Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The one where I piss you off...

Okay, this is a political/personal mash up blog. And because it has both political things and my own (let me stress that again MY OWN) opinion on a hot bed item it's probably going to piss you off.  By you I mean everyone. This will be an equal opportunity offender blog. And sort of a mash-up so bear with me as I blend two different ideas in to one piece.

So this has been the political year about the War on Women. The Democrats grabbed on to a few legislation ideals from the Republicans and said..."SEE! LOOK! They hate women! Don't elect them." And for awhile the Republicans floundered with this. They didn't know exactly how to respond because well, it looked bad for them. Then there were a few pieces put out that I personally thought were very good points. They showed other parts of the world where women are raped as young as 10 or 11 because the AIDS epidemic has spread so greatly the men feel this is a good way to prevent catching it.  Of course the men are the ones spreading it, to girls as young as 10 or 11...hmmm....They showed parts of the world where genital mutilation is still common. Taking away a woman's ability to even get pleasure from her own body. Showed statistics on education of women in places where only the men are deemed worthy. And then said, maybe this is the sort of thing that a War on Women really looks like. Maybe we are just being a bit silly here by saying I don't vote the way you do so it's a war? And I thought, good for you, Republicans. And then the Ann Romney thing happened...

You know where Mitt Romney was out stumping and said that his wife has been telling him the number one concern with women voters is the economy and then Hillary Rosen pointed out that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life and then the Republicans ceded their high ground as fast as they could and said..."SEE! LOOK! They hate women! Don't elect them!" And a *facepalm* and *headdesk* later and we were back to square one. Sort of.  Because then I talked to C on our weekly phone call. And I realized I was actually further back than square one.

See, he didn't understand what the fuss was. Because Ann Romney hadn't worked a day in her life. She had gone from her parents to school to marriage and kids without ever getting a job. And I had to explain that you can't say that. That raising kids is work. And he said, "Yes, it is. But that's not what they were talking about. They were talking about the economy and jobs and what women thought and she hasn't ever had a job. She doesn't even have to worry about money because they are extraordinarily wealthy." I told him again, that yes, he was right but you still can't say that women who stay home with their kids don't work. And he said, "But that's just being willfully ignorant and ignoring the context of the conversation. Everyone KNOWS what she meant by saying she hadn't worked."

And yeah, well, he's right. And that's actually my biggest issue with politics today.  You have to be willfully ignorant to participate with it. Neither side is willing to compromise anymore. To the point where Obamacare is vilified as left wing horribleness when it's based on a proposal put forth by the right when Clinton was pushing for his own healthcare reform. Where neither side can pick a side on an issue until they find out what the OTHER side thinks. Working across the aisle is seen as weakness instead of seen as the WAY OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM WAS DESIGNED TO WORK. You have to allow yourself to get bent out of shape when someone from the other political party does something sketchy while at the same time be willing to justify it when your guy does the exact same sketchy thing. You have to be willfully stupid. And I just cannot be willfully stupid.  Accidentally stupid, temporarily stupid, but not willfully stupid.

Okay, so that ends the political part of the blog and on to the personal part...which ties in to the political part but is a sort of separate issue.

As many of you know I have been stumped lately by the "What do you do?" question.  Because I don't do anything. But I get a lot of grief from family and friends for answering, "Nothing." Yes, I keep up the house. I run the family's errands. I cook (sometimes). I write a blog. I write some other things. But I don't do anything that I get paid for and I don't do anything that I wouldn't do even if I did do something else. If that makes any sort of sense. And that brings me back to Ann Romney.

I stayed at home with C until he was 3 years old. When I tell people that I always say I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with him until he was three. When Brent got out of the Navy we (as a country) had just hit a bump in the technical field and jobs were not as plentiful as they had been so I went back to work. We couldn't afford for me to stay home anymore so I didn't. And I worked until C was in high school where I was lucky enough to be able to quit my full time job and work part time out of the house for another advertising agency and then with my own company. But it was very part time and mostly I was lucky to be able to be a stay at home mom for C again. So in case you weren't following all of that, let me sum up.  I've done both. I've been a stay at home mom and a work outside the home mom and here is where I piss you off...

Stay at home mothers don't have a job. Just like working mothers don't stop being moms when they get a job. Yes, being a parent is hard work. Being a stay at home mom is full of its own challenges and issues. But it's not the same thing. When I stayed at home with C I cleaned house, cooked, took care of what he needed. When I went to work outside the home I cleaned house, cooked, took care of C...You understand? I didn't stop being a mom just because I had to go to someplace else and get a paycheck. Being a mother isn't your job. It's your life. So stop trying to get some extra worth from what you do by putting a title on it like that. And stopped getting pissed off when someone says that you don't have a job.

And for all of you stay at home dads out there the same thing applies to you, though I feel a little more sympathy in your direction.  Being a mom who stays home has always had a place in our society where no one looks askance at you for your choice. Being a dad who stays home is starting to reach that place. But not completely. And I totally get that there are people out there that judge the choice you made and you really feel like you have to justify it by calling it your work, or your job. But, dude, you are a parent just like the rest of us who are parents out there. It's not a job. It's not your Work. It's your life.

For those moms and dads who stay at home and see their counterparts in the workforce who drop their kids off at daycare, pick up dinner on the way home and live the easy life, let me tell you that's not the way it goes. When I was working when C was in full time child care we figured out that I was making between $1 and $2 an hour once you took out the extra things we needed because I was working. Childcare, an extra car, those sorts of things. But it was an extra $1-$2 an hour we couldn't make it without. So I was putting in 8-10 hour days at work knowing that I was making less than minimum wage, that C was in childcare instead of with me and dreading the phone call that he was sick and I would have to take off work. Because you can get fired for that sort of thing and there goes that $2 you needed. Imagine the guilt you feel as a parent when your child is sick and part of you is worrying about them and another part is worried about your job. Then come the weekends, and they are filled with all of the things you don't have time to do during the week. You clean, you cook, you shop, you run every errand, when the kids get older you also have to fit in whatever sport they are playing. It's not easy.

And for those of you who work outside of the home, think about how hard your weekends are. How you are trying to get everything done and entertain the kids and take care of every thing that is going on and then spread it out over the entire week. It doesn't get easier. It's not like there is less to do. Housework is like a gas it will fill the space you allot it. And if everyone is home all the time the messes are bigger, the cooking is more, the need to find things to do is greater. And who do you think runs the school activities? The sports teams? The general day to day of what happens with kids out in the world? Yes, those are the stay at home parents. Add to that the times you get asked (really asking is a nice way to say it since they assume you will just do it) for a favor since "you don't have anything else you need to do". It's not easy.

So yes, it's work. Yes, it's a challenge. Yes, you are doing the greatest thing in the world (if you are doing it well that is) but no, it's not your job. It's your life. It doesn't matter if you do it as a stay at home parent or a work outside the house parent. Instead of getting all bent and twisted over someone saying you don't work or don't have a job or shouldn't work or shouldn't have a job just let's all agree we are parents. It's not a job. It's your life. So for all of you stay at home parents when someone asks you what you do proudly answer that you do a lot of things, but what you are is a parent. Try that one on for size. And for all of you work outside the home parents when someone asks you what you do you can use it as well. I am an accountant for a living but a parent for life. And stop just stop trying to pussyfoot around each other. Stop being willfully ignorant in what you say and what you take offense to.

And for goodness sake someone help me figure out what to answer for what I do when someone asks! I tried out I'm a stay at home mom for a kid who didn't stay at home but it doesn't really flow....

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