Tag Archive | Twitter

Dear Hilary Rosen……


You may have heard Hilary Rosen’s careless comments about Ann Romney last night. In an interview on CNN, she claimed that Ann Romney had ‘never worked a day in her life’ and therefore was incapable of understanding the majority of women’s economic concerns.  I think the point she was making is that Ann Romney is not a good advisor on women and economic issues because she is so far removed (and has been for so long) from the average woman’s economic struggle. Yes? I get that Ann Romney doesn’t know what it’s like to get paid 30% less for the same work. I get that Ann Romney doesn’t know what it’s like to be a SAHM mostly because the cost of childcare is 75-100% of any salary you could command and so the numbers just don’t add up. I get that and I agree with it. Mitt Romney needs a better advisor on women and the economy. Agreed.

HOWEVER, to claim that a woman who has five kids has ‘never worked a day in her life’ is absurd!!  It also shows a lack of respect for mothering and is thereby damaging to all SAHMs.  The phrase is highly charged….it’s disdainful, in fact. Perhaps Hialry’s disdain was actually for the idea that Ann could be an advisor on women and the economy, but what came across was disdain for the work of SAHMs. Context: Hilary Rosin, a liberal, feminist, working mother; a communications specialist, just ‘accidentally’ dissed SAHMs. Not cool!

Respect for SAHMs is something for which women have been fighting HARD for the past decade or two. Think about the campaign to get women to stop saying ‘just’ a SAHM. Think about how women have started putting SAHM on their resume and inventing new titles (domestic engineer). Remember the study that was released several years ago that attempted to determine the average salary for a SAHM? These are all examples of the ways in which a small subset of society has tried to legitimize SAHMs (to the greater society) over the past twenty years. For Hilary Rosin to dismiss the work of SAHM so cavalierly sends a bad message. Very bad message.

I just want to share a couple of things with you, Hilary:

1. Stay-at-home moms work. Very hard.
2. Wealthy stay-at-home moms who have help work too! It’s not about how much help you have, it’s about how present you are. Being present for your family; thinking about them, planning activities, planning meals, creating memories….all of that is work!!! I reject the idea that we need to put an asterisk next to the title SAHM if the woman has hired help. FALSE! I think any woman who is vested in her children whether she is a billionaire or pauper finds that it is challenging to parent effectively. Are there differences? Absolutely! But who are we to say that it is more or less difficult. I think that is a slippery slope that we would be wise to avoid. In my opinion, this is the same perspective as saying, “I’ll take your rich problems over my middle class/ poor problems any day.” People only say that when they have no idea what it’s like to have rich problems.
3. SAHMs are not only ‘wealthy’ women who have the ‘luxury’ who choose to stay-at-home.  If by wealthy you mean above poverty, maybe. But you seems to think that you represent a demographic who doesn’t have the choice to be a SAHM but women of Ann  Romney’s means can. Some women  give up large salaries and/or choose to live a different standard of living in order to devote more time and energy to their families. This idea that SAHMotherhood is just the domain of the wealthy is a fallacious argument that completely dismisses the sacrifice of thousands of working class and middle class women who forego fancy restaurants, new cars, vacations, bigger houses, etc. to be present for their families.
4. Your comments offended me and probably millions of other women. You should apologize and stop doubling down on your statement. There is a whole world of motherhood that you clearly don’t understand. I get the larger point you were trying to make, but I believe you really are missing part of the picture. I would be more than happy to help give you a different perspective. Hit me up on Twitter or here on the blog.

But to those who would try to paint President Obama as being of the same mindset, I reject that assertion out of hand. Hilary Rosin does not work for the White House or the DNC. She is not an official spokesperson and she was not on CNN in any official capacity. She doesn’t represent Democrats any more than the Quran burning pastor represents Americans. Which leads me to my last point.
5. Hilary Rosen does not speak for President Obama.

That is all. As you were.

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Do you understand the words that are coming out of my MOUTH????

Do you remember that?  Hilarious! Mis-communication has always made for great comedy. Who’s on First, Three’s Company, the list goes on. Sometmes though, the results of miscommunication are not so funny, like last week on Twitter.

There was a mini Twitterversy this weekend (that’s Twitter + controversy).  Evidently, a mom tweeted about hurting her child which alarmed several of her followers. The police were notified and arrived at her home late that night. They insisted on seeing her child and making sure the child was okay and in addition there is a file opened on this family at Child Protective Services. Turns out the mom was just using colorful language and the child was fine, but man, what an ordeal! So now colorful mom is PISSED at one of her Twitter friends for notifying the authorities.  I mean, it is no small deal to have a file at Child Protective Services and no small invasion to have the police come to your house and demand to see your child. Who knows all the inconveniences and indignities that this mom had to suffer because of this misunderstanding. Did the police treat her like a criminal? Were they rude? Did they wake up the child? Did they take off their shoes when they came in the house (big deal for me)?

On the other hand, several of her followers were really concerned. They thought that her child was in serious danger. I mean, in this day and age can you really blame them? We have the YouTube suicide and MySpace suicide as high profile examples of violence and social media mixing. We have plenty of recent high profile cases of violence against children such as this, this and this. How would you feel if you were the one that saw that tweet, did nothing and the next day you read about it in the papers?

I think the most important thing to note here is context or lack thereof. Let me tell you…I have a lot of mommy friends, and I have certainly heard some violent talk.

from a homeschooling mom of three under 5: It’s about to be a triple homicide.

from a stressed out married/single mom of two: I’m about to bodyslam these two!

from the mother of a particularly precocious 4 year old:  I’m about to slap the crap out of her!

These are real comments and even as I type them, I feel their impact differently than when I heard them. You see, I know all of these mothers (confession: one of the above statements escaped my own lips…not telling which one) and I know that they all love their children deeply and sincerely. Not only that, but I know that they are all incredibly dedicated, conscious parents. It is actually their committment to giving their all to parenting that creates the stress that leads to violent thoughts. Because I know them, because I heard the tone of their voice when the comments were made, because these comments were made as part of an ongoing conversation that began when we became sistermoms….I knew their kids were not in danger. However, people need to understand that your Twitter followers are not your FRIENDS. These people don’t know you! You cannot talk in the Twitterverse like you would to a close girlfriend. They have no context in which to place your comments and that inevitably leads to miscommunication.

Remember people, this is why emoticons were created; to give more context to electronic communication. LOL, ROFL, IMHO…all of these exist to help with the lack of nonverbal cues that are present in the spoken word. And even then, these are only taken into the context of the WHOLE relationship. For example, if your frenemy, who is always insulting you, sends you an e-mail with a semi-nasty closing line and includes a ‘lol’, are you really going to believe that she was just kidding? Of course not.  However the same e-mail from a true friend probably wouldn’t bother you.

So remember, there is no context in cyberspace….choose your words carefully! And, tell the truth….haven’t you ever had a violent thought or two about your little ones?

PS

After typing those violent words I have a new idea for a blogpost about how our culture of violence is infiltrating our subconcious. Good grief! Those words sound read terribly.