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Poll: Is Stay-at-Home Parenting as Hard as a ‘Real’ Job?

The always-touchy debate about stay-at-home moms got a little hotter this week amid comments about a presidential candidate’s wife.

It’s not a new debate, but it sure became a heated one this week: whether or not stay-at-home parenting constitutes a real job.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen found herself in the middle of the debate after comments this week about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romeny’s wife, Ann:

Says the Huffington Post:

Rosen said on Wednesday that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life,” referring to whether she understood women's economic struggle. Romney has been a key surrogate for her husband on the issue, as some question whether Republicans have alienated women voters.

What she meant, Rosen said later amid outcry, is that Ann Romney isn’t in the same tough position as many women who don’t have the choice to stay home, but must work to put food on the table. But many took her remarks to mean that stay-at-home parenting isn't a real job.

Several writers have have come to Rosen’s defense, including Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post, who said:

Rosen wasn’t making a commentary on whether stay-at-home mothers had real jobs. Of course, they do. What Rosen highlighted was that Ann Romney has never faced the financial strain of holding things together while her paycheck shrinks or she loses her job or the kids need braces and there’s no money in their meager budget to pay for it. How, then, can Ann Romney advise her out-of-touch husband on the specific problems American women face? 

So what do you think? Is stay-at-home parenting as difficult as taking a job outside the home?

Erik Windsor April 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Now if you ask is ; Having a job and parenting more difficult than one or the other than the answer is yes. My wife and I are both full time employees and have 4 children. First thing to clarify is that I am not complaining, just sharing my opinion. HOWEVER putting 10-12 hour days at work and then coming home and then putting on the parent uniform for the remainder of the night is literally double duty. If you have no kids and work you get your off time to yourself. If you have kids and do not work then you get to be with your kids if they nap you might (might) get a few moments to yourself, or you have the pleasure of dropping them off at school and going to the gym as I see so many stay home moms do in my neighborhood. Really though we all make choices, the grass is not always greener and if your not happy with your choices then nothing really can stop you from finding your happiness. You really just need to choose.......... JUST SAYIN.....
Mary Lou St Lucas April 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM
All sorts of choices here. Stay home w/kids, go to work and leave kids with sitter, parents stagger work hours or days and take turns, whatever works in each individual situation. More and more stay-home dads now, too. Personally, i preferred to stay home with mine but to make ends meet took children into my home for day care. I see more couples choosing to wait until later in life to have kids, or even not to have them at all. Lots of choices.
Heather Harrison April 13, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I want to steer clear of the heavy politics surrounding this debate. This is most definitely a classist problem. However, it has ignited the age old Mommy War of "Whose job is the most difficult?" It is the stay at home mothers versus the working mothers. I talk more about this war here: http://www.themommypsychologist.com/2012/04/12/mommy-wars-whose-job-is-more-difficult/
Ned April 15, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I wish every Mom had the financial ability to stay at home with the kids if that is what the family decides. Raising kids, for the average household can be and is a challenge. I know. That being said; Cracking the whip on the maids, making sure the nannies have washed and fed the kids, all the while keeping track of the gardeners for the various RMoney estates is more than a fulltime job for Ann RMoney. Also, living in the luxury provided by her corporate raiding economic pirate husband, ignoring the poverty he creates, ignoring his throwing thousands of working class moms and dads out of work for profit all the while perfecting her dressage performances, these can also be very stressful. --
Fred Hayward April 16, 2012 at 07:53 PM
It depends on the context. If feminists want to make the point that stay-at-home moms are doing as difficult and important work as people with jobs, then YES, it is just as hard. But, if feminists see an advantage in making the opposite point, then NO, it's not. Where's the confusion?
Jamie Friedman July 06, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I have always felt that a stay at home parent is a great alternative to sending your child to a drug infested and gang member controlled schools. We have poured money into heavily staffed administrators who make alot of money for know other reason that they advance in their careers. The schools are top heavy with administration, who are essentially figure heads. Money needs to go to our teachers. As we all know they are the backbone of our society trying to bring up the next generation of adults. I think that instead of taxing the very wealthey they should be responsible for donating equipment,( computers, video equipment, audio equipment) etc. to train young people for jobs that will pay when they get out of school. Teacher's have their hands tied. I live in a well to do area Carlsbad, Ca. and the communities are 100% behind the children. There are many family activities ranging from sports, music and the arts. These schools are less than 10 years old and have all the facilities to turn out and prepare star students. Where it gets sticky is in the poorer areas. Their property taxes have to pay for their schools. They are not so nice and do not have the advantages and extra facilities to give their students a leg up. So many children drop out of school because of out of date curriculum. Let's get the billionairs supporting the schools and not the candidates. Education should be number ! Sincerely, concerned citizen, Jamie Friedman. jmfrdmn27@aol.com
Jamie Friedman July 06, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I have always felt that a stay at home parent is a great alternative to sending your child to a drug infested and gang member controlled schools. We have poured money into heavily staffed administrators who make alot of money for know other reason that they advance in their careers. The schools are top heavy with administration, who are essentially figure heads. Money needs to go to our teachers. As we all know they are the backbone of our society trying to bring up the next generation of adults. I think that instead of taxing the very wealthey they should be responsible for donating equipment,( computers, video equipment, audio equipment) etc. to train young people for jobs that will pay when they get out of school. Teacher's have their hands tied. I live in a well to do area Carlsbad, Ca. and the communities are 100% behind the children. There are many family activities ranging from sports, music and the arts. These schools are less than 10 years old and have all the facilities to turn out and prepare star students. Where it gets sticky is in the poorer areas. Their property taxes have to pay for their schools. They are not so nice and do not have the advantages and extra facilities to give their students a leg up. So many children drop out of school because of out of date curriculum. Let's get the billionairs supporting the schools and not the candidates. Education should be number ! Sincerely, concerned citizen, Jamie Friedman. jmfrdmn27@aol.com

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