April 16, 2012

Mothers Beware: Either Way You Are Screwed.

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

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