Ann Romney's choice to be a stay-at-home mom unexpectedly sparked fierce social debate and a pointed political controversy over the past week. But lost in the hullabaloo is an angle to the story that largely went unexamined: the extent to which religion influenced her decision to be a homemaker while raising five sons.
BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins detailed how and why Ann Romney's religious values played a significant role in prompting her to be a stay-at-home mom.
"While much of the debate has centered on class — with liberals casting full-time motherhood as a luxury for the rich, and conservatives hoping working-class women will identify with her — the fact is that even if Mitt were a middle-class schoolteacher, there's a good chance Ann still would have foregone a career," Coppins wrote. "That's because for many Latter-day Saint women, staying at home to raise children is less a lifestyle choice than religious one — a divinely-appreciated sacrifice that brings with it blessings, empowerment and spiritual prestige."
Coppins later added: "Many LDS women find their faith's emphasis on motherhood empowering. Mormonism holds that families sealed in temples will be bound together 'for time and all eternity' — a doctrine that places parenting in higher esteem than any secular accomplishments."
In the opinion of Slate political columnist David Weigel, Coppins' work added pertinent perspective to an issue that looked like it had already passed the point of media saturation. "McKay Coppins has done the impossible and spun a readable piece out of last week's fabricated 'mommy wars.' ... (He) adds the context about how the Mormon church prioritizes stay-at-home moms. Coppins, a member of the LDS Church, has been plugging away with good stories about this stuff."
A new Gallup poll reveals that 14 percent of American women are stay-at-home moms, a condition defined by the polling as "women (who) currently have a child under age 18 in their household and aren't formally employed."
"Whether stay-at-home mothers lack economic perspective is not something the Gallup data can speak to," Gallup's Lydia Saad wrote. "However, it does appear that stay-at-home mothers are more economically disadvantaged than working mothers, rather than more advantaged. And this may be directly related to education."