Mommy Wars-- again?

I've already established that I'm an average mother. I have good days, and I have bad days; mostly, I'm mediocre. It's not because I don't care, or because I'm unable-- it's because being a so-called "good mother" means removing every part of myself that isn't a parent, and becoming only Super Mommy!

I don't have it in me to do that.

I can't forget that I do like to write, and that I love to paint (although I can't paint for shit, I do love water colours and tempera). I can't remove my love of reading and cooking, my adoration of a good beer can't just *poof* gone just because I gave birth. I can't cut out the live I have for my husband and friends, just because I love my children, too.

That's "too", as defined: In Addition to something else-- not "To the detriment of all others".

I'm not banking on my kids taking care of me in retirement, and frankly I have no plans to crash at their place in the winter like my Omi does to her children. Much as I love them, I'm not living in their houses for four months out of the year. Ugh, that sounds like hell!

I can't wait for them to grow up, see the world for themselves, and experience the world first hand-- good, bad, painful and transcendentally awesome. It'll be great!

Which brings me to the thought that's been circling my brains for a few days.Ever since Hilary Rosen said the magical words: "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life" the US has been irately screaming. Media people are calling it "Return of the Mommy Wars!"

That's so fucking stupid, I can't even. Gah!

OK, the Mommy wars is supposedly this hate and loathing and general nastiness that women have toward each other-- depending on if you work outside your home, or if you are a "stay at home mother". Supposedly we despised each other, both sides hating what the other has, and feeling guilty because of it.

Now, feeling guilty? Yeah, we do that. We feel like we're less than, or not good enough if we work outside the house, and have to pay a sitter/day care. We hear: Why have your children, so you can pay someone else to raise them!

We also feel guilty if we aren't working outside the house. We're less than, because we don't contribute a paycheque. The US, society and even the government, has told us over and over that we aren't anything if we don't work for money. Money, the number of spaces on your cheque-stub, that tells you what your worth is, what kind of worth you have as a person.

Mothers don't get paid to raise their children. We don't get a nice Christmas bonus for making sure they get to school on time, every day. We don't get cash thrown into a 401(k) or retirement fund for teaching them to tie their shoes, and helping with maths homework-- not unless we open one, ourselves-- there sure as hell aren't any "matching funds". We don't get Social Security benefits to accumulate for us as we potty train them, get them off to uni or hold their hands as they go through their very first heartbreak. Kids take up a lot of time, effort and work, but we don't get paid to take care of them.

[Now, I'm talking about mothers, because I am one. Fathers also do not get paid to raise their children. However the expectations on fathering is much different. For instance, my husband is expected to "babysit the kids" while I go out for a couple hours. If I go do anything without him, of course, usually my oldest babysits the youngest. Babysit, that's the word. Not raise, watch over, care for or parent; babysit. No mother is every allowed to say "naw, sorry, I can't go to the poetry reading tonight, I have to babysit my kids". If you've met one who does say that, she doesn't actually raise them. But because of the weird way that fathering is looked at, it's always perfectly OK for a man to speak of caring for his kids as though it's some part-time job he does out of the goodness of his heart, rather than actually parenting them. No, not all men do this; many good Dads do not.]

Now, on the religious right*, raising children to be good, godly Republicans is the bestest thing a woman can do-- the only thing, really. She sure as hell can't think for herself, or work, or anything like that. She's a Mother, dammit! She'd better sacrifice herself for those offspring.

The RR* doesn't lobby for maternity leave, heath care for women and children, WiC, food stamps, pre-school and pre-K, good schooling, good food or even decently tasting school lunches-- with or without help to purchase them. Instead, they've built this icon, this portrait of what a "good mother" looks like. It's unattainable and two-dimensional, beautiful, serene, peaceful to be sure, but absolute fiction... just like an icon.

Any woman who deviates from this Madonna is to be reviled. We're less if we don't devote 100% of our thinking power to getting our children into "the best schools"! Let alone if we work for a cheque! Heaven forbid you're a single mother, Romney's even harder on you (said that even if a woman has a two year old child she needs to work, or he wants to pull her assistance). So much for "motherhood is the bestest most fulfillingest thing evah!"

Ann Romney hasn't had to work because her husband is a modern-day robber baron. She married into money. I don't know, or care if she had money before; she has it now. When you "drive a couple a Cadillacs" and don't tell your husband how many dressage horses you own, you have money-- a metric fuck tonne of it! Even if you "don't feel rich". For the record, yes, they said these things. She told a reporter that Mitt did not know how many horses she owns, and she wouldn't "tell [the reporter] either." Dressage horses cost upwards of 30,000 dollars. I know this, because I Googled "Dressage horses for sale" and on the first one to pop up is an 8 year old gelding for 35k!

That's just the horse,t hat doesn't cover feeding it, the tack, board or exercise they need (which is taken care of at the board). Thirty-five thousand dollars can buy a brand new car; it can cover four years of schooling at a public uni; it is about what the average American worker makes in one year. And that's the cost of a low-end dressage horse.

Anyway, I don't begrudge her their money. It's theirs. I believe it is utterly immoral, the way Romney earned it; raping companies, firing thousands and disintegrating communities to make a quick buck is beyond immoral, it is completely depraved. I can't see either of them as decent persons, because of that indifference toward their fellow human-- and I don't think she's any authority on "what women want" these days.

The whole problem started when a Democratic spokesperson, Hilary Rosen, said that Ann Romney was not a good advisor for Mitt, about women. She then said the words, "never worked a day in her life". Now, we all know Ann Romney hasn't had to. No woman who uses her brains thinks for one second that Rosen was saying Romney's staying at home to raise her children was less than working for a paycheque.

We also know that Romney had help; you don't have somewhere between 100 and 350 mlln dollars, and a 100 mlln trust fund for your children and not have help. There's a cleaning lady, or three; there's a nanny, or two, there's sitters on the weekends, and evenings; there's the cooks, the bakers and the candlestick makers... protestations to the contrary. No one can tell me Romney scrubbed those toilets herself-- that's bullshit. She was busy being the gracious wife and mommy; she's the thing LDS women aspire to! I mean,s hit, they all have to be Super-Mommies! Their God said so.

She just has a couple million laying around to help her out.

Most of us mothers dont' have that. And that's what Rosen was saying.

The RR knows that, too. they know damned well Rosen wasn't denigrating Romney's ability to care for her children; they know Rosen wasn't calling out all SAHM's and telling them they're not working. They know that mothers work hard, no matter what our pay scale is, and so does Rosen. But the RR couldn't resist jumping on that one! They turned what was "an unfortunate choice of words" into fire for a new Mommy War... or at least, they're trying.

I don't think Rosen did anything wrong. I would have said it exactly the same way she did. I don't even think the word choice was unfortunate. It's the truth.

Ann Romney has not had to work because her husband is fucking loaded. She has not had to care for children without help. She has not had to call the electric company and ask for a few days extension; she never had to beg the water company to give her another day or two to pay. She never had to figure out what bills could be late, so she could buy groceries. She never had to go without dinner herself, so that the children could eat. She never had to choose between health care and feeding her kids; between the dentist's office and clothing for them. She never had to feed a family of five or six on 50 dollars for the week. She never had to choose to forgo vacations, clothing, jewellery, cars, books, fun or anything she wanted. She's never had to look at her children and say, "I'm sorry, I can't afford that right now." Not one fucking time, not ever.

So no, she never has had to work. Not the way I see it, anyway.

I'm not upset they have money. I've said it before, and I"ll have to say it again. I'm not jealous, OK? [I hear over and over from the teabaggers that anyone who says anything against the rich is jealous. I'm not jealous of their money, I wish they'd do something worthwhile with it, and I an judgemental of the way in which they earned it. Raping a group of people, devastating lives, that's a horrible fucking way to earn money, and Needs to be judged!]

I am so sorry she's had to deal with cancer and MS, and she's so young, too. I'm sorry that she's been and is, very ill. MS isn't fun, it's a pretty shitty disease, and I'm sorry she's dealing with it, and will have to deal with it for the rest of her life. Her money will help her cope with it, and pay for her care; a lot of people struggle with medical bills, so she's blessed there.

I am upset that she's trying to claim martyrdom because she was a SAHM. There's nothing even slightly martyr-like if you stay home; there's nothing remotely sacrificial if you go to work outside the house. Every mother has sacrificed for her kid(s) and will do it again and again. That's just what we do. So for Romney, and the RR to act like she's the first woman ever to be called out for not knowing what the fuck she's going on about-- because she really doesn't-- and to make it all about motherhood is hypocrisy of the highest order. I suppose we should be used to that by now.

I'm pretty annoyed that Rosen had to explain herself. Everyone who heard her knew damned well what she meant.

I'm also annoyed that Ann Romney didn't nod and say, "You're right! I've been blessed. Let's get to work to see what we can do for the women who haven't been as lucky as I am." I was disappointed when she didn't take the chance to tell everyone who her advisers are on women and our issues. I should have expected it, I suppose, but if she's advising Mitt, who's advising her?

I was mostly annoyed at the media, however. There are no fucking Mommy Wars! None! We dont' fucking hate each other! We're annoyed with each other; we get irritated, frustrated, confused and we're all drowning in guilt, all the time. But we dont' hate each other.

Every woman is a mother in a different way. We all are working it out for ourselves, and that's the awesomeest thing about it!

I hope if you're a mother you like it! I hope it really is fulfilling for you. For me, well, I'm meh about it. Some days I love it, other days I'd like to run away from home and not come back til my youngest is 25. I'm just not the super-nurturing type.

I never baby talked my kids. Never treated them like princes or princesses. I never told them they were the bestest kid in the whole world, or that they were the worst. I never told them they could be anything, either. I always said, "Figure out what you want to be, and then go for it." We can't be anything, I mean, I can't be a father... and I never sugar-coated anything for my children.

I'm too selfish to be a perfect mother. You know what, most of us are! We love ourselves, too, dammit all! We love our wives and our husbands, our girl/boy friends. We love our minds, and our hobbies, our wine and our beer. We love our books, and our movies, our walks/jogs alone in the morning. I decided that while I Would do my best to be a good mother, I would not lose myself trying.

Ann Romney didn't lose herself trying. Hilary Rosen hasn't either. That's a good thing.

So, media, stop with the made up Mommy Wars. We're all busy doing our own thing, and frankly, no one really believes the GOP/Tea Baggers when they scream about the sanctity of motherhood any more. If they actually believed that, they'd, I dunno, treat women like people, and support full choice. You know, so we could be the best mothers we have it in us to be, rather than be punished for having sex.

Oh, wait, that'd make them the Socialist Party, though, wouldn't it.
Fuck. Sorry GOP/Tb... maybe next time.


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