Friday, June 21, 2013

Repost: Oh, it's time for the Mommy Wars again?

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.

April 18, 2012

If you stay at home with your kids, great. If you do double duty by working outside your home and then do the stuff that keeps your household going in your off-hours, that's great, too.

I could kick Democratic TV pundit and political consultant Hilary Rosen, who single-handedly revived the so-called "Mommy Wars" several days ago when she said Ann Romney, the stay-at-home wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, had "never worked a day in her life."

Ann Romney took umbrage, and the controversy-starved national political media decided to play up this she-said/she-said issue, to the annoyance of those of us who want them to do a better job of reporting tangible, day-to-day news that affects us and our families.

It's a little funny that this issue is back in the news because of these two specific women, isn't it? I doubt I'm alone in thinking that I have very little in common with either Rosen, the well-paid former CEO of a large company, or Romney, the wife of a multimillionaire. Both of them may as well be from another planet, as far as I'm concerned.

Some moms stay at home because they think they need to do it, and others do it because they like it. Other moms work outside their homes because they think they need to do it, or because they like it (I work for both of those reasons).

Studies show little or no difference in outcomes for the children of either type of mom and neither choice is more morally correct than the other, so I really hate to see sniping about this issue.

Can't we just agree, as First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted, that "Every mother works hard, and all women deserve to be respected"?

Stay-at-home-moms, that means no smug comments about how motherhood is so important to you that you "just couldn't let someone else raise" your children. Work-outside-the-home-moms, that means no judgmental comments about how "easy" stay-at-home-moms have it, either.

And most of all, each and every mom should give herself a break. Don't let news reports about this contrived conflict between two political operatives shake your confidence about what you're doing.  Trust that you're making the right decisions for yourselves and your families, whether that means staying at home or working outside the home.

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