Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why I Can't Relate to Ann Romney

I'm probably coming a little late to this party, but today I've been listening to the controversy about Ann Romney giving her husband advice on what women are worried about and Hillary Rosen criticizing her for "never working a day in her life," and Ann Romney criticizing Hillary Rosen for criticizing stay-at-home-moms and the political pundits criticizing Rosen for giving the Romney campaign the "gift" of having women rush to Ann's defense.  

Good stinkin' grief.

Let me be clear:  I am not in any way criticizing stay-at-home moms.  Nor do I believe that having money means that you never experience problems.

But here's the thing.  Staying home with my (hypothetical) kids will never be an option for me.  I don't think I'd even want it, but it will still never be an option.  Having money like Ann Romney's gives you that option, and an infinite number of other options that most of us don't have.  It creates a difference between the Me's of the world and the Ann Romney's that I don't think could ever be overcome.  So HOW DARE she try to speak to the economic concerns of women like the Me's?

And the more I thought about what seems to me to be an insurmountable gap between myself and Mrs. Romney, I began to realize that the same difference exists in many ways between myself and Mrs. Obama.  The two of them -- and Hillarys Clinton and Rosen, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and a whole host of other powerful women -- live in a world that doesn't resemble mine in the slightest.  I honestly don't know what those women worry about, but I doubt they worry about paying for gas to get to work, or whether they remembered to turn on the crockpot, or finding time to exercise and do laundry both IN THE SAME DAY.

I was raised by another woman who never had the option to stay home with her kids -- my mother worked every day of her adult life, and continues to do so.  And she was raised by my grandmother, who worked every day of her life.  It doesn't make them any better, or any worse, than those women who can and do make a different decision.  But it makes them women like me.  THEY are the kind of women I can relate to.

And I can't help but think, maybe if the political pundits asked THEM what women are really worried about these days, something might actually get done around here.