The last person I would like to be this week is Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen. I bet if she had a “way back” machine she would jump into it and put it in reverse.
Candidate Mitt Romney’s wife Ann made some comments about women voters and their struggles, and in a failed effort to discredit stay-at-home mom Ann Romney (who raised five boys), she discredited herself with a PR gaffe.
Rosen said, "His wife has actually never worked a day in her life." Rosen then added, “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?"
Ms. Rosen, I won’t speak for every stay-at-home mom in the universe, but I can tell you, in those early days of motherhood, going to work and drinking food-service coffee would have been a vacation. There were some days I would have rather been eaten by a shark than spend a day at home with an infant.
My baby cried around the clock. Every hour, on the hour, she would emit a noise that sounded like a hyena eating a plate of dry-wall nails. When the crying did stop, I found myself covered in spit up and praying for a hazmat team to clean it up so I could nap.
When her brother came along, things got easier—yet I found myself with years of 24 hour “work” days under my belt and no professional experience. I had no title, no income, and everything I owned smelled like a sick baby.
Who would hire me, the woman with dribble on her lapel?
This was a valid concern. I know women who gave up everything to stay home with their kids, only to find themselves alone one day without means of support. The Tory Burch handbag they bought on Sunday, would be pawned on Monday for groceries.
The stress of the recession left some of these women not only penniless, but single. Single, and with a cavernous gap in their resumes where titles like “Vice-President”, and “Director” would be today had they gone back to a “real job”.
Women who never “worked”, probably worry all the time. They worry about how they can get back to work to pay for gasoline, or groceries that a single income no longer covers.
They worry because there’s no “way-back” machine to make up for years of time away from the office—and you can’t wrap a human child in a cover letter and mail them to a recruiter as a sample of your work.
By the way, someone did hire me: I did. I’m self-employed and sorry to say my boss doesn’t give me any time off—unless it’s time off to do stuff for the kids.
Here is Rosen’s apology, although it sounds like one of those “I’m sorry but…” apologies. What do you think?