Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Get a (real) job!

Captain Ed has a great post today called "Billionaire Widow Sniffs: Laura Bush Never Had a Real Job."

The Heinz-Kerry/Edwards camp has topped itself in its own expertise - leveling personal insults at the opposing camp's family. After the attacks on Dick Cheney using the personal life of his daughter, you would have thought they might have learned a lesson. They tried to disguise that debacle by saying that they were actually complimenting the vice-president's family on how they had shown love to their daughter. That was until Mary Beth Cahill and Elizabeth Edwards went outside the playbook and said, respectively, that Ms. Cheney was "fair game" and that her mother must be ashamed of her.

This week, Theresa Heinz, implied through her statements that she would make a better first lady because she had had a "real" grown-up job. Captain Ed does an admirable job comparing and contrasting the careers of Ms. Heinz and Mrs. Bush so I won't comment further on that.

The problem that I see with Theresa's statements about Laura are two-fold. Number one, polls show that Mrs. Bush is well-liked among swing state voters, undecided voters, and even voters in the Democratic party. Bad, bad form to insult someone who is so well liked and highly respected. Especially, someone who never has an unkind word to say.

Second, every woman (and man, too) who has made the choice to stay at home and raise their children will be alienated and infuriated by these statements. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last six years. Before that, I worked first in the school system and then in the corporate world. When I was in my office, I could ask my assistant to hold my calls so that I could complete an important project. After coming home to my two (beautiful) daughters, I was on call 24/7. I couldn't even go to the bathroom without interruptions, let alone complete the many household tasks that I had to do.

I have had friends who were highly successful businesswomen, call me in tears because they couldn't get their two-year-old to stop coloring on the walls. Parenting IS a "real job."