By now I'm sure you've heard of the Ann "Stay At Home Mother" Romney controversy. (PS, are you shocked that this is my second blog post referencing Ann Romney? Because I am.)
In short, a Democratic advisor said on CNN that Ann Romney was not a credible voice on women and the economy because she had "never worked a day in her life." Boos and hissing ensued. The President and First Lady went to bat for Ann Romney and candidates' families in general.
And while it took a little while, the original critic eventually apologized, saying that her real point was that Ann Romney was privileged enough to marry a man capable of supporting their family on his paycheck alone, entitling Ann the option of staying home if she chose, and therefore she cannot relate to other women who are less privileged.
Which I still think is a bullshit opinion.
Here's the thing--I don't believe that staying at home with your kids is a job. (Boo! Hiss!) And honestly, I suspect everyone who doesn't want their cars egged secretly agrees.
But it just isn't. A job is something you do for money, and stay at home parents don't get paid. If they were, they'd be called nannies and babysitters.
I really dislike studies that argue a stay at home parent would earn X amount of money if all their duties were outsourced because it perpetuates the idea that something must have an economic value to have societal value. (Also, it's just baloney. Calculating how much it would cost to have someone else buy your groceries and cook your meals? I have to do that anyway to live and I don't have a kid, so why does the same activity suddenly have monetary value when a parent does it? End tangent.)
There are many things I do that have no economic value. I shovel my walk in the winter. I vote. I do volunteer work. These things are not additional "jobs" to my actual job--these are the duties of a good citizen. The responsibilities of an adult.
Someone who has a child and then cares for that child is not doing a job. I don't know why society insists on pretending otherwise.
Back to Ann Romney.
Ann Romney raised the five kids she had. She did volunteer work. She battled cancer and MS. But she didn't have a job.
Since when does that, and that alone, mean she can't relate to those who do have jobs?
What if I were to argue that as a woman, Callista Gingrich is not capable of relating to men? Or as a black person, Michelle Obama is not capable of relating to white people? Clearly both of those statements rely on a thousand incorrect assumptions, the biggest of which is that a person must endure every circumstance personally before being capable of relating to others.
But that's clearly not true.
Now, it very well may be that Ann Romney cannot relate to the problems of a poor mother who works two jobs and still has to take food stamps for her kids. But please offer some evidence for that other than the mere fact that Ann Romney has never needed food stamps herself.
Sometimes it feels like the whole country is infected with a case of the Ricki Lake guest "You don't knooooooow me"s with a serious dose of "And you neva can!"s. And it's time to come down with a case of the FDR "Maybe I'm super rich and my legs don't work, but I can still see why coal mining would be a rough gig"s.
So from now on, let's all start from the presumption that President Obama, Michelle Obama, Mitt Romney, and Ann Romney can all relate to all of us until you have evidence (not speculation) to prove otherwise.