during the upcoming election season.