That’s what SHE said

Today’s involuntary guest post is brought to you by Jill, over on Feministe. I agree with her googolplex, plus one.

Motherhood is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD (unless you are poor) 

A brief addition to yesterday’s post, where I speculated that for all their blustering about how Ann Romney made a choice to stay home and raise her five boys and that’s a wonderful choice because motherhood is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD and Democrats hate stay-at-home moms, Mitt Romney (and Republicans generally) only think you’re a stay-at-home mom if you’re white and wealthy and heterosexual: Well look at that.

Women who stay at home to raise their children should be given federal assistance for child care so that they can enter the job market and “have the dignity of work,” Mitt Romney said in January.

Mitt Romney, however, judging by his January remark, views stay-at-home moms who are supported by federal assistance much differently than those backed by hundreds of millions in private equity income. Poor women, he said, shouldn’t be given a choice, but instead should be required to work outside the home to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. “[E]ven if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work,” Romney said of moms on TANF.

Recalling his effort as governor to increase the amount of time women on welfare in Massachusetts were required to work, Romney noted that some had considered his proposal “heartless,” but he argued that the women would be better off having “the dignity of work” — a suggestion Ann Romney would likely take issue with.

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”

Either Romney doesn’t view stay-at-home parenting as “work,” or he thinks that the only dignified work happens outside the home. Which speaks volumes about the importance he places on his wife’s work.

What Hilary Rosen said was sloppy, but let’s focus on the people with the real power here: Folks like Mitt Romney, who talk a big game about motherhood being THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD and how his wife’s job was so much more important than his, but don’t consider raising children to be real work, and who certainly don’t want to make full-time child-rearing a realistic option for people who are not very wealthy (and, notably, don’t want to make it a true choice for people who are not wealthy and who make the rational financial decision to stay home, given the cost of childcare vs. their own wages).

The crux of the issue is that Mitt Romney’s definition of “stay-at-home mom,” like his definition of “good mom,” is limited to women in his racial group and economic class. I would wager a lot of money that when Romney made those comments in January, he wasn’t even thinking of the term “stay-at-home mom” — because a low-income mother who relies on state aid is not a stay-at-home mom. She’s a welfare cheat, or lazy, or a drain on society. She’s undignified.

But sure, let’s keep talking about two stupid sentences uttered by Hilary Rosen were offensive. Nothing else to see here!

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About Betty Fokker

I'm a stay-at-home feminist mom.
This entry was posted in daughters, Feminism, I like this, dammit., involuntary guest post, motherhood, shit I think y'all should know. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to That’s what SHE said

  1. Well, however unfortunate the phrasing of Hilary Rosen’s remarks were, you can be dam’ sure she was right. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Ann Romney had Help. “Help” as in a cook, a housekeeper, a nanny… With 20 Million bucks a year rolling it, I find it hard to believe she was changing poopy diapers or cooking mac ‘n’ cheese lunches or baking cookies for the school fundraiser (she may have picked out the recipe for the kitchen help, but that was probably it). Maybe once in while, when the mood struck. But otherwise? C’mon. Ann Romney certainly never had to pass up on her weekly bridge afternoon or biweekly spa appt because one of her five boys had the flu (and it is doubtful that she was cleaning up the urp when the barfing kid didn’t make it all the way to his private bathroom). And she didn’t need to homeschool herself, she could hire private tutors to get the kids through.

    Am I the only one to find it INSULTING that she and her dorky husband want to compare her experience to that of mothers who truly give up their own luxuries (like a full night’s sleep) to stay and take care of the kids? Who cook and clean and chaffeur and give up their once-a-year girls’ night out because one of the kids has flu or needs help with that science project??

    Really.It’s like listening to the Queen of England complain about the price of new Rolls…or upset because the footmen are taking the corgis on their walkies long enough.

    Why should you be surprised that Romney speaks with a forked tongue? He just sees the rest of us as little people who are not smart enough to earn the big bucks.

    And, of course, non-rich mothers all happier trying to juggle low-paying non-insured jobs than staying at home with the kids….)

    Sheesh. What do you expect from a guy who believes his dog is happier on the roof of the car. No matter what he tries to say, if the dog was pooping up there in his crate — apparently flying poop forced Mitt to stop and let him have a run — the dog was NOT HAPPIER.

    And neither are we.

  2. He could do so much damage if elected.
    GCB this is worded so well: “Why should you be surprised that Romney speaks with a forked tongue? He just sees the rest of us as little people who are not smart enough to earn the big bucks.”
    So, so true.

  3. Robin says:

    We have to also look at our fellow women in this attitude. I have had to defend my SAHM status more times than I can count to women, not men. The most common bullshit? “How can you possibly be too busy to do (place anything here)? You don’t work.”

    When I was much younger we were fighting men for our right to choose to work. Now we’re fighting men AND women for our right to choose to stay home.

  4. Anastasia says:

    All very good points. I certainly agree.

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