War on drugs. War on crime. War on terrorism. War on poverty.
Really? How can that phrase even exist? The word “mommy” and the word “war” should never be used together. Mommies at war. It hurts to even think that sentence, let alone say it out loud.
We’re all familiar now with those eight words Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen undoubtedly wishes she could take back regarding Ann Romney: “She never worked a day in her life.” And we know what Ann Romney said on Twitter in response, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
A firestorm of many asking “how dare you?” followed. Once that begins, it can never lead to good. “How dare you?” is never as effective or productive or enlightened as “I’m sorry,” in this humble mommy’s opinion.
“What does a woman (or man) save a family by making the choice to stay home?” Chris Redgrave, senior vice president with Zions Bank and host of "Speaking on Business," asked on “A Woman’s View.” “These are all choices.”
“Coming from an economic perspective, for years our forms of measurement have been criticized for not capturing work at home, because it certainly contributes to the national wealth,” Natalie Gochnour, executive vice president and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, explained. “What could be more important than children being well cared for? If they’re in day care, it’s included in the economic measurement, but if they’re cared for in the home, it’s not.”
“A mother choosing to stay home and care for her children at home is a great choice,” Gochnour added.
There it is — that choice word again. Such a threatening little word. If my neighbor chooses to stay home and care for her kids, why does that have to threaten me? It doesn’t. Why can’t I respect that, applaud that, even celebrate that? And if I choose to go to work while my husband stays home and cares for the kids, why can’t she similarly respect, applaud and celebrate that?
We don’t need to throw the word feminist around like it’s a spitball at women who defend the rights of other women, and we don’t need to denigrate the choices of women who choose not to identify themselves with that word. We are all sisters, are we not? Whether we have children or not, whether we work inside or out of the home, whether we are Republican or Democrat or Independent or entirely apolitical? Can we not celebrate each other’s choices and just plain help each other when we need help? Period. For the sake of the children, if not ourselves, or the children in ourselves.
Ann Romney is such a lovely woman, so strong and capable. So is Michelle Obama. Is it possible for us to say that without breaking out in hives? It was for my guests on “A Woman’s View.”
“A first lady is so important as an additive to the presidency. In this case with Ann Romney and Michelle Obama, what two great women,” Gochnour, a registered Republican, said with ease, even pride.
“And both so gentle,” Redgrave added. “And you look at Ann, pushing through her health issues, such grace. In fact, they both do.”
“Think about them being introduced on the national stage and how proud we can be of either one of them,” Gochnour added.
And I did. I saw them standing there, next to their husbands, and I felt a moment of pride. In them. In the women they are. In the mothers they are. In the choices they’ve made. So unlike so many of our own choices, so like some, but it doesn’t matter. These were not Mommy Wars I was feeling.
These were Mommy Ours.