As the self proclaimed queen of sticking my foot in my mouth, I’ve cringed every time I’ve read anything about the recent Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney dust up. If you haven’t heard, Hilary Rosen wrote a tweet that has sparked a controversy all over the internet and according to the media, a mommy war.
Please. Just… Please.
What was the tweet? Rosen tweeted, “His [Romney's] 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.” Many people immediately took this as an affront to stay at home mothers, which is unfortunate because then the point Rosen was trying to make was totally missed.
The point here is that two people, Ann and Mitt Romney, who were both raised by affluent parents and that have never had to struggle economically in their lives have no idea what it is like for the average American to get by on a day to day basis. Ann Romney has never had to worry about how a pound of pinto beans could feed her family for three days. She’s never stood in a parking lot crying realizing she has no way to pick up her children after the repo man took her car. She has never felt the sharp judgment of a cashier as she handed over WIC cards or food stamps. She’s never had to juggle her bills to be sure that everything would get paid or hoped that the water company would give her just one extra week to make a payment. Or a myriad of other things that the average to low income person goes through every single day of their lives.
None of that means that Ann Romney is not a good mother. I’m sure she has wiped her share of bottoms, kissed tons of booboos (she does have FIVE boys), nursed a fever during the middle of the night, worried over whether her kids would be bullied, checked enough homework to make your eyes swim, rocked five babies to sleep, simultaneously wept and cheered over first steps, and hoped, prayed, and worried that she was doing everything she could to be the best mother possible. Of course she has. Because she is a mother, and that is what we ALL do. Whether we stay at home, work at home or work outside the home. We are all the same.
I’m so tired of these so called mommy wars. You want to know where the real mommy wars rage? Within ourselves. This is really a fight of you vs. you. I know that I’ve had my share of guilt and doubt over every single decision that I’ve made as a mother. That is why when someone questions one of my choices, whether it be to co-sleep, vaccinate, not breastfeed, etc., my chest immediately puffs up and I go on the defensive. Why? Because someone else is voicing my internal doubts and I feel like I have to justify my decisions to the world. Because if I don’t then I’ve failed.
Most mothers I know, most women in fact, do not battle it out with one another. We love and support, encourage and nurture each other. Because that’s what we do. We are mothers to our very core and it is just our nature to care for others. Is there the odd one out that is always criticizing and passing judgment? Of course there is. But just imagine the war that she is waging within herself. If she is trying so hard to convince the world that she is 100% right, then just imagine how hard she is trying to convince herself.
Here’s the challenge… Let’s not be distracted by this. Let us keep our focus on the things that really matter to us. Our individual rights and freedoms, education, and the economy. Those are mine. Yours may be different. That’s okay. But please don’t be distracted by these non-existent mommy wars. The next time someone disagrees look at her and say, “you are a good mother. I think you are doing a good job.” Then walk away and leave it at that. And if you ever need someone to encourage you, or to remind you that YOU are a good mother, come to me. I will be more than happy to lift you up.