December 17, 2017

The One Part of the Hilary Rosen Mom Debate I Take Issue With

By Julie Samrick

Every so often the temperature spikes on the issue of working outside the home mothers versus stay-at-home moms.  Last week the topic was brought up once more when DNC advisor Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney,”has never worked a day in her life.”  I’ve mostly heard people defend stay-at-home moms since the conversation was reignited, and that staying at home to raise kids is, indeed, work.  


What I have also heard a lot of, and do take issue with, is that staying at home is a luxury (which implies it’s not hard work) or that it’s a gift only to the mom to stay home.  I agree- it has been a gift to stay home raising my family for the past 10 years, but I am glad I also gave that gift to my husband and my kids.  None of us would have it any other way.


However, it is a CHOICE to stay home- not a luxury.  My husband and I moved 100 miles from the area we’d lived our entire lives so we could afford to buy a house for our growing family, which was impossible to do in the Bay Area at the time.  If I’d chosen to work outside the home, we would still be in the Bay Area to this day.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s been a sacrifice, because again, I think it’s been a gift to our family, but we have had to make sacrifices.  We left everyone we knew and moved so I could stay home.  I remember wanting to sign my son up for weekly gymnastics classes but they were more than we could afford.  I remember budgeting for groceries in the early years of marriage, worried if I went over the weekly allocation.  I certainly haven’t had a luxurious life like some insinuate stay-at-home moms do, and 90% of the stay-at-home moms I know don’t either.


Yes, there are people who would love to stay home but can’t afford it, but there are also a lot of people who could stay home if they choose.


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  1. The item that jumped out at me about Rosen’s comment was, “Anne Romney doesn’t know about economics because she never worked a day in her life.” I think a stay-at-home mom would know better than most about the price of gas, groceries, clothing, school supplies, and extracurricular activities! Julie, you mentioned in your article that at the time you couldn’t afford gymnastics class, so it didn’t happen. That’s what a home economist does, right along with sticking to a grocery budget.

    Rosen’s comment was nonsensical and weird.

  2. Caroline Taylor says:

    I couldn’t agree more….this is also why we moved up here and out of the Bay Area, so I could raise my own kids and not have them in daycare. It IS a choice (for some at least) and I know we made the right one :-) I know a lot of people that put money into material things Cinstead of the valuable time they could be spending with their kids…and that too is a choice, just not ours! Life is short and we can never get that time back. Thanks for your great message :-)

  3. I find it unbelievable that anyone would question the legitimacy of mothering as work. I liked the bumper sticker, “Every mother is a working woman.” Having raised two sons, and then worked in two different highly competitive professions, I found mothering to be the most important, most difficult and most exhausting work of all. The well being of our children depends upon everything we say and do, in any given day.

    I also find it tragic that so many women do not have the option to stay home with their children, and are literally forced back into the workplace while those children are still in their infancy. It’s become an expectation that no one person’s salary is adequate to meet a family’s needs. I wish that were not the case.

    Bravo to all mothers who make the choice you did.

  4. It was a silly statement at best; and people need to know that even when they are not in an actual televised interview, when they are a public person what they say will be heard much further than the room they are in!
    Choosing to be at home when you are a mother is a personal choice. Income can definitely influence this choice. If daycare costs more than the woman could make in the workforce, than the decision is not necessarily a first choice.
    If a mom feels she is not patient all day with her children, and chooses to work so that she can hire housework to be done by someone else and spend time at home with her children, then that may be a better choice.
    Nobody really knows what is best for someone else, and we all make choices in our lives and hope for the best outcome.
    Mrs. Romney has a very different life from the average American mother. But that does not mean that she should be criticized or judged. I am sure that she has spent many hours volunteering with church activities and helping her husband with career responsibilities.
    As a woman with five children, I know that families as large as hers are a constant 24 hour job. I doubt if she does her own laundry or cuts the grass!! I would bet that she does not worry about paying the gas bill. The everyday pressure of raising a family is absolutely made easier with wealth. The public scrutiny Mrs. Romney lives with is another type of stress and perhaps one that most of us would prefer not to experience!
    Each of us decides what we need to do and I wish women would give each other support more often than criticism!

  5. Vallerie Yergensen says:

    Yep. I truly believe it’s in the best interest of children and society if a parent and/or grandparent actually raises the children and is simply there. Why have kids if you’re not going to spend time with them? Sometimes it really can’t happen but usually it’s a choice. I think a lot of people fool themselves into thinking they have no choice when they really do! Also, a lot of people don’t seem to appreciate the value of homemaking and feel a need to do something deemed more worthwhile. It’s sad. I’m standing-up for homemaking! I think it makes the whole world a much better place. I’d live in a van down by the river to make it happen if necessary. A nice, cozy van. :)


    Let’s make sure we understand what Rosen actually said:

    “What you have,” she told Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night, “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?” Rosen observed. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.”

    By the standards of most American women, Anne Romney’s version of “work,” managing a large and wealthy household, has almost nothing to do with their lives.

    Don’t let the Republicans reframe this debate dishonestly. Hilary Rosen is not bashing stay-at-home moms, just calling out the Romneys on their disconnectedness to the concerns of average Americans.

  7. Although I do not agree with the statement about Ann Romney, I do believe that being a SAHM is indeed a luxury. A luxury not in the sense of living life in a 5 star hotel by the beach …but a luxury to have such an option & choice. Not everyone has that choice! As a single mother I am the SOLE financial provider for my self and my child. If I don’t work, My child and I will have no money to live on. No matter how many things we forfeit such as vacations, brand names, eating out, cable tv, etc ….someone must still make the mortgage payments, pay for utilities, gas, school supplies, medical insurance, property taxes, food, clothes – your basic necessary things to survive. In this economy, not everyone can move to a cheaper area as many of our properties are upside down now. In my view it is a luxury to be able to stay at home while not having to have to go out and make the money to pay for that home, car, etc. In my line of work I can not work from home nor can I work part-time. More then anything would I like to pick up my child from school everyday as soon as school ends rather than have him stay in after-care programs till 6:00pm. In my life I do what both a mom & a dad does. I take care of my child in every way, I keep a clean home, I make the money to sustain it and I hardly have any time left for myself – which is not the case for most SAHM’s. With all due respect to Mrs. Romney, I do not believe that she understands the financial, emotional and physical struggle of a working mom as she had the luxury of being able to choose to stay home and raise her kids or go to work and raise her kids.

  8. Katie Sanderson says:

    Well said Julie! I couldn’t agree more with you!

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