Mothers Beware: Either Way You Are Screwed.

Via on Apr 15, 2012

It just doesn’t matter whether or not a mother chooses to work outside the home.

Either way, you are screwed.

The Democratic Political Consultant Hilary Rosen recently pointed a finger at Ann Romney saying that she had never worked a day in her life. So now that we have once again ripped the Band-Aid off the guilty conscious of mothers everywhere, let me settle this once and for all.

Yes it’s true that Ann Romney probably did not do too much work outside of raising five boys (OMG) which she started having pretty much the day she graduated college. I am only raising two boys which I had in mid-life, so my heart goes out to her. I’m not a Republican, (although I am a very pissed off Democrat), but I am a mother and so I speak the language of every mother who perhaps considered beating her child but had a drink instead. And I understand that Ann Romney, being a Mormon, did not even have that option.

Before you get too upset about whether mothers should work outside the home and either stop baking cookies or throw those organic cookies your neighbor brought you out the window, may I suggest you stop and consider: there are no winners here. However, the very good news is that there are fewer losers as well.

Just by having the conversation of what is best for our children and our families’ means we have some higher awareness around a very difficult decision. Waking up is always the first step toward making our lives better. I read that somewhere, I’m sure.

In my case, I was a working mother, and my husband is a working father. I used to be a very good senior executive and completely in control of my life until I found myself at the San Francisco airport one day trying to get home to my children. It was foggy and every single flight fell off the board. I called my nanny in Los Angeles (the husband was in Washington D.C.) and she said, “If someone does not walk in this door at 5:00 p.m., I am not coming back in the morning.” It was 4:00 p.m.

So I marched to the front of the line, explained in a calm and rational voice that it was an emergency and I had to get on the next flight to L.A. And the woman said that would be tomorrow. The man behind me said, “If you planned better this wouldn’t happen to you.” And that is when I hit an innocent civilian.

Yes, I hit this man right in the kisser so to speak. And then with a rage I didn’t know existed inside me, I started to “girl-slap” him until someone pulled me off. I wasn’t just angry at his obnoxious self-righteousness. I was angry at the hopelessness of losing my third nanny in a year, and still not being happy with my life or how my kids were being raised.

Frankly, I did not quit that day. I quit a few weeks later when my son, in his own rage at the helplessness he must have felt with yet another nanny and his mother driving away from his pre-school, tried to throw himself through the glass window. So I stopped the car, went inside, picked him up and made a huge change in our lives. This wasn’t worth it.

Now I really like when people say to me that I have the “luxury” of not working, of relying on my husband for security and that I don’t know how it is to be a working mother. Let me tell you, it’s great to cut your income in half, to wonder if you can afford luxuries like college, or a new roof, and to know, every single day, that you kind of suck at your “job.” You see, I was really good at work. But every mother second guesses how she raises her family. I didn’t even drink until I had children!

Ann Romney made the choices that worked for her. I made the choices that worked for me. Many mothers have no choice whatsoever and must work in order to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads. If we can take a lesson from yoga, it would be “Ahimsa,” or to have no judgment. It’s not like the man said, that if we planned better this wouldn’t have happened to us. Life does just happen to us, and we all do the best we can. Hopefully, nobody gets hurt along the way.

~

Editor: Kate Bartolotta

About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.

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26 Responses to “Mothers Beware: Either Way You Are Screwed.”

  1. Gina says:

    Bravo! Well said! Why can't mother's support one another, period. It is a freaking hard job and except for the rare horrible exceptions we are all trying to do our best.

  2. jon says:

    you hit someone for an off handed comment? if you were a man you would have been charged with assault and by you use of quotations to say girl-slap I dont think you realize that violence is violence regardless of the gender of the person committing it.

  3. confused says:

    So having children "just happened" for you?? Didn't you choose to have your own genetic children?? and you decide on how many children you would like to have??

    Things always go wrong all the time, whether you have children or not. Maybe you could drive from San Fransisco to LA instead of hitting the "poor man" or have a back-up plan, have a second nanny available or raise hourly rate to much higher amount to keep the nanny happy since you know your husband will be in Washington.

    For me to say that "having child(ren)" is not just something that "happened", a lot of neglected children arrived on planet Earth with very poor planning.

    • Michelle K says:

      i may be wrong, but i don't think the author was saying that having children "just happened", i think she was referring to the other things that can crop up every day when you are trying to juggle work and family, and things like cancelled flights "just happen".

  4. Michelle K says:

    Michelle i congratulate you for raising this difficult subject, and for doing so with honesty. Your admission that you flew off the handle and hit an "innocent civilian" is obviously not something you're proud of, and to those who are criticising you for doing so – i think you are both missing the point – she obviously lost control and realised she needed to make some changes in her life, for the good of her kids and herself! in a perfect world things wouldnt have got to that point of course, and i'm not condoning her bevaviour, but we have all done things in the heat of the moment that we regret – get off your high horses for a moment and get back in the real world for goodness sake!

    • jon says:

      the authors use of diminishing language, "civilan" and "girl slap" dont speak to her showing true regret. I have no pity for a privileged woman with nanny and anger issues. I think you should get back into the real world where 99 % of people don't have nannies and where hitting someone is a crime rather than simply a regret.

      • missbernklau says:

        Hm. I think you either didn't read the whole blog or you missed the entire point of it.

        Let me preface by saying I am not a mother but these are just some observations and thoughts I have about this whole "You're a shitty mom if you go to work after having kids but you're also a privileged, rich bitch if you stay home and find a way to make it on one salary and care for your kids" thing:

        No body knows the whole story with why a mom can or can't stay home and care for the kids, which is why it is unfair for ANYONE, mother or not, to assume anything one way or another about status/social class/personality/character, etc. Being a mom is fucking hard, I'm not a mother, but it seems like other mothers are the worst judges of other mothers, ironically enough.

        In one breath you judge the author and assume she is privileged because she was able to afford a nanny and then go on and say she is privileged because she is now staying at home with her kids.

        I would venture to guess the only reason why she could afford a nanny was because she and her husband were working, I'm also sure that childcare was a huge chunk of both of their salaries. It's also not fair to assume that surviving off of one salary instead of two and staying at home to care for kids is easier or even a "privileged" life. Again, the author had to make a tough choice, to leave it to her husband to support the family (which, I'm sure makes a lot of women feel bad in some way. I could be projecting but I know I would feel worried all the time that we were hinging everything on my husband and his job; it would just seem like a lot of pressure for one person, even if they do have a well-paying job, if the sole bread-winner loses said job there is no back-up salary.) or she could continue working and leaving her kids with nannies that come and go and coming home tired and frazzled.

        And people like to think that stay-at-home-moms have it easy. I'm not even going to go into why it's anything but easy, I don't think I need to.

        Also, the man that she hit just happened to be goodly enough not to press charges (or maybe he did and she's saving the story for another blog!), of course, it would be considered a crime if the victim wanted to take it that far. Don't assume that she's of the 1% because she didn't get charged with assault or something.

        • jon says:

          I did read the entire article and I understand the point. You are assuming a lot things I didn't say (you're entire first paragraph and the third). If you can't assume anything from her comment about being a senior executive then I don't know how to respond.

          If you believe having a nanny is not privileged then you are ignorant. Please bear in mind that the average world income is around $7,000. Most people in North America are privileged by most reasonable standards.

    • Confused says:

      Someone called Kim Jong-un "fat", he then "lost control" and having access to nuclear weapon, decide to blew up the person who called him "fat" including all their relatives, is that acceptable for you??

      Kim Jong-un then realized he need to go on diet, eat healthy food and do a lot of exercise to "make some changes" in his life for the good of himself and the people in the planet. How does that sound to you??

      At least Kim Jong-un got an excuse saying "hey I never experiencing parenting myself".

      So should we start excusing the so called "parent"??

      • theveganasana says:

        Are you equating hitting someone to using a nuclear weapon? Really?

        I don't know if you've ever heard the saying "A done bun can't be undone," but I think it applies here. Michelle can't go back and "unhit" the man that she hit.

        So, it seems to me that the important message she is sharing is that we need to figure out ways to help mothers live their choices in a way that doesn't lead to the kind of psychological and emotional stress that can lead to such an event. Why look back at things that happened and can't be corrected instead of forward?

        • Confused says:

          who are "we" you mentioned about?? How these "we" figure out ways to help mothers live their "choices".

          And yes, I equate hitting someone to using a nuclear weapon. Hitting someone is one to one scale, use a bit of energy, nuclear weapon is one to many scale, use a lot more energy.

          Everything that has happened should be viewed as lessons, that's why "need to look at things that already happened"!!!!

          • theveganasana says:

            We, as in the larger culture. And it will mean cultural shifts, which is part of the reason we engage such discussions on ej.

            While I agree with you that we have to learn lessons from the past, I will maintain that there is a difference between doing that and berating someone for her actions by comparing them to nuclear war.

            Yes, every violent action is related, but not equal. The point you make of scale is an important one. One child pushing another on a playground is not the same as one individual murdering another, even if they are both actions of violence. To position it as if they were equally bad is, at best, illogical. It is also unnecessarily unkind, violent in a sense, but certainly not *equal* to a physical assault.

  5. chrissy says:

    always enjoy your articles. always!

  6. theveganasana says:

    Posted to Elephant Family on Facebook and Twitter.

    Lorin Arnold
    Blogger at The VeganAsana
    Editor for Elephant Food and Elephant Family.

  7. Kristie says:

    I think what is frustrating a lot of moms (and I have been both a stay at home mom and a working mom) is that Ann Romney had the luxury of full time nannies and housekeepers. To equate that experience of mothering to what the typical mother experiences (whether she is cutting half her family's salary to stay home with the day to day drudgery or whether she is a single full time work outside the home mom raising 5 kids) feels a bit disproportionate. The experience is different, and does not show that she is in touch with what most families deal with on a day to day basis.

    • missbernklau says:

      True, Mrs. Romney's experience is/was a lot different than most mothers with 5 kids, yes, she had additional help with nannies (which would be great for any mom, every mom/single parent deserves a break from that 24-hour-a-day job)…but it's not fair for other women to say "you haven't worked a day in your life" to a mother that stays at home and never earned money outside the home…even if she did have nannies to help her. We don't know what kind of mom she was.

      • Kristie says:

        I'm not disagreeing, nor am I criticizing her parenting. I simply point that out to maybe shine some light on where the frustration lies. Its the same as when she compared Mitt and her experience of being full time students living off of a stock portfolio and 'struggling' to what most full time students go through to make ends meet without that luxury. There is a disconnect there that does not show a true understanding of what the average American lives daily.

  8. Thank you for all your comments. I haven't hit anyone since I started practicing yoga and gave up almost all meat. Honest. However, if you show me a mother who has never "lost it," who never, not once flew off the handle, then I will show you a woman with very good prescription meds.

    • Shubs says:

      Truth. Yoga helps in balancing out these bursts. If you can step back and think about what you are saying and how you react to everything, it makes you a better person. Loved the article.

  9. Loved this post. So sick of people treating parenting as a competition. It's hard work no matter how you slice it, and we all deserve a glass of wine at some point in the midst of it (like umm…right now!).

    • yogasamurai says:

      I was tempted to check what time of day it was when you made this "wine" comment. But as we used to say in my hard core drinking days, it's ALWAYS 5 o'clock somewhere in the world. And we're global citizens after all….

  10. [...] ago that there is one thing holding women back from taking that special leap into new territory: other women. Men know this, and if we as women take a step back and see what’s real, we too will recognize [...]

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  12. thirtydaysofyoga says:

    Your post made me cry! I think it was brave of you to post this because as you can see from the comments, people will jump right on that wagon and in my humble opinion, miss the point. Thanks for sharing your story. xxx

  13. yogurt says:

    Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.
    Mark Twain

    "obnoxious self-righteousness" nothing more need be said really.

  14. [...] had a school closure all week, which posed an interesting situation for me. Yes, I am a full-time working mom. My first thought when I heard about the school staff in-service days was, “I can totally do [...]

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