Being a stay at home mom can be a matter of choice, but it can also be a matter of circumstances and not choice at all. Once upon a time in the dark ages of the 1950’s women were told to stay home by their husbands, the advertisers of household products touting their stuff on TV, and society in general. Even if you went to college the pressure was on, especially in junior and senior years, to find a man you could marry after graduation so you could stay home and raise his kids.
Earlier in our history women worked out of necessity, of financial need. Mostly, they stayed single, though not always. The opportunity to choose came with the 1960’s, the pill, and the rising prosperity of the time; all of which made choosing a career and marriage a real choice. Now, in many ways, the clock seems to be turning backward again. Some women are choosing to stay home because they can afford to through their husband’s job, and some are staying home because jobs are scarce, day care for young children is expensive, and they can manage on what their partners can bring home. Many of those forced out of their jobs by the recession will probably return to work when jobs are more plentiful. None of this means that women are unconcerned about the direction the economy is going. A person can be concerned regardless of circumstances of work and/or wealth.
There are still those women who work out of necessity to support themselves and their families; sometimes at 2 or 3 low-paying jobs when they can find them. For them, survival is all that matters. Sometimes a choice like that is painful. We love our children, and we sometimes have to leave them in the care of others who are not as reliable as they might be or as caring. I can remember shutting my eyes and trying hard not to think about the kids until I got home. We were lucky. We survived.
It seems to me that the entire media storm over Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney is silly. There’s truth on both sides. The Romney’s circumstances and their Mormon faith allowed Ann Romney the freedom to stay home, to not choose a career for herself. She did lots of other things in addition to raising her family, and should no be vilified for serving her community in whatever ways she could. Sometimes those ways can be just as satisfying as climbing whatever career path one chooses. Ms. Rosen made different choices, and the media made what she said seem a lot more snarky than was meant.
Are we ever going to quit pointing fingers at each other just for the sake of sensation? I just have to groan at the thought that the silly season of the presidential election year is far from over. What next?
What’s really concerning is the movement among Republicans to restrict the access of women to health care clinics like those of Planned Parenthood and prescription medicines particularly to those women unable to afford private care. Desperate women will get abortions, no matter what the laws are. Shouldn’t they be safe abortions and not done in the back alleys where disease and death often were the result? Does a state really save money by closing such clinics when its citizens end up paying for care anyway no matter where the people find it. We all pay in insurance and hospital bills what the poor don’t pay in the emergency room. Why not just pay for it up front with a system that is fair to all?