- - Sunday, April 22, 2012

Culture Challenge of the Week: Contempt for Stay-at-Home Moms

It took some pressure, but Hilary Rosen finally apologized. The Democratic strategist displayed a tin ear to women’s concerns earlier this month when she snidely remarked that Ann Romney — mother of five and wife of presidential contender Mitt Romney — had “never worked a day in her life.”

President Obama sought to defuse the negative impact of Ms. Rosen’s remarks by expressing dismay, through his campaign manager, that Ms. Rosen’s criticism breached the unwritten rule that presidential candidates’ family members should be “off limits.” Michelle Obama straddled the issue with her every-mom’s-a-winner tweet: “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.”

Meanwhile, liberal attack dogs kept barking, using the occasion to escalate their rhetoric. Actress Roseanne Barr, for example, mocked Mrs. Romney’s defenders, saying, “After the Republicans had alienated at least half the voting public by all but condemning birth control, suddenly Rosen’s remark enabled them to self-righteously assume the role of defenders of American motherhood.” And Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women, reinterpreted Ms. Rosen’s remark as an insight that, as a stay-at-home mom, Mrs. Romney lacked “the kind of life experience and if not, the imagination, to really understand what most American families are going through.”

Moms, do you get the feeling the left hasn’t a clue about the value of motherhood? That down deep, the left believes it’s a “career” that’s not worth much because it’s not salaried? Or that full-time motherhood is a refuge for women who, as Bill Maher said (more crudely and contemptuously) won’t trouble themselves to get out the door in the morning?

It’s a gift to be a mom. And it’s a tremendous gift to be able to spend dedicated years raising our sons and daughters. Motherhood is a call to shape the hearts, minds and souls of our children. And moms who make it a priority — whether by balancing work hours, staggering shifts with a spouse or staying at home full time — deserve our respect, honor and thanks.

How to Save Your Family: Support Economic Liberty for All Moms

The flap over Mrs. Romney’s motherhood serves as a necessary reminder: When the left claims leadership on women’s issues and touts its support for women, that leadership and support are defined by the liberal agenda.

For example, liberals routinely support increased government funding for child care, insisting that women want it. They’re wrong.

According to the Pew Research Center, while nearly two-thirds of women with children younger than 17 at home work full time, just 37 percent of women prefer it this way. Sixty-two percent of moms who work outside the home would prefer to work part time — a number that has jumped sharply over the past decade.

And what propels women back into the full-time job market when their children are young? Some moms, undoubtedly, find a full-time outside career more appealing and fulfilling than caring for their children full time. Others, like Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, are driven by ambition. (They don’t need government day care.) Still others prefer to track on and off the career path according to their families’ needs and their own interests.

But many moms in today’s world carry the responsibility of being sole breadwinners for their families — as single moms or because a spouse is unemployed — or face financial pressures alleviated only by a second income.

Women everywhere are ill-served by the liberal agenda that offers “solutions,” such as government-subsidized day care, that, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, many women don’t want and our country cannot afford. (Many working mothers opt to leave children with relatives or dad rather than in center-based care while they work.)

The truth is that the Obama prescription of higher taxes, ballooning debt and a sinking economy hurts us all — but especially moms who are working and struggling to make ends meet. A day care subsidy is a poor substitute for a shrinking paycheck or a job that disappears.

The real pro-woman solution is a pro-liberty solution. Let every family choose for itself how to support and raise the children — but let’s put policies in place that restore economic liberty so families can afford to make the choices they really prefer.

A thriving economy — unlike the financial disaster presided over by President Obama and a spendthrift Congress — is what moms really want.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected] yourfamily.com.

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