Oh for goodness sake, now we’re off on a ludicrous tangent about whether Ann Romney, wife of Mitt, has “worked a day in her life” as a stay-at-home mother of five. Of course, being a full-time mother and wife is work. Ask any woman. But if you want to know what challenges women face today, ask the women who have to do it all without the possibility of choosing to do it any other way, and without the wealth that allows being required to do it all infinitely more doable.
This “war on women” jousting isn’t about Ann Romney, and that was Hilary Rosen’s point, though she fumbled the point with a most inartful declarative sentence. But let’s not forget who thrust Ann Romney into the spotlight as the embodiment of the average American woman.
And it wasn’t Hilary Rosen.
When Mitt Romney volunteered that he fully understands the concerns of women — what keeps them up at night, worrying and fearful about the future — because he talks to his wife, he once again revealed the aristocratic blindness he’s acquired from a lifetime of toiling in the stratosphere of the 1 percent.
Millions of women would love to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. They can’t. They can’t even afford to for a year, much less a lifetime.
Mitt still thinks it’s a choice. Those snobbish, liberal elites like Rosen have just convinced American women being a stay-at-home mom has no value. Mitt’s on a crusade now, promoting the very likable Ann Romney as the epitome of the “real” American woman, and thus he understands what women (voters) care about in this election.
Except she’s not and he doesn’t. Ann Romney hasn’t struggled to balance a job, home and raising kids. Ann Romney hasn’t had to struggle for equal pay for equal work, or wonder how much she’s harmed her career when she takes time off to care for a sick child, or take a sick kid to the doctor, or misses work because her child care arrangements blew up through no fault of her own. Or wonder which bills she can afford to pay this month, or whether she, and maybe her husband too, can find work again after one or both been laid off, or wonder how she can manage to add higher education to her overflowing schedule so she can get a better job with more pay to take care of her family.
But if Mitt Romney wants to insist he understands the challenges and fears of American women today, he’s going to have to talk to more women than just his wife. He’s going to have to talk to women who wish they had choices. He’s going to have to talk to women who feel their tenuous hold on the American dream is slipping away and worry that policies that cater to the wealthy and the powerful, at the expense of the working middle class, will turn their troubled sleep into nightmares.