Saturday, August 11, 2012
A Question of Dignity
This is ridiculous. I generally try to keep the political off this blog, but since this is a blog about my life-choice to stay at home with my kids...
I don't want the "dignity of work", Mr. Romney. I do work - 12, 16, 18 hours a day. A lot if my job is undignified - scrubbing the toilet, begging and bribing a five-year old to clean up, or chasing a toddler around playing growling bear are not "dignified" activities.
I have made a choice for me and my family. This choice means I earn no Social Security, no 401k, I am reliant on my husband's sick leave and health insurance. I have chosen to live at a lower income level, by a full-time adult salary, because I love my work and I believe that what I am doing is important.
This has nothing to do with access to day care. There are many wonderful and qualified and affordable day care options in my area. This has nothing to do with my ability to find work. I have a college degree, I am credentialed in a couple of fields, and would be willing to put my shoulder to the wheel.
I'm an educated, liberal, feminist. I'm not making this choice out of a religious or similar bias, though many women do and should be able to. I know many women like myself who believe deeply in having a parent at home. I know many employed women who envy my ability to stay home and who wish they could afford to "not work". I know many working women who love their jobs and for whom staying home would cause frustration and boredom. I know many women who struggle daily to do what they believe is best for their families, regardless of their state of employment.
I don't need "a job" and I don't need the "dignity of work". I love what I do and I have plenty of work, thank you Mr. Romney.
Mothers (parents) - those who stay home or those who work - need their lives and the choices they make in those lives to be supported. We do not need anyone, least of all some rich and smarmy politician, to treat our lives like they are not worth anything unless we are gainfully employed by the economic machine. That is an indignity, Mr. Romney. We do not need anyone pushing some "work requirement" upon us, making lives already difficult even more so. I do believe that I am living my life, celebrating my freedom, and pursuing that which makes me happy...and don't you dare try to take that away from me. I'm not putting my two-year old in day care, even of you foot the bill. How dare you treat my life choice as something undignified?
I - and parents making hard choices every day, all over this country of ours - need the awesome work we do, raising and caring for the future voters of America, to be treated with dignity.
Update: I do realize that this quote is a snippet and lacks broader context. I also realize that Romney is not actually talking about me. He's talking about poor women who utilize the welfare system. For the record, I don't think that I am any different, better, or more deserving than any other woman who is also making tough decisions for her family. I believe that everyone deserves the dignity of choice - and that means not being forced to work OR forced to stay home. I believe that people should be treated equally and that an attack on a family on welfare is an attack on my family.