Pity poor Ann Romney, who was recently, unceremoniously dragged into the mud-wrestling ring by her husband, the ever-clueless Mitt. Candidate Romney attempted to cover his own complete inability to relate to others, especially those in possession of vaginas, by casting his wife in the role of interpreter. Problem is, Mrs. Romney is eminently unsuited to the role. Not only does she live in the same mansion(s) that he does, she apparently never leaves them except to get in one of her Cadillacs and drive to another one, or to engage in her favorite sport, dressage, an activity that few Americans could define and only might possibly know that it involves owning five-figure horses.
A Democratic operative, whatever that means, loudly opined that Mrs. Romney has never worked a day in her life, thus setting off a firestorm of bumper sticker sentimentality from the right, left, and middle. Every Mother is a Working Mother! Being a Mother is the Hardest Job in the World! Being a Mother is the Most Important Job in the World! All Choices are Good Choices! We Respect Stay-at-Home-Moms More! Don’t Dis the SAHMs! And blah blah effing blah. Yes, we all Respect SAHMs. And that, plus $4.11, will buy a SAHM a tall soy mocha at Starbucks.
The truth that the Democratic operative, whatever that means, was ham-fistedly pointing out was that being a SAHM, though respectable as all get out, actually prepares one for…nothing. It’s the ultimate dead-end job. Sure, it might seem like after the decades-long multitasking gauntlet of wrangling the children, the husband, and house single-handedly, one could easily step into a CEO position of at least a moderate-sized firm. I believe Michelle Bachmann made that argument, actually, when she was still running for president. But in fact, the world outside your house doesn’t see it that way. At all. Go ahead, apply for a management position with nothing but a 20-year SAHM job on your resume. Let me know how it goes.
So the Democratic operative, whatever that means, might be forgiven for wondering just what Mrs. Romney knows about struggling to build and maintain a career; find safe, affordable childcare; keep yourself and your family healthy when you don’t have insurance; battle discrimination and unequal pay; ensure that you can have a reasonably comfortable old age; and other concerns faced by many, many women, but not by Mrs. Romney. There’s nothing wrong with marrying a rich man and raising a pack of kids. Bless you, Mrs. Romney, they all turned out well. Thank you for your service. But perhaps Mitt could find an operative, whatever that means, of his own, with some expertise in or experience with the reality faced by a wider contingent of women in the US. Let Ann go back to her horses.