A Letter to Ann Romney

Dear Ann Romney,

Hi. How are you? How was that $500 per plate fundraiser the other night? Tasty? Or rubber chicken at fundraiser prices? Could you have made better chicken at home?

Wait, do you cook?

OK, that was snide. I’m sorry. You seem like a perfectly lovely person. I bet we’d find plenty to talk about over a plate of brownies and some sparkling water. Women usually do, you know? We have so much common ground that we can usually overlook our differences, unless one person is determined to be a jerk. I’m sure you’re not determined to be a jerk.

But even though you seem nice and you’re trying hard to be relatable, Ann, you’re making it clearer and clearer that you’re not. Like I say, you’re trying. At that $500 per plate dinner you said this:

“I know what it’s like to wake up early in the morning and get them off to school; I know what it’s like to be up in the middle of the night when they are sick; and I know what it’s like to struggle and to have those concerns that all mothers have,”

Yes. That is the common ground. But then you continued on and said this:

“My hats off to the men in this room too that are raising kids — I love that, and I love the fact that there are also women out there that don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids,” Romney said. “Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn’t easy for any of us.”

Ann. That was awful. It sounds awful. It made me feel awful to read it. Because it underscores the differences between us so starkly. Because we all know, we KNOW, that your life is not really like ours. And you should know it too. It has similarities because you’re a mom, probably a very good mom. So, we have that and that is HUGE. But the rest? Ann, your life is not like ours.

Your life is not like mine today when I had to spend the afternoon juggling a whiny toddler and own pregnant bulk as we sat tethered to the house waiting for a plumber to come during the 4 hour window the company offered us to get our toilet fixed. Waiting and hoping that the cost of the repair wouldn’t blow this month’s budget. You never had to wait because there was probably someone else to do the waiting. Someone on your staff. Or maybe someone was on staff to do the fixing without bringing in a plumber at all. And the cost was never an issue.

Your life is not like my sister, a public school special education teacher who is the primary breadwinner in her two-income household. You never worry, as she does, about the implications of school budget cuts that leave her without a raise year after year. Budget cuts that still leave room for high-stakes tests wherein her students’ performance affects her job security even though her students have no chance of achieving the arbitrary standards politicians set forth for them. Standards that will affect her own children when they go to public schools. Because private school is not an option.

Your life is not like my friend S whose husband chased a dream of running a non-profit arts institution across the country only to have the organization fall victim to the economy and fold shortly after he arrived. They lost everything and S can stay home with her kids now only because her in-laws are generous enough to let her family live with them while they regroup from financial ruin.

Your life is not like my son’s beloved daycare teacher who achieved the dream of home-ownership by virtue of a home built by Habitat for Humanity. Her first home. Which did not have a car elevator to the underground garage.

Ann, your life is not like ours. You have a safety net that most of us only dream of. Yes, you stayed up nights with sick children like we do but you didn’t emerge, bleary-eyed, into the daylight thinking of how to continue to care for the sick child who couldn’t be sent to daycare and still deal with the responsibilities of your paying job. You didn’t worry about losing a day’s pay to stay home with that sick child – or worse, losing your job. You didn’t worry about what to do with the other kids while you took the sick one to the doctor. You didn’t worry about how to pay for the doctor. There was money. There was assistance. There was security.

You’re a mom like all of us, Ann, and you know the highs and lows of motherhood like we do. We could talk about that all day long, I know we could. But your life is not like ours. Your circumstances are not like ours. You may love the diversity of experience that you imagine American motherhood to encompass but, Ann, you don’t understand it. Not really. And your husband doesn’t seek to remedy the discrepancies between your experience of unqualified security with the rises and falls the rest of us face. He doesn’t see (anymore) the need for universal access to affordable medical care. He isn’t calling for paid family leave. He isn’t proposing to raise the federal minimum wage. He isn’t talking about fixing the mess our schools are in due to No Child Left Behind’s draconian standards. He’s not talking about the needs of moms like the rest of us because the only mom he knows is you.

And you, Ann? You are not like us. You could learn what it’s like to be us but not at $500 per plate fundraisers. To learn about us you need to be in our communities, our kids’ schools, our workplaces. You need to see us for what we are. We would welcome you in to come see. I hope you take us up on that.

Come learn about us, Ann. And then teach your husband.

Sincerely,

Mom-in-a-Million.

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18 comments for “A Letter to Ann Romney

  1. Alicia Hart
    April 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Excellent post.

  2. April 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    great post! loved it. single dad, with no net!

    thanks for the post.

    Charlie

  3. Amy
    April 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    You know how much I adore you and this makes me love you even more because it was written so well. Xoxo

  4. April 25, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Outstanding!! Let’s stop talking about “family values” & start valuing families! Please Ann, stop trying to relate to me and my circumstances too!!! Come walk in my shoes first, then we can chat.

  5. April 25, 2012 at 7:20 am

    As usual you said very well what the real issue is here. I don’t understand why others can’t see that. Thanks for the post. Love it.

  6. April 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Yes!

  7. HeyProfBow
    April 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I was thinking as I was reading this that what they need is a good case of polio. Not to wish ill on them, but until FDR 1) Got polio 2) Was forced to deal w/ a less-than-perfect life 3) Forced to deal w/ & live life w/ the common man, he had no idea what their lives and struggles were. Until then, he was “just” an ambitious politician.

  8. April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Yes. From a single mother with no safety net, thank you for writing this.

  9. FedUpWithPeopleWhoDoNothingForThemselves
    April 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    http://www.womensconference.org/ann-romney/ you probably should read this. you clearly didn’t do any research on your target.

    HeyProfBow- Ann has MS. If you had done any research on what that is like perhaps you never would have posted that remark. My cousin has MS and while it isn’t Polio it’s still Hell.

    I’m not a fan of Ann or her husband and I hope it doesn’t come down to Romney vs. Obama… They’re both far from representing the average U.S. Citizen and neither are really in touch with the happenings of this country.

    I’m also not a fan of ridiculous rants that do nothing except aim to tear down someone. That was some “welcome” you gave Ann at the end there. No, Ann doesn’t struggle like the rest of us but GOOD for her for finding a way to not have to.

    My husband, daughter, and I had to move in with my parents but you don’t see me sitting there wishing the rich would have to come walk a mile in my shoes. Avoid my shoes.

    I don’t think your gripe is with the $500/plate fundraiser, I think it’s simply the fact you don’t have that kind of money. Certainly, your financial problems didn’t occur because of Ann, Mit, Michelle, or Barrack… I think you’re ridiculous for thinking Ann and Mit/ Michelle and Barrack should take responsibility for fixing your mistakes, your troubles, and your life. Get off your computer and start fixing them yourself.

  10. HeyProfBow
    April 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I meant metaphorical polio (which I should have clarified)- something that would have required them to understand the complexities and challenges of the positions of others. They clearly do not understand them. Ann has these physical challenges (not just MS, but breast cancer as well) without the challenges that others face, such as going absolutely broke b/c of it. I am also dealing w/ an illness that is a challenge, but I have good health care, good support, and don’t have to worry about paying for it, and I can still work. I would also think it’s a mistake to assume that an illness necessarily makes you a better person (thus, I should have really clarified that the “polio” I was suggesting was metaphorical).

    I certainly don’t begrudge the rich. FDR didn’t give up his money- he just started getting a better sense of the complexities. In fact, I get really uncomfortable when we talk shit about the 1% just b/c they are rich. It’s a horrible stereotype- look at Warren Buffet or Bill & Melinda Gates. The problem is the Romneys offer to solve problems that they simply don’t understand. Also, he plays at being the common man, which he is not. I find that disingenuous, arrogant and (ironically) uneducated.

  11. FedUpWithPeopleWhoDoNothingForThemselves
    April 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Now that I agree with. Well said HeyProfBow.

  12. Patti Cox
    April 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Dear Mom in a Million, you have said all the things that so many of us want to say but haven’t. Our country depends on Mom’s like you to challenge those that have no idea what the middle class Mothers have gone through. I am happy for those that are fortunate to have lived succesful lives without having to work outside the home and be able to be home with their children. Too many of them have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a working Mother outside the home and especially when she is a single Mother, and yes that goes for single Dad’s as well..Thanks for speaking out..Signed, A retired Grandmother who has been there and knows…

  13. April 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Great post. Really, just well put. I wish there were a snowball’s chance in hell she’d read it.

  14. Anna Diaz
    April 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    This is the best put recant to the out-of-touch politicians I have read!

  15. Tracey
    April 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you so much for the great new post! As a family with no safety net and slowing sinking into the quagmire, thank you for putting this into words….

  16. Erin
    April 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Ann Romney was not always the well to do grandmother she is now. She was once the young wife of a student, going through pregnancy and raising young boys. I would venture to guess that she didn’t always have a staff to wait for the plumber for her. Are the Romneys “average” Americans? Not really. But they have managed their finances very well in order to be in their current position, and maybe they can lead our country out of our current financial mess with their experience. And it’s not like Michelle Obama ever had to work 3rd shift at McDonald’s to make ends meet. Sure she was a working mom but from what I understand it seems like that was more by choice than necessity.
    And I doubt that Ann Romney would ever wish a healthy person to walk a mile in her MS and breast cancer experience just so they could better relate to her.
    Peace, love and understanding.

  17. Kristen
    May 3, 2012 at 12:42 am

    We will never move forward in this country until we stop attacking each other and start attacking the real problems facing our country. Personally, I love rich people………I hope to be one someday! Everytime liberals start in with the class envy talk, they completely lose me. Get over it!

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