Friday, October 22, 2004

Teresa Heinz Kerry – Moms don’t do Real Work

In the referenced USA Today interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry, she is quoted as claiming Laura Bush never had a real job in her adult life. She later apologized for forgetting Mrs. Bush’s jobs as a librarian and schoolteacher. This "apology" only made things worse and exemplifies what liberal elitists feel for women who choose to stay home and raise their children.

We are a single income family. I go to work and “bring home the bacon”, as it were. I show up at work anywhere from 7:00 to 7:30, usually get to take a 30 – 45 minute lunch, then get off at 4:30, assuming no computers blow up.

Julie wakes up with Jude anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30. She feeds him; changes his diaper; cleans up after him (and me, I confess); limits his practice for the Fisher Price Horse Throwing competition, the Toothpaste Artwork contest, and the Topple the Entertainment Center Olympics until I come home from work; tries to get him to nap (sometimes as effective as putting an obese cat in a small paper bag); and valiantly struggles to keep a clean house and cook for her often-grumpy husband. If she’s really lucky she gets to shower and take a nap. Her day with Jude ends at around 7:30 at night, assuming he doesn't wake up screaming in the middle of the night.

Although I present it in a somewhat humorous light, I have often come home to find Julie in tears because of a little rampaging creature that woke up on the wrong side of the crib and will tolerate nothing other than being constantly carried around to whichever destination he chooses, and displays his displeasure by emitting the most mind-wrenching shrieks imaginable. In the interest of loving, but not spoiling, our child, Julie endures the shrieks long after I would have either given in or locked him in his room.

I take Jude on Saturday mornings and let Julie sleep in, a luxury she rarely gets. Depending on where we go, minding our son requires constant vigilance to the exclusion of almost anything else. My own brother once, after catching a glimpse of what was involved in caring for children (my sister has 3), was amazed that parents are able to get anything done at all.

I’m sure that Heinz Kerry loves her sons and probably made sure they had the best nannies money could buy. She chose to involve herself with the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies rather than take a more immediate role in her sons’ lives.

Am I bashing women who choose to work and leave their children’s upbringing in the hands of others? Assuming it is done with the best interests of their children at heart, or due to the financial needs of the family, no. What aggravates me and has infuriated my wife and several others throughout the nation is the casual contempt with which Heinz Kerry dismisses the duties of homemakers by claiming that those don’t constitute a “real job”.

Is this the sort of family we want presiding over our nation? My family doesn’t. We don’t want someone who married into his (and her) wealth rather than earn it attempt to speak on our behalf and implement policies that would be “good” for us. We don’t want someone whose concept of familial obligations is so far distant from our own in a position where they can push legislation that will affect our family. We don’t want people laden with such comfortable snobbery, whose idea of a “real job” is so unrealistically narrow, in any position where they can create laws designed to fit their illusory vision of the world.

The Kerrys live in a different world than that inhabited by my family and millions of others in the United States, and I’m not speaking from a basis of class conflict. You can be rich and still have realistic ideas of what is involved in family life and motherhood. The Bush’s are a prime example. No, the Kerrys have displayed again and again an ignorance of what “normal” families lives are like, and asking them to lead us is as wise as inviting Kwasi Mfume to take the helm of The Heritage Foundation.

Single women and bachelors might be able to get away with making cracks along the lines of Heinz Kerry’s. As a mother herself, though, she has no excuse for this insult to American homemakers. One could conjecture that, just as John Kerry has betrayed fellow Vietnam veterans and the Catholic Church he professes to follow, Heinz Kerry is simply following in her husband's footsteps by betraying her own.


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