Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We're All Moms

It was the quote heard around the world: Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life.”

Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen was discussing Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s alleged disconnect with women voters and, inadvertently, according to Ms. Rosen, restarted the age-old debate between stay-at-home moms and working moms.

Rosen has since apologized, saying she never meant to start this argument. “I respect women and moms all the time... This is not a debate between working moms and stay-at-home moms.”

But unfortunately, that’s exactly what is has turned into, and it certainly isn’t a new discussion.

Every few years, someone writes a book, publishes an article or reports on a survey that pits (stay-at-home) mothers against (working) mothers. And for what purpose?

We are all moms; we all work; we all love our children; and we are all doing the best we can. That’s it. What more is there to say?

Motherhood is the toughest “job” in the world, with no pay, often times cranky and/or sick co-workers and crazy hours. (Luckily the benefits make it all worthwhile.)

I have been lucky enough to be able to stay at home and raise my children. It isn’t easy – financially, emotionally or mentally. Many a morning, I wished I was leaving with my husband, instead of cleaning up vomit while trying to soothe a crying baby with Barney singing in the background – all on 3 hours of sleep! However, I wouldn’t have changed any of it. (Well, almost any of it!)

Many of my friends and family members work outside the house, either out of necessity or by choice. They too deal with sick, crying children and then need to “dress up” and head to an office and pretend their minds are on their jobs, and not the children they left behind.

Is one better than the other? Of course not.

One of the toughest emotions every mother has to deal with is guilt – are we doing enough for our children?

If we are at home, we wonder if we should be working to bring in extra money to help our family and/or to show our children, especially our daughters, that we can be independent.

If we are working, perhaps we feel we should be at home raising our children ourselves, instead of having others experience their first word or first step.

So many of us beat ourselves up, wondering if we are doing the right thing. Well, here’s the point – there really isn’t one “right thing” for everyone. You have to do what is right for you and your family. And that decision is no one else’s business.

I believe Ms. Rosen when she says she wasn’t attacking Mrs. Romney for her decision to stay at home and raise her children. What upsets me is that her poor choice of words has started this debate between moms - again. We battle our children, our husbands and our bosses. Do we really need to battle each other?

We are all doing the best we can. I know one mom who uses that phrase as her mantra. When things get tough – she is running late to pick up her daughter or she forgets to send in snack for Girl Scouts – she tells herself, “I’m doing the best I can.”

And isn’t that what it’s all about? Doing the best that we can – at home, at work, with our spouses, our families and in our lives. We’re all moms – let’s stick together.

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