Silent Sorority

Infertility Survivors Finally Heard

August 29, 2012

Enough With the Mom Pandering, Ann Romney

annromneyM E M O R A N D U M
TO: Ann Romney
RE: Enough Already With the Mom Pandering!

Like many others I am a registered voter and a citizen who wants greatness not only to flourish in the United States of America, but in countries all over the world. I am also a political junkie who makes a point of listening to both parties and their respective cases for why they believe they are best equipped to lead. That’s right. Call me a glutton for punishment.

Tonight I tuned into the Republican National Convention to listen to you. (Full text of the Ann Romney speech).  We both grew up in the Detroit suburbs. In the small world department, your sister-in-law chaperoned a few of my girl scout outings. I waited at the bus stop with some of your nieces and nephews. I was open to hearing what you had to say … that is until you made it clear that you had no interest in actually talking to me. In fact, you made me wonder if you even recognize that women like me exist.

“I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children’s children.”

Ooookay, I love damned deeply and I’m not a mother, but I’ll give you some poetic license here. What else have you got for us viewers? I’m all ears.

“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.”

Hey, uh, news flash: Some of us non-moms work pretty freakin’ hard to make things right in the world around us. What’s going on here, Ann? While you make a point to address …

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“The parents who lie awake at night side by side, wondering how they’ll be able to pay the mortgage or make the rent; the single dad who’s working extra hours tonight, so that his kids can buy some new clothes to go back to school, can take a school trip or play a sport, so his kids can feel… like the other kids. And the working moms who love their jobs but would like to work just a little less to spend more time with the kids…”

Helllooooo. Come on, Ann, you are totally ignoring those of us who also work hard to pay our mortgages and our local taxes to support education, and contribute to the children in our lives, those of us who participate and support our community to make it a safe and good place to live, who worry about our parents, siblings and nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors. No words of encouragement or any acknowledgment at all??

“It’s the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together.”

Apparently not…

“You know it’s true, don’t you?”

No, Ann, that’s NOT true. There are a lot of people who hold this country together who are not moms. I know many women who work very hard on behalf of those in their lives. I also know more than a few men who more than pull their own weight. Why the need to elevate the moms as more deserving of your praise?

“You’re the ones who always have to do a little more.”
Come again, Ann?

“You know what it’s like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done.”

We all have to earn respect, Ann. It’s what the working world demands. And after work what about those who are not parents who volunteer or offer their time and emotional support to others? Their contributions don’t merit a mention?

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“You know what those late night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they’re doing.”

Um, I do know what that’s like — as do my sisters who also are not mothers.

“You are the best of America.

You are the hope of America.

There would not be an America without you.

Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”

And the rest of us? Oh, wait, I get it. It’s like Mother’s Day. We are expected to sit quietly because when it’s time to pander and cater to the crowd, it’s all about cheering the moms! Go ahead, Ann, pat yourself on the back — five sons and 18 grandchildren. You are one fertile myrtle.

Funny thing, I remember your sister-in-law being a bit more inclusive. That was the 1970s, though, when we were encouraged to value all women — not just the moms.

Pop Culture 34 Replies to “Enough With the Mom Pandering, Ann Romney”
Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela Tsigdinos
Writer, blogger and, oh, yeah, infertility survivor. My memoir, Silent Sorority, tells the whole story. There's a movie in there somewhere. Given the quirkiness needed to relate it all I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence would be a good fit.


34 thoughts on “Enough With the Mom Pandering, Ann Romney

    Author’s gravatar

    I had thoughts eerily close to these while listening to the speech. Thanks for voicing!

    Author’s gravatar

    Recovering political junkie here. The ludicrous factor has become too high for me to listen anymore. Once they start elevating Ayn Rand and calling wealthy Americans “more noble,” well, I’m afraid I might have to pull an Elvis on my TV.

    Author’s gravatar

    We have heard this all before. So if we are Mom’s we are more valuable to society, we can love like no other and we are the centre of the family.

    This infuriates me and gives false expectations on what motherhood is and how it creates value in women. We are women, who for some reason did not have kids. This does not mean I am a worse wife, a worse daughter or aunt. I work damned hard and live life to its fullest. I am not political but these comments will alienate more women who could be voting in this election

    Author’s gravatar

    I love your memorandum to Ann Romney!
    I am not American, but as many Europeans I also follow the election campaing in USA.
    And Ann’s words made me think of Catcher in the Rye (that I read recently for the first time and loved it) and his sentence: “I would rather puke”
    (then listen to bullshit)

    In my country there are stil lots of elements of socialism. Just recently there was a prepostion in our parliament that women who are mothers and get retired, would get huge increase of their pension (depanding of the numer of children). Luckily it was not confirmed (yet), but you can imagine how furious I was just listening to different discusions on that topic.

    Author’s gravatar

    Amen!! What a ludicrous and hurtful message being spouted here. Ugh.

    Author’s gravatar

    What a great memorandum to Ann Romney Your responses mirrored my feelings exactly and I was feeling quite infuriated at reading the words of Mrs Romney and I’m not American. But your last comment about fertile myrtle made me laugh out loud. Well said!

    Author’s gravatar

    Echoing someone upthread: Ugh. That’s all this speech deserves. Just ugh.

    At age almost-57, the harshest grief and pain of infertility is a few decades behind me, but I remember the years when her words would have felt like a knife stab to the heart and provoked tears and self-deprecation. Now all the reaction it gets from me is a roll of the eyes. O.k., and maybe a tiny turn of the stomach.

    I salute all of you who have crafted a life in which you have found your own ways to “love,” to “hold the country together (huh?),” to “do a little more” without resorting to weary platitudes. And a virtual hug to those of you who were where I was 2+ decades ago, hurting and really internalizing media slop like this, believing that I would be somehow unevolved because I would not be a mother.

    Author’s gravatar

    Ugh. Thanks for the recap of her speech. I couldn’t bring myself to listen. Wow – so basically, if you don’t have kids, you don’t matter as Ann Romney sees it. Horrible message.

    Author’s gravatar

    I agree with you, for sure. Was sitting through the speech (and Christie’s afterward, which truly pissed me off on behalf of the teachers he says the GOP is behind), thinking, “What? What? What?” Ridiculous. As if the rest of the women in this world are nothing.

    Author’s gravatar

    I get so tired of this crap. Many mothers do a wonderful job and pull a heavy load. But guess what – so do I. I’m tired of being made to feel less worthy because I am not a mother.

    Author’s gravatar

    What infuriates me is all of the supportive comments on her “salute to women.” Just supports the crappy US view that all women are mothers and if you are a woman who is not a mother, you don’t fit into the proper little box.

    Author’s gravatar

    Does Ann, who probably had nannies for the vast majority of her childrens’ lives, even know what it’s like to work outside the home, in a real office, where it’s the non-parental employees who are asked to stay behind to pick up the slack because at least 3 parents left early to pick up their sick kids from school that afternoon? I don’t see those parents making up that lost productive time they’re being paid for, nor do I see my pay reflecting this extra time and work in compensation.

    This… woman is delusional. She doesn’t talk like a woman who raised 5 kids. My mother does. My mother raised seven alone after being widowed. Pandering is right!

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks for writing this. I was feeling the same way!

    Author’s gravatar

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch either, but this sounds like just about what I expected. :( The sad thing is, with a few editorial changes, this speech could have been far more inclusive. But obviously that would not have fit with the message the GOP is trying to send.

    I also find it very interesting that several of the Romneys’ grandchildren were reportedly born via ARTs including IVF (which they could obviously afford), when many Republicans would like to restrict or ban them altogether. It seems we are damned if we try to have children the best way we can, and damned (and “too selfish”) if we decide in the end to stay a family of two.

    Thank you, Pamela! (And lol at MLO’s comment.)

    Author’s gravatar

    I had been thinking of listening to the speech, as like most of us elsewhere in the world, we are also following the campaign with interest (if distaste). Thanks for writing this – because now I have no intentions of listening. I’m lucky that here (so far touch wood) our politics aren’t quite so mom-centric, though there is always the big push for “families” (meaning, of course, parents and children). There’s never any acknowledgement of the things you’ve outlined – the taxes we pay that support these families, the volunteer work we do that support families and the downtrodden that most mothers raising kids don’t have time or inclination to do, the caring we provide for the elderly because our siblings are all off living their lives with their kids, etc etc.

    Author’s gravatar

    I’m here with you on the “I would rather puke” (than listen to…)!!

    A few days ago as Hurricane Isaac was passing through the Florida Keys we got to hear an anchorwoman from MSNBC interview Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (this time a democrat), on politics, etc… Her closing remarks went something like, Thank you Congresswoman for speaking to us, as political figure and perhaps more importantly right now as a mother… I almost puked, too. It seems like in every single story about a woman, whether she is a political figure, or attempting to swim the strait between Cuba and Florida without a shark cage, the title or the commentary must center on her status as a mother or a grandmother…

    Author’s gravatar

    Another recovering political junkie here… I’m formally tuning out of every and all cable news related political discussion this season. Simply can’t stomach it. :)

    Author’s gravatar

    Ann Romney came off like she was pandering to women and she also came off as dishonest when she pretended to care about women. She especially sounded fake when she screamed, “I love you women.” Why did she have to scream that? I think I know why. When a person screams like that with force it takes the quiver/shakiness out of the voice if a person is being dishonest. I’m talking about the quiver/shakiness that is evident when someone is lying. Also when she yelled (“I love you women”) it sounded like she was trying to forcefully manufacture her own conviction in what she was saying as though she herself didn’t believe it and she was trying to convince herself as much as she was trying to convince the listener. It’s like when soldiers yell “Geronimo” as they jump out of an airplane so they can manufacture resoluteness inside of themselves. She sounded like she was trying to force herself to have feelings for other women because she really doesn’t feel anything for other women.

    And aside from her voice her actual words also seemed phony and fake. She was talking about having to deal with being poor and how she can relate to what it’s like to be a regular working-class woman was and I just didn’t buy into it. Her actual words were dishonest and phony, her voice itself sounded contrived, and her affection for other women sounded forced.

    Author’s gravatar

    I’m glad I didn’t watch it. Then I tend to not pay enough attention to politics.

    Author’s gravatar

    Great memo! On the flip side, I also know of moms who are blazing POS’s, who are damaging to their children and who do not in any way contribute to society except to pop out more humans. I do work hard to earn respect and to make things right. I lay awake at night at time wondering how we’re going to pay the bills. This morning, I had to be at work to cover a 4am shift because I don’t have kids and it’s easier for me to work in the middle of the night. I constantly cover for coworkers who have to leave to deal with their children. Eventually, I will have elderly parents that I’ll have to care for because my brother, who has three kids, is also a POS and does nothing but take from them. My husband and I spend lots of time with our nieces and nephews. Fortunately we are not looking for any thanks or recognition, we just want to contribute to making their lives better. I guess I’ll just continue to develop my thick skin, since the lifetime exclusion obviously isn’t going to stop.

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks for the comment, Angela. You’ve helped underscore and make the memo points stronger. (You also challenged my acronym understanding, but I think I now know what POS stands for!)

    Author’s gravatar

    I love this response. Sure being a mum is great but I think before i became a mum I was pretty great too and truth be told contributed to society a hell of a lot more than being at home changing nappies. It always upsets me in Australian politics when they refer to “working families” and benefits to support those that have families as if the child free do nothing to contribute and clearly according to politicians have the same concerns and worries.

    Author’s gravatar

    PS. I meant to say that I LOVED the comment about “what happened to kids doing their own homework?” My thoughts exactly! LOL

    Author’s gravatar

    I should not have found the video to see for myself. My husband turned it off. Funny thing is, she had a miscarriage in her 40’s and apparently talked about that earlier in the day on CBS. Even though she already had kids you would think that would make her aware and empathetic to the infertile community. I hope you don’t mind if I share this blog post in my Humanities class. I wrote papers on two stories about parents and today had to decide what makes a good Mom for my in- class discussion. The timing and topic of this blog post is perfect. Trying to look at the topic of parenting from any other perspective than my own is tough but maybe I can at least give someone else the chance to see this one through my eyes, even if it isn’t Ann Romney.

    Author’s gravatar

    Very cool, Rachel, that your Humanities class affords the opportunity to explore this topic from different points of view. Glad that this blog post (and the comments it prompted) can contribute to the discussion. Can you share the name of your college/university? Also curious to know how the class conversation unfolds. Please share any insights/comments that come from your discussion/presentation.

    Author’s gravatar

    THANK YOU so much for writing this article and for all of my smart, awesome sisters who responded. What a joke of a speech. As an aside, what does Ann Romney know about going to bed worrying about paying the mortgage or feeding her kids? WHAT A JOKE. I’m not a mom – I get it. But I, too, love more deeply – maybe even more deeply than Ann can understand. The relationships that I DO have and the people who REMAIN in my life are there for a reason and I cultivate them and protect them with all of my might. Oh, and by the way, since I’m ‘not a mom’, I have time to volunteer. I truly AM trying to make this country and the world a better place. I’m not just giving it lip service, Ann Romney, I’m actually doing something. Thanks so much for letting me vent.

    Author’s gravatar

    Watched it too and was disgusted.
    – huh my captcha phrase is moreova but. go figure

    Author’s gravatar

    Hear hear Pamela!! I heard Ann Romney banging on about mothers in her speech on radio here in Australia and was disgusted. I could not believe the level she went to in her praise of mums. Talk about over egging the pudding!

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