You and I have never met. Allow me to introduce myself: I am a stay at home mom (SAHM, according to my iPhone auto-correct. Funny thing, it doesn't even capitalize Democratic Strategist...but I digress.)
I am an educated, independent 34 year-old woman. I am a parent, wife, self-employed part-time and, contrary to your comments, have most certainly "dealt with the kinds of economic issues that the majority of the women in this country are facing".
To be honest, I didn't actually see the broadcast on CNN where you made reference to Ann Romney's lack of connection with the modern woman because of two reasons: (a) I was working, and (b) one of the financial sacrifices we've made to (quoting you) "afford" me the ability to be a SAHM is to cut down our previously ridiculous cable bill to a minimum charge for basic network channels and internet. I did happen to catch a segment on the evening news that night, however.
I wasn't even going to write this letter, but alas, this pesky sense of you've-got-to-be-kidding-me has just won out. Plus, seeing as how I don't have a real job, I obviously have an abundance of time on my hands nibbling bonbons and sipping wine.
We all make assumptions about people based on past experiences. My assumptions, for instance, about siblings were limited to what I had observed in my friends' families before I had our second child, seeing as how I was an only child. Likewise, my assumptions about you from the NBC news segment was that you were a single male. And from Mars.
When my husband corrected me from the living room, I was floored. Speechless. Because my assumptions about you couldn't possibly have been that wrong. Okay, maybe you weren't from Mars. But certainly you weren't a woman. And certainly not a mother.
Becoming a mother changed everything I thought I knew. I'll admit - before my daughter was born my perceptions of the SAHM were far different than those of the career woman. But not once did I assume it wasn't work.
One of your errs in this arena is that you have apparently confused parenting with being a SAHM. Those are two different roles. Everyone with a child is a parent. But while my husband is at work, my job is to be a SAHM. He is entrusting me to care for our children just as we would an outside caregiver if we were both working outside the home. I chose this career, and may someday choose to work outside the home again. But until then, my job is to guide our children on their path to becoming successful adults. You may want to consider coming into the 21st century and making that distinction.
Before I became a SAHM, we had a housekeeper. We ate out. A lot. When we didn't, we made almost daily trips to the grocery. We had an accountant. We had a CPA. We paid for childcare. I wore high heels. Okay, so that's beside the point. But you get the idea.
Now my job description includes making the most of every dollar my husband earns. It includes housekeeping, grocery shopping and meal planning, keeping our books, doing our taxes, and yes -- caring for our children while my husband is working. For us, it was a matter of re-organizing. It isn't for everyone. But neither is politics. Or real estate. Or any other of the thousands of careers out there. And just like any of these, if I don't perform, I'm out. If I sip wine and pop bonbons every day, I have no doubt my husband will fire my lazy buns and require I find other employment. Forget my husband, I'd fire myself!
Further, being a SAHM is no different than many other careers in that there are those who do the minimum and those who excel. There are those who show up late, leave early, take every break the law affords them and max out their sick days. And there are those who show up early, leave late, use critical thinking to improve the quality of their workplace and muscle through a cold. If the laundry is unfolded at the end of the day, how is it different than the untouched pile of papers on your desk? How is a rescheduled meeting any different than me also re-prioritizing my day?
One of your supporters, Bill Maher, furthered your comment by saying there is "a big difference between being a mother and getting getting your a-- out of the door at 7 a.m. when it’s cold, having to deal with the boss, being in a workplace, where even if you're unhappy you can’t show it for 8 hours, that is kind of a different kind of tough thing". I'll refrain from sharing my thoughts on Mr. Bill's rant, but I mention it to show you the quality of person that agrees with you. [Seriously, though -- an 8 hour day? My husband works 60 hours a week. And so I work 60 hours a week. Someone needs to bring Mr. Bill to my house for some continuing education.]
The larger issue here is that of ignorance. You took it upon yourself to speak not only as a political strategist, but on behalf of the modern woman. Let me be clear: you do not speak for the modern woman. The modern woman is one of self-worth, confidence, style, direction and ambition. Who are you to say my self-worth is lost in being a SAHM? Or that my ambition is goes to waste?
I realize these mini TV debates that pit opposing sides against each other in a bullpen sort of environment are aimed to produce the sort of off the cuff and controversial comment you made, but have you stopped since to consider the ramifications? You not only alienated a segment of the population in an election year, but you've indirectly offended an equally large segment of the opposing sex: our husbands.
Consider for a moment the type of man who is married to this lazy, spoiled, "old-fashioned" women so out of touch with modern society. My husband works extremely hard to provide for his family. Is he wasting his money? Is he an idiot? Should he love or respect me less because I have "never worked a day in [my] life"? When did being a self-sacrificing man become a detriment to society? And if Mitt Romney respects his wife enough to ask her opinion -- and, further, mention that it in a political arena -- that makes him old fashioned? What would you have him do -- not ask her opinion, or just not mention it in public? You may want to reconsider who in this scenario is being old fashioned.
I am not a fan of Mitt Romney. But I am certainly offended and insulted by you. Which, by default, makes me think a little more of him than I did last week.
Get your sleep; I wouldn't wait up for that invite to the White House.
Hilary Rosen on AC360, 4.11.12
Hilary Rosen responds to backlash from her comments about Ann Romney, 4.12.12