Gallup Poll Shows that Low-Income Stay-at-Home Moms Are ‘Struggling the Most’
A Gallup poll released today surveyed 600,000 women and found that stay-at-home moms are more likely to feel anger, sadness, and depression than working moms:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The degree of difficulty of being a stay-at-home parent is evident in a new Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 U.S. women interviewed in 2012. Non-employed women with young children at home are more likely than women with young children at home who are employed for pay to report experiencing sadness and anger a lot of the day “yesterday.” Stay-at-home moms are also much more likely to report having ever been diagnosed with depression than employed moms. Employed moms are about as emotionally well-off as working women who do not have children at home.
Stay-at-home moms also lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily positive emotions: They are less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness “yesterday.” Additionally, they are less likely than employed moms to rate their lives highly enough to be considered “thriving.”
However, low-income stay-at-home moms are struggling the most. Many in this group are likely staying home out of economic necessity rather than by choice, and they likely feel pressure from tight finances and the demands of motherhood.
To hear Politico tell it, however, the Gallup poll does nothing more than vindicate Ann Romney who purportedly was disparaged by Hilary Rosen when Rosen noted that Ann Romney had “never work a day in her life.” Disparaged? Sure — if you’re a pearl-clutcher:
Just weeks after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen disparaged Ann Romney, a new survey on Friday showed that stay-at-home moms are more likely to experience sadness, anger and depression.
In April, Rosen accused Ann Romney, the stay-at-home wife of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, of having “never worked a day in her life,” sparking repudiation from the Obama campaign and a sharp response from Ann herself.
“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work,” Ann wrote on Twitter.
Politico‘s article is journalistic tripe drenched in sadness. After reading it, one comes away thinking, gee whiz, Ann Romney must have been super depressed and sad because she stayed home and raised 5 boys. How awful for her! Sad face.
But what about the salient point, here? What about the point that Hilary Rosen was actually making? That Ann Romney, by virtue of her privilege and wealth, had a choice to say home where other women may not be able to make that choice? Here is what Rosen actually said:
What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I am hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.
She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we worry—and why we worry about their future. I think, yes, it’s about these positions and, yes, I think there will be a war of words about the positions.
What about that? What about the fact that low-income women are, according to Gallup, “struggling the most”?
It doesn’t seem to matter. Not to Politico; not to the GOP; and certainly not to Romney who has stated that he would require women who receive welfare to work — even if these women have young children — because he wants them to experience “the dignity of work.”
The dignity of work! Imagine that. How benevolent of Romney.
By their own admission, Republicans led by their Bot-in-Chief don’t really value women who work in the home. Or, if they do, they only value women like Ann Romney who make the choice to stay home and raise children because they can.
“All moms are working moms!” they proclaim while expressing nothing but disdain for low-income women who have to stay home out of necessity. “Republicans should honor women!” Except for when it comes to honoring those kind of women in a way that might actually reduce their hardship:
WASHINGTON — House Republicans emphatically agree with Mitt Romney that stay-at-home moms work just as hard as anybody in the workforce. But when it comes to applying that standard to mothers on welfare, they draw the line.
Romney weighed in on the work of stay-at-home moms last week after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen suggested that Ann Romney, a stay-at-home mom, had “never worked a day in her life.” Mitt Romney defended his wife’s choice to stay home with their five sons by saying, “All moms are working moms.”
“Well, I agree,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said of Romney’s comment.
But when Mica was informed of a Democratic bill that would allow child rearing to count toward the required “work activity” that must be performed by recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families — the federal program born out of welfare reform in 1996 — he had a change of heart.
“It’s a stretch. It’s a stretch. It’s a stretch,” Mica told The Huffington Post earlier this week.
“Anybody who knows what they’re talking about would know it’s darn hard work,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “The entire issue is that women bear a disproportionate share of the hard work. Birthing, carrying, the whole thing — it’s hard work.”
But he raised his voice when asked if that meant he could support the Democratic bill.
“Of course not!” he said. “I’m for jobs!”
Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who is running for Senate, called the Democratic bill “disgusting.”
“Frankly, the idea that Democrats are doing something like this is disgusting,” Mack said. “That being said, we should honor women not only for the work they do outside the home, but for the hard work at home.” [-Seriously?! -ed.]
Tea Party favorite Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) described raising children as “the most precious and valuable work that gets done in America.” But he scoffed when he learned of the Democratic bill.
“There are lots of things we can describe as work. Is raising children as a mother work? Is raising children as a father work? Is washing the car work?” King asked. “I’d like to be paid for washing my car, but we have to draw the line somewhere.”
Got that? All moms are working moms; raising children is hard work; raising children is some of the most valuable work that’s done in America; but when it comes to actually acknowledging that work and helping low-income women get a leg up, all of a sudden raising children is the same as washing a car.
So much for the dignity of work.
When Republicans talk about stay-at-home moms, they’re talking about the Ann Romneys of the world. Low-income mothers are considered welfare queens, if they are considered at all.
Poor mothers often don’t have the choices that wealthy women do. That is a simple fact. It would be nice if Republicans would acknowledge that poor women leaving their children deserve the same amount of respect that wealthier women do, and accord them that respect. Sadly, Republicans’ double-speak on the “war on moms” demonstrates that such respect may never be attainable for low-income women.