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Rosen Vs. Romney: Catfight Between Working Moms And Stay-at-Home Moms

Jacqueline Yin |
April 14, 2012 | 10:34 a.m. PDT

Staff Contributor

(David, Creative Commons)
(David, Creative Commons)
Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen made remarks in an interview April 10, suggesting that Ann Romney, the 64-year-old mother of five, has never held a job in her life.

“What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, 'Well, you know my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues and when I listen to my wife that's what I'm hearing.' Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why do we worry about their future.”

The apparently very tech-savvy Ann Romney immediately tweeted back:

“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Mrs. Romney then went on Fox News to address the controversy:

“My career choice was to be a mother. I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices to have a career and raise family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that, that’s wonderful. But you know, there are other people that have a choice, we have to respect women in all those choices that they make.”

The point that Hilary Rosen is trying to make seems a little lost. I think that we can all agree that being a mother isn't easy. As a twenty-year old woman, I can say that one of my biggest fears is to be a mother because it is one of the hardest jobs in the world (if I can't even feed myself, how can I expect to feed other people?). Yet, working as a stay-at-home mother and working in the public sphere are two very different types of work, and this is apparently what people can't understand.

If you are a working at a bank, you don't pretend to be an expert as a doctor. You're not going to walk up to someone and tell them what kind of medicine they should take. Stay-at-home mothers have their own set of expertise. They can quiet down a room of rowdy children. They can inspire, or force (think Tiger Moms!) their children to become future generations of hope. I have nothing but respect for stay-at-home moms because they have a range of qualities that I myself seriously lack (such as patience, high EQ, and tolerance for noise, among others).

But just as I am a philosophy and law major, as well as a student, I don't plan on being an expert on a subject other than my major, or an expert on the working field. I do not have firsthand knowledge of the working world, because I am not an employee at a law firm, at Morgan Stanley, or at Target; I am a student. I do not know how to analyze art the way an art major would, because I philosophize all day (just kidding, my bachelor's degree is way more than that!). What I am trying to say is that different people are good at different things, and although one type of work may be different than another, that doesn't make it any less valuable. But a person who is skilled at one type of work should not pretend to be an expert on another in a field in which they have no experience.

Look, I get it. Stay-at-home moms have one of the toughest jobs in the world, but should their advice on economic issues be taken? It is true – Ann Romney hasn't worked a single day in her life in the public sphere. So, if I need parenting advice, I would definitely ask Romney. But, if I need an informed perspective on economic issues, I wouldn't. I would ask someone in the public sphere. And that, I think, is Hilary Rosen's point.



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