Bowing Out of the Debate

I tried to write a post on motherhood and how all this spin in the news makes me feel, but I just felt myself winding up and getting angry. I seldom write well when I’m angry, and scrapped the eight paragraph rant. You’re welcome.

I’ll sum it up as briefly as I can: I’ve been on both sides of this mess. I’ve been the SAHM mom with the husband and the nice house in the suburbs. I’ve also now been the single mom raising three kids alone and going to school full time with no visible means of support. Trust me when I say, no matter how hard raising kids is— and it is, no matter who you are— One of these ways is much, much, much easier.

Resume the mudslinging and name calling now. I’m out.

11 thoughts on “Bowing Out of the Debate

  1. Raising the kids is not an easy job, yet it has its perks. There are their laughs and games and all the happiness they bring home. I am much in the unknown when it comes to all the ‘spin in the news’ but I do agree with what you say Tracy

  2. I agree. Being a stay-at-home mom is easier than being a single mother with no means of support. My whole problem with the spin that has been going on in the news is that being a stay-at-home mother has been shown to be some kind of “break” from working. I know that I have it good – and my life is smaller and more focused (especially because I don’t have to worry about rent and grad school and traveling across country with three children in tow), but I still work hard. Not as hard as you do. Not as hard as other moms who have more children than I do. Not as hard as women who work outside the home and then still have to be a mother when they come home. I think the idea that just because I choose to work at home, raising my kids, I may be considered “lazy” or “unproductive.” It’s changing the way that motherhood and housewifing are viewed.

  3. I hear you, Tracy, and I love you. And you know I have spent a lot of time on my knees in prayer for you and your family as you move through this refiner’s fire.

    But I don’t think this debate is about which life is harder, or at least, it’s not for me. It’s about the idea that just because we have different experiences, we can’t figure out what is important to other people. Just because I’m not single doesn’t mean I can’t listen to your stories and think, “We have got to have better systems in place for single working mothers”. And although Ann Romney has never been anywhere close to your economic condition, does that mean she can’t say to her husband, “There are a lot of women out there who are holding on by their fingernails, and you need to be aware of that.”? You’ve never had breast cancer or MS, but do your healthy boobs make it impossible to understand that maybe Ann Romney would be concerned about health care coverage for chronic conditions? Of course not.

    And let me ask you this—do you have a better understanding of basic economics now that you’re not a SAHM? You’ve taken the steps you’ve needed to take to provide for your family, but you took those steps WHILE you were a SAHM. Being a SAHM didn’t preclude you from knowing what had to be done. I’ll say it again—just because we don’t make the money doesn’t mean we don’t know how it works. (And there’s probably a better way of saying that without the triple negative, but for the life of me I can’t figure it out.)

    I don’t object to the idea that being on the side you are on now is harder than the side you were on 5 years ago. What I object to is the idea that the side you were on 5 years ago didn’t prepare you for where you are now. And you should object to that too–it means that choosing to be a SAHM meant that you aren’t smart enough or capable enough to deal with your current economic situation, which is demonstrably not true.

  4. Heather, I don’t disagree with you on any of your points. I’m too deep in my own difficulty to really know what the talking points are, or who has said what, or what the actual arguments are… I don’t know what the Romney’s or the other journalists have said, other than soundbites, and I know not to trust those. I know that empathy allows us to be sympathetic to the pain of others even when we may not have experienced it.

    I’m just so tired of being the poster child for this or that. I’m a welfare mom. I’m divorced. I’m a single mother of three. I’m a full time student. I used to have a life that was much, much easier than the one I have now. Nothing could have prepared me for the harsh reality of being a single welfare mother with a child with a disability. Nothing. It’s a harshness I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    None of that mitigates the love I have for my friends and other women who have the life I used to have- and those I know love me. It’s apples and oranges.

  5. Amen. I’ll leave the rest of my rantings in my head. I’ve also had some frustrated feelings about the dialog that has been going on about this online. I bowed out of a couple conversations, I like to think that it was for some higher reason but really it was I’m too busy, too tired, it would make me angry and put me in a bad place and after it was all done. Eventually I would be forced to hide the thread from myself to preserve my sanity.

  6. The thing that angers me most about the Rosen/Romney selective soundbite debate is it furthers the war on women by pitting women against women. In a lot of cases, it causes schizophrenic schisms within each of us. I, as with many women I know, have been in both situations, too. I refuse to take part in taking apart other women. I believe we are above it.

  7. EXACTLY.
    I also thought about posting but it just got me too riled-up.
    I was home for 18 years and I am so glad for the PRIVILEGE, it’s a very privileged lifestyle. Yeah, I made the CHOICE to stay home, most women don’t have that choice. In fact, I no longer have a choice. I provide the health insurance and with breast cancer, a bad colonoscopy and depression in our records, we could never be covered again, if not for my big group plan. So while being a sahm is hard work, no one ever got fired for being late for the piano lessons.

  8. Heather’s read on the Romney/Rosen debate is extremely accurate. It was not about which one is harder. I think everyone would agree that where you are at as a single mom is definitely harder than a married mom. Rosen’s comment was that Romney had “never worked a day in her life.” Wouldn’t you agree that even when you were married, raising kids and managing the household was (albeit easier than your current circumstances) work?

  9. I worked for three years from 2008-2011; our kids were gone. And let me tell you, it was tough. I liked my job, but I’d have died if I had to come home and take care of kids. I basically worked and slept for three years. If I’d had to do it with kids at home, sans husband, well, I would not have survived. I applaud all those hard-working single moms who haven’t run away to the Bahamas in search of rest.

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