Sunday, April 15, 2012


We are all in this together-- and this thing we are doing, raising children?  It is a hard business.  It is not easy to mother when you live at or below the poverty level.  It is not easy to mother if you are wealthy.  It is not easy to mother if you work full time.  It is not easy to mother if you stay at home.  The business of motherhood is hard.  VERY. HARD.  It is demanding.  It is challenging.  It is heartbreaking.  It is rewarding.

And no matter what circumstances you find yourself as a mother, and though some of the problems will vary -- most of the problems are universal.

No matter the circumstance we women who are mothers share more in common than we'd all like to think.

So isn't it time to stop the rhetoric?

Hillary Rosen's ridiculous gaffe shows just how much animosity is out there when it comes to parenting choices and styles.  And it is time to STOP it.

We all need eachother.  We women could really accomplish something if we all banded together,   but we let rhetoric divide us.  In the words of another "Hillary,"  "It takes a village."

We all need every type of mother.  We need the moms who stay at home to volunteer at school and lead the brownie troupe.  We need the moms who go to work to continue blazing the path for us and our own girls to have the freedom to choose how they want to spend their time.

And aren't we all forgetting something?  Life is very long.  Most of these things we criticize are fleeting.  Most women (if not all women) will spend some portion of their life staying at home.  They may be caring for their own children or for an aging parent, but MOST will have a chance to focus on caregiving.  It may be for as short as 2 or 3 weeks or it may be for as long as 20 years or more.

And MOST women (if not all women) will spend some portion of their life working.  And we need to recognize that not all work is compensated.  Some will be executives.  Some salespeople.  Some will volunteer their labor.  Some will work full time.  Some will work part time.

So as is often the case . . .  the very situation we criticize and condemn today may very well be in our future.

So maybe we should all cut each other a little slack.  The truth is, success in motherhood has no defined path.  Success for one may in fact be failure to another.  We each value different outcomes.  The truth is failure happens.  Children don't always turn out how we hope.  And that happens no matter what path you chose.  There are no guarantees for success.

For most of us the most important thing is to make sure that we are happy with our choice. We are the ones who have to live with it.

And mostly we should cherish that we have a choice.  For every household at every income level you will find women who say they have to work and women who say they sacrifice to stay home.

Don't you get it???  We have the choice!

We live in a time like no other.  To be a woman, in America in 2012 is to have freedom greater than any woman in the history of the world.  To be a woman in America in 2012 is to have freedom greater than most women living now in other countries of the world.

We can choose to have children.  or not.

We can choose how many children to have. or how few.

We can choose an infinite amount of work / volunteer / stay home  arrangements.  Some jobs today have maternity leave  and flex time.  Some jobs have on site day care.  Some jobs do not.  All that matters is that we can choose what makes us happy and fulfilled.

So women, go. Be happy.  Be fulfilled.  Stop complaining that everyone is not doing it your way.    As Ann Romney said, "All [mothers] deserve respect."


Scott and Tobi said...

Good thoughts. You are an at home mother and yet you have a brilliant mind that can access and decide what is right or wrong for you. You can voice this opinion. That is what I felt so offensive in the article is the stance that working mothers can't have an opinion because unless they have worked they cannot possibly know what it is like to be poor and feel compelled to work to keep food on the table. I don't agree with that statement. One thing I know is that women can and do understand each other no matter the circumstances and when asked should share that opinion.

You and Anne Romney should always be respected for your thoughts and opinions you are both amazing women!

Love Tobi said...

I too have been following all of this and it has made me very sad. I agree with your comments. Thank you for sharing them so eloquently. God Bless all women, we need all the support and love we can get. Love Jennifer

Marci said...

This is so perfectly put Jamie! I know a working mom friend of mine who recently had her feeling hurt by a stay-at-home mom belittling the decision of working moms. It is hard no matter what and we all do what we need and want to do to best provide for our families. I'm going to share your post with her.

Twins Squared said...

Well said Jamie! I've never understood why one group of moms cares what the other group is or isn't doing. We all are wired differently and have different situations. I don't know why it's hard for so many to respect that other people can make the decisions that are best for them and their families.