Reimbursement for Stay-At-Home Moms? | Sister Renée Mirkes | Catholic World Report
What the Church can contribute to the on-going debate
It all started during the 2012 presidential campaign. Ann Romney, reaching out to female voters—especially independents in swing states—publicly commiserated with their angst over job and economic uncertainties. In a terse, staccato tone, Hilary Rosen, Democratic activist, shot back on CNN: As a lifelong stay-at-home mom who “never worked a day in her life,” Ann Romney is the least qualified woman to champion the financial worries of working mothers.
Movers and shakers in high places quickly came to Ann Romney’s defense. President Obama, in one of his “let me be perfectly clear” pontifications, informed Rosen (and her think-alikes) that anyone who fails to grasp that “there’s no tougher job than being a mom…needs to rethink their statement.” Eager to underline the president’s insight, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden weighed in with similar sentiments.
Many thoughtful female bloggers in not-so-high places agreed with the federal hierarchy—the Rosen remark was demeaning, superficial, petty, and unfair. They were eager to steer the national conversation about women and work toward harder questions, moving it from the no-brainer conclusion—“A mother’s work at home is hard and worthwhile”—to substantive questions like, “How does a mom balance work outside the home with work inside the home?” and, “Is there any way to realize the stay-at-home dream of women with moderate incomes?” Against a backdrop of thoughtful questions like these, the Rosen/Romney kerfuffle morphed into a national conversation about a whole set of complex issues.
The second round included a debate about how best to reward women for their work and their motherhood; how best to give those low-to-moderate income women who want to swap their jobs for home-work the opportunity to be stay-at-home moms (SAHMs), and how best to balance job and childrearing for work-outside-of-home moms (WOHMs).