“Eyes Wide Open” by Kristin Matheny
“Work Like a Dog”
I once heard that Womanhood meant “looking like a girl, acting like a lady, thinking like a man, and working like a dog”. Essentially, the role is really four roles in wrapped up in one, very frazzled package, at least in most cases. Most of us let bits and pieces of that go over the years. We get age spots, we discover eye bags that weren’t there the previous morning. We cease to look like the peachy, fresh-faced “girls” we once were. We try to maintain the manners our own mothers taught us, but there are moments when we become so frustrated that what slips out is a meaningful tirade, spiced with f-bombs and other unsavory four-letter words…and we fail to act like ladies. The “thinking like a man” part seems like it would streamline aspects of our lives until we realize that, sometimes, it’s just easier to think like ourselves.
It’s the “work like a dog” part that never changes. That usually stays the same, and it usually begins to carry more weight once we become mothers.
Now, I certainly don’t downplay anyone’s role in the family. My husband, God bless him, works himself to the bone. He always has. He drove himself with sheer willpower (and sometimes double espressos) through law school, the guy passed the Florida Bar exam on the first try. He toiled for years earning almost nothing as a Miami-Dade prosecutor, and then risked it all by starting his own practice a few years ago. He worries endlessly about money, about being able to support his family, and about being able to give us what we need in spite of this dismal economic outlook. It’s because he “holds up his end of the bargain” that I’m able to choose to stay home with our 18 month-old son.
That’s right. I said “choose”.
I understand that it is a privilege to be able to watch my son grow, but just because it is a privilege does not mean that it is easy…or less exhausting. In fact, at the end of a typical weekday evening, I find myself twice as likely to collapse on the bed with barely a “goodnight, sweetheart” to my husband. Being a good stay-at-home mother requires a lot more time, patience, back-bending, and creativity than anyone who has never had the job could imagine. While my husband is the “C.F.O.” of our family, I’ve had to step into the role of “C.E.O.’, making decisions and planning schedules on less sleep than I’ve ever had in my life. But, for us, it’s the right choice, it’s the right decision for our family. For some women, that choice does not exist. Those of us who choose to stay home (and are able to do so) should be paying attention to what’s been going on in the left-wing media as of late.
I’m partially referring to the ridiculous comments made by Hilary Rosen, aimed at Mitt Romney and Ann Romney- or perhaps, more directly, women like Ann Romney who have chosen to stay home with their children. For anyone who missed Ms. Rosen’s comments (on CNN? NBC? MSNBC? Does it even matter, they’re all the same, frankly), here is precisely what she said, none of it altered or taken out of context:
“His wife has actually never worked a day in her life she’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids? How do we send them to school? And why we worry about their future?”
Now, to be fair, she clarified later on Wolf Blitzer’s show that the comments were meant to be rhetoric on Mitt Romney’s knowledge (or lack thereof, according to her) on the economic situation of “women in the country today”…but is that really the message here?
Okay, as a stay-at-home mom, I’m deeply offended by ANYONE who makes light of this job, just like I would be offended if someone bashed working mothers who had no choice but to retain their jobs in order to feed and clothe their kids. It’s ridiculous and insensitive. I know some fellow moms have called this “just another attack on the family”, but let’s see if we can dig a little deeper to see what’s really going on here.
If you think this is just about stay-at-home moms, families, or Ann Romney, then you’re missing the point.
Yes, I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I’m first and foremost a PATRIOT mom.
I’m not some luncheon-planning lady who stays home “baking cookies and having tea”, as Hillary Clinton so delicately summed up her idea of this job in 1992, furthering that favorite leftie stereotype of women, like me, not fulfilling our “goals” or understanding our “responsibility to further some backwards form of feminism”. Sure, it pisses me off. It absolutely pisses me off. But what pisses me off even more than this clear feministic agenda is the fact that the Left will stop at nothing to persecute success.
What’s being attacked now, ladies and gentlemen, is not the family structure, or the role of a woman (please, that’s totally played out these days)- it’s the financial success and stability of the family that is under scrutiny. The ability of a woman- or a man for that matter- to choose to stay home means, inevitably, that the family can remain economically solvent without two incomes. Therefore, the success is being punished, picked on, and vilified.
Is it a coincidence that this comment (and its ardent left-wing blogosphere defenses) come at a time when the most pressing issues on the presidential election table are issues that relate to increasing taxes on businesses and the so-called “wealthy” (nevermind that “wealthy” in President Obama’s mind means “able to sustain a family and pay your mortgage and bills” despite the crippling debt he’s amassed and the business-unfriendly atmosphere he’s single-handedly created), altering the current college loan system, instituting a health care system that will socialize medicine and increase the already insane health care budget x3, and demonically fabricating the general socialistic notion that we “lucky ones” should have to foot the bill for everyone else? They create socialistic, mindless minions…who continue to give them power through votes.
You’d better believe this is JUST how Fidel Castro did it. And Lenin. And Stalin. (Oh, and I’m sorry about the run-on sentence up there, but I couldn’t help it…my intense distaste for Barack Obama sometimes clouds my thoughts/ability to produce gramatically-correct writings.)
If “lucky” means never having an inheritance and having worked my butt off in high school, college, and graduate school, scrapping and saving every dime to ensure that we could buy a home in a good neighborhood and give our son the kind of life he and every American kid deserves…then, by all means, call me “lucky”! Of course, what separates people like us- patriots- from the rest of America is that we just thought that was what we were supposed to do.
And you’d better believe that this calculated little “jab” at Ann Romney was meant to paint a grossly cartoonish picture of Mitt Romney in some ivory tower, with no sense of mainstream America. Sure, the guy is immensely successful. He was not my first choice for the ballot in November, but let me tell you, with his soon-approaching nomination, I’ve become intensely defensive of him. He is where he is because he’s smart, he’s savvy, he’s capable…and conservatives do not choose, like their liberal counterparts, to downplay or reprimand him for his success. Instead, we celebrate it. Ann Romney stayed home because she had five children to raise, all the while battling life-threatening illnesses and standing by her husband’s side. Their family’s success, both professionally and privately, is a testament to the fact that, up until now, MOST Americans looked to protect “The American Dream”- whatever that meant to whoever tried to attain it. For most of us, that meant raising a happy family and working hard. It meant, for many women, being able to stay home (or not!) without the black cloud of “feminism” hovering overhead, some Hilary Rosen-esque voice from the sky telling us that our choice was a bad one.
Phyllis Schlafly, one of my favorite conservative ladies, has commented extensively on the role of women, noting that it should be a woman’s choice to work in an office, just as it “should be a woman’s choice to work in the household”. But, more than that, “this is not about women…this is about punishing success, the financial stability that allows us to make that choice, not have it made for us”.
In a society where the Left is doing whatever they can to make us feel sorry, to have us pay our “penance” for earning a decent living, rest assured that people we look up to (Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, etc.) are turning over in their graves! What’s fair is not always right, and clearly, it is neither in this instance. It may seem unfair to some that people like Ann Romney get to have the option of staying home to raise a family (why, I don’t know). But how about having that decision forcefully made for you? How about not being able to ever be financially solvent? How about kissing the “American Dream” goodbye?
If you insist on spreading the wealth, then what is to become of what little success most of us have mustered?
If we continue to punish successful families, what do our children have to look forward to? Why even bother giving them incentives, or telling them of that “American Dream” we’d all once looked forward to achieving?
It is true that we women must continue to “work like dogs”, but so must all Americans, and more importantly, so must we patriots. We aren’t “lucky”. Don’t let them fool you. Most of us don’t have trust funds waiting for us, most of us don’t have “golden parachutes”. Shoot, most of us have never had the luxury of free time in order to “bake cookies and have teas”. Instead, I propose that people like Hilary Rosen and Hillary Clinton, and any other socialistic “wolves in sheep’s clothing” out there take heed of the fact that the numbers of us who have “worked like dogs our whole lives” have grown under this presidency, and we will continue to work like dogs to protect our freedom and our success.
For us women, it’s just that much more important. We’re the primary group under attack, no matter what any liberal tells us. WE’RE the ones who will suffer first, and as a result, our families will suffer. And I’ll be damned if it ever comes to that…
…even if that means having to forego “acting like a lady”.
If it means dropping a few four-letter words, so be it. I’m that mad.