So Hillary Rosen in-artfully blurted that Anne Romney never worked a day in her life, and Ann Romney, of course, retorted that raising five boys is a lot of work. Ok….
I just want to put out there that work is relative. Choice is not. Ann Romney said that she did not have a nanny and took care of her children herself. Admirable. But she had that choice. As a "when-do-I-not-work" mom, I would looovvvee to have her choices. I did not have the choice to stay at home to raise my children. My first child went on the road with me, as many children of musicians do. I, like many other mothers, went back to work within weeks of giving birth: six weeks for baby number one (that is, I was on tour in Europe within six weeks of her birth) and two weeks after an emergency c-section for baby number two. (disclaimer: I worked for a week and then I had a couple of weeks off for the christmas holiday afterward)
Though I am by no means poor, I have had some tough choices to make. Here's a few:
- Do I continue to live in the super-high-cost-of-living city that might bring me more work musically, New York, or move to a relatively cheaper area where I can also be more sure of better public education (I can only afford free) and access to free child care (Grandma)?
- Do I put all my eggs into the unstable world of the music industry, and risk having to scrimp and scrap to be sure I've got enough money coming in, or do I work nights teaching, thereby ensuring that I can maintain a stable income, but also inadvertently creating more financial pressures since the (slightly) increased income means I must pay an over $1000 per month pre-school bill since I am thereby ineligible for financial aid?
- Do I go to my third job even when I'm sick because I really need the money so my children can have the benefit of camp in the summer, after school activities like a dance class, or clothes that are not second hand? (disclaimer: I would probably buy second hand clothes even if I had more money cause I just don't believe in spending full price for a child who is going to grow out of something in 3-6 months. I'm just saying...)
- Do I let my kids go to the dentist and get x-rays, knowing that this will mean something else will not get paid for, like, for example, my own medical bills? (I had a colonoscopy this year and the insurance that I pay for out of pocket did not cover it due to the cost of the procedure not reaching the level of my deductible)
- Do I get to have a night out with my husband, or a vacation with or without family, or have enough money to pay the mortgage that month?
Just by making this list, I see that I am very blessed. I have some pretty good choices. But my point is that the amount of money one makes allows for easier choices: house or townhouse in this area or that area, in which both are pretty nice by middle class standards. I'm not having to figure out, on a regular basis, which bills to pay and whether I can continue to afford to live in my house - - oh wait, I DO gotta do that…My house is underwater…Should I sell? Nope…can't get the money back I've put in and also want my kids to stay in the school system they're in...and really don't want to move back in with mom….yessir, $250,000,000 would sure come in handy right about now. Maybe then I could ask Ann Romney how she handled all the pressure…