Thanks for Ruining my Dinner, Mitt.

Can we get a woot-woot?  The election season is almost over!  Several times, I’ve had to give myself permission to be angry about comments and issues, comment on FB or CNN, and then move on with my day.  Last week, however, it was hard to move on.  Something got stuck in my craw.

Mitt Romney made it personal.  He talked about me coming home to cook dinner.

Let’s just get this on the table now.  I’m no Mitt Romney fan but after the Rick Santorum debacle, I let down my guard.  Remember Rick Santorum?  We [I mean women] dodged a bullet with that one!  He wore his beliefs on his sleeve… to the extent of saying prenatal care was a precursor to abortion and rape was a gift in disguise.  Mitt Romney couldn’t be that bad….could he?

Then Mitt chose Paul Ryan as his running mate.  Then Mitt wouldn’t release his tax records.  Then secret tapes showed him dissing 47% of us and saying he didn’t want the public to get sick of his wife.  It all left me wondering – Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

The past few weeks, Mitt Romney is finally showing us who he really is:  A candidate who says takes illogical positions (ramping up military funding while balancing the budget and cutting taxes?), unapologetically changes his positions (pro-Romneycare, anti-Obamacare) or takes every opportunity to deny or hide them (the taxes thing).

[Note to my toddler son:  I plan to raise you to be honest, consistent and trustworthy.  Love, Mom.]

The highlight this week:  He’s not interested in equal pay for equal work for women because it would be a strain on businesses*. You know, the poor little businesses that profit or move forward because of the work we do for them.  When he was asked about that at last week’s debate, his response ended with his story of his “benevolent” treatment of a female staffer to allow her to get home on time to cook dinner.

I’m sorry, what?  My interpretation:  “Screw you and your equal pay BS, working woman.  I will stand up for CEOs and the businesses and the wealthy, but not for you and your family.  Now shut up and make me a hot meal.”

Thanks, Mitt, for ruining every dinner for us last week.  I love making dinner for my family most nights but you just made it an angry event.  I was angry that you turned a conversation about fair pay into one about dinner.  I was angry at my husband for even joking that he’d vote for you because you’d make sure I made him dinner every night.  I got angry thinking about the future, hoping that this issue will be solved by the time my kids enter the working world.  Most of all, I was angry because the 9% inexplicable gap in women’s wages compared to men is plain and simple BS.

Thanks but no thanks.  Letting me go home early – while nice – is in no way a substitution for advocating for equal pay for me.  You either are interested in ensuring I can get the SAME PAY for the SAME JOB as a man with the SAME CREDENTIALS, or you support unequal treatment.  There is no gray area for me here.  If you won’t stand up for working women in this regard, I see no reason to stand up for you.  Or make you dinner.

*AUTHOR’S EDIT:  OK he didn’t actually say he’s not interested in equal pay…. but he hasn’t said anything on the subject, which leads me to assume that he is in step with the Republican Party that policy promoting equal pay for equal work would hurt businesses and corporations.

Photo credit makelessnoise via Flickr

About the author

Mary Beth is married and works full-time in the public health arena. She has a daughter born in 2008 and a son born in 2010. She's only recently feeling settled as a sane(ish!) family with a nice(ish!) routine. She blogs at blooMBing and tweets as @blooMBing.

47 Comments

  1. Shannon says:

    I think you’re taking one comment too far and too personally here, but even if your allegations of Governor Romney or any other political candidate are correct, I’m not sure we should be opening up LWM to political debates.
    Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Brandy says:

      My 2 cents: If there ever was an election cycle that has “working mom” written all over it, it is this one. This is what politics are all about. It clearly struck a cord with a lot of women…so we should talk about it. No matter what the side.
      Brandy recently posted..Happy 30th Birthday to My MannMy Profile
      Twitter: mannlymama

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      • Shannon says:

        I think every single election is equally important, and I’m certain that my parents and grandparents who didn’t have the support to work full-time when they wanted to would disagree that in 2012, THIS is all of a sudden a ground-breaking election more so than any other.

        I’m not siding with anyone. It’s just my personal opinion. Making statements to sway others without citing research and paraphrasing a candidate’s words on this forum just isn’t my thing.
        Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile

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        • Brandy says:

          Oh it is always an issue…yes…it just hasn’t been as publicized that I recall. That is the sad part. It is 2012 and we are STILL fighting this. Throw the Romney name out of it. The whole country is responsible for making it better. I don’t believe any POTUS has the power to change it…but he said the words so he gets the spotlight about it.

          I have heard this from other moms…not just Mary Beth…so I know the post is a valid one of many people’s concern. That is all I am saying. Glad to see some good ole fashioned opinion writing. I am know I am too chicken shit :)
          Brandy recently posted..Happy 30th Birthday to My MannMy Profile
          Twitter: mannlymama

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      • HeatherK says:

        I completely agree with you Brandy. But I do not think this post was looking at the big picture. At LWM there is a lot of talk about why we all choose or have to work: whether it be for personal or financial reasons. We should ALL be lucky that we are able to work! I know too many women who are SAHMs only because they cannot find work in this crappy economy. I know many women who would love to be moms but they can’t afford it in this crappy economy. Let’s get women jobs, good jobs, jobs that match their degrees, first. And then worry about how much they are paid in comparison to the man in the cubicle next to them.

        Reply
        • Tracy says:

          Have you seen the latest statistics out there about how women continued to be paid less? Though the inequalities aren’t as disparate with women with similar degrees as men, still, this is a huge issue that cannot be ignored. Here is a recent Huffington Post article, sighting Slate research, which gives you the stats on the inequalities, and even states, “Even in the best states for income inequality — North Carolina, Maryland, Florida, Nevada and Hawaii — women still only make about 75 percent of what their male counterparts make.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/worst-states-gender-income-inequality_n_1987806.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women
          Twitter: wa_tracy

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          • HeatherK says:

            I am completely 100% aware of this. But after 2/3 of my department got cut due to government cutbacks (I am a govt contractor) I am lucky to have a job! At this point I would rather be making less than my male coworkers than sitting at home collecting unemployment. I am not the only one! I live in DC, where things are going to get A LOT worse before they get better.

          • Tracy says:

            I agree with Brandy. Guest posts would be great. Check out the “join us” tab up top to see how you can submit a post :)
            Twitter: wa_tracy

        • Brandy says:

          Wanna guest post? :) We HAVE written about all that stuff. At length. It’s just nice to see something new and topical. It’s still relevant whether we all agree on it or not.
          Brandy recently posted..Happy 30th Birthday to My MannMy Profile
          Twitter: mannlymama

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          • HeatherK says:

            Haha Brandy! As much as I disagree with Mary Beth’s post and her opinions of Governor Romney, I have mad respect for her for putting them out there. It was a brave thing to do, and I don’t think I would be able to do it! My blog post would consist of my explanation to my 4 year old that “Robama” is a human president and not a robot. I have no idea where he got that from!

        • Tracy says:

          As a government employee as a teacher, who got RIF’d and hired back, I too am greatful for a job in a district where we have not had any pay raises since I got hired 5 years ago. Still, I’m lucky to be a teacher where pay is based on merit and years of service. Not everyone is lucky enough for this and I appreciate it.
          Twitter: wa_tracy

          Reply
        • janie says:

          I’m sorry, but I just can’t get behind the idea of “let’s just be thankful for what we’ve got.” None of the improvements in working pay/conditions or women’s rights that history has witnessed happened by just sitting back and being thankful for what we’ve got. And they are not mutually exclusive. I can be grateful for my job, happy to have a career in my chosen field that is fulfilling and still think that it is unfair, untenable and downright infuriating that in the 21st century that my work is less “valuable” than a man’s contribution.

          Reply
    • Mary Beth says:

      If we can’t talk about it on *Liberating* Working Moms, where can we? My opinions are not those of LWM – they’re mine – and I appreciate LWM giving me a forum. I’m sure they’d be open to an opposing view as well. If Romney supported equal pay, he would have said “I support equal pay” by now but he has not. It wasn’t just his comment — it’s his stance. Flex hours are wonderful but the question wasn’t about flex hours – it was about fair pay and he dodged it.
      Mary Beth recently posted..How To Make a Tractor Costume {Tutorial}My Profile
      Twitter: bloombing

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  2. Bryn says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I agree on several fronts.
    Twitter: Awayathomemom

    Reply
  3. Shannon says:

    You may be right that he “dodged” the answer because Romney has never addressed whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama. We do know that Paul Ryan voted against it. I agree that equal pay for equal work is a pertinent issue to working mothers; however, I was just making the argument that small comments meant to be used as examples or analogies are often taken out of context.
    Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile

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    • Mary Beth says:

      I think Romney was honestly trying to say something nice… that he met the needs of a staffer. But if you’re freakin’ running for POTUS, you should damn well know better than to take a question about fair pay, dodge it, and finish up with a story about a mom cooking dinner. At least say – “I support equal pay for women but I don’t see it as a role of the federal government” but he dodged it. I wouldn’t be so PO’d if this wasn’t his MO… to dodge or change his stance on issues important to me.
      Twitter: bloombing

      Reply
      • mrshiggison says:

        I’m actually glad you said this Mary Beth.
        I found myself thinking that night: “I think he just effed that up and it’s going to sound really bad from the wrong side.”
        Because I’m no Romney fan (which is neither here nor there, since I’m…here…in Canada:) but um…I do like to get home in time to make dinner. One of the things I like about my employer are their flexible hours for me. But not at the expense of my worth compared to a male counterpart. Which WAS the question asked. Which he dodged. Poorly.

        Politics as polarizing at this? Have the ability to be extremely hurtful if we’re not careful with our words and speak only from facts we are certain of. It’s true of candidates, it’s true of citizens.
        mrshiggison recently posted..Achievement Unlocked: Doc McStuffins BadgeMy Profile
        Twitter: mrshiggison

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      • Shannon says:

        Well-said. I agree 100%.
        Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile

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  4. Lindsey says:

    Lily Ledbetter doesn’t guarantee equal pay for equal work. It expands the time frame under which a woman can sue for pay discrimination. Nothing can really guarantee truly equal treatment. I personally believe that I should be paid what I am worth to an employer- if taking maternity leave and wanting to leave at 5 make me less valuable than a man (or a woman) who works 24/7 ….. so be it. That’s the employer’s right, since it’s their money and their business. I dont’t think that pay gap is inexplicable. At all.

    If you let the words of a politician who you disagree with affect you personally enough to affect your feelings about cooking dinner for your family, I’m sorry. That can’t be fun for you. It’s important to me to be home to have dinner with mine, and I thought it was nice to hear Romney recognizes that, though I would have liked to hear him relate it to working dads as well.

    Reply
  5. HeatherK says:

    I usually enjoy reading LWM, but I am sad to see such a one-sided and completely biased post on this site. You call Romney a liar, but what about ALL THE lies the president has told us?!? How about that lie about Benghazi he told in the second debate? The one that the moderator broke protocol to defend? And then, only AFTER the debate was over, she conceded that, in fact, ROMNEY WAS CORRECT AND THE PRESIDENT HAD LIED! You know what would be best thing for working moms, for stay-at-home moms, for single moms, for men, for gays, for straights, for EVERYONE? A good economy, a safer middle east, and good foreign relations with our allies and our enemies. We should be pondering that as we make our dinner, watch our husbands make dinner, or go through the drive thru every evening. End Rant.

    Reply
    • Shannon says:

      Aaaaand, this is exactly what I was afraid of and tried to point out in my original comment.
      Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile

      Reply
      • mrshiggison says:

        Shannon, don’t fear what comes of this. If you can state your point with respect and facts, there’s nothing to be lost. Hell, you may even change a mind. But some commentary on women’s issues in the election deserves a place here. I happen to think that this DOES affect working moms. Mary Beth maybe used some terminology you’re not happy with. You told her so. Good.
        THIS, ladies…is where our voices start. There is no need for attack or fear or apprehension. Civilized discussion, so maybe the future looks a little different for our kids.
        mrshiggison recently posted..Achievement Unlocked: Doc McStuffins BadgeMy Profile
        Twitter: mrshiggison

        Reply
    • Mary Beth says:

      I didn’t call him a liar. He has changed many of his positions since he was governor. These are my views, not LWM’s, but I am a working mom and my opinions matter. All our opinions matter. I value equal and fair treatment of everybody and is it too much to want to hear that from our possible next president?
      Twitter: bloombing

      Reply
    • Tracy says:

      I’m sorry that you are upset by this post. As the manager of LWM I welcome all views and viewpoints. The point of this post is to address working mom thoughts, and nothing else. We don’t all have to agree, but we can be constructive in our conversations. I appreciate you taking the time to express your views, but want to make sure you know that if a contributor wrote a post on the other side of the issue, I would gladly publish it. We are all inclusive here at LWM.
      Twitter: wa_tracy

      Reply
      • HeatherK says:

        No worries Tracy. As I said elsewhere, while I don’t happen to agree with Mary Beth on the issues she raised in the post, I have tremendous respect for her for putting herself and her opinions out there. My rant stems from a frustration I have during this election of people not looking at the big picture. I do not agree 100% with either candidate on all the issues. Every election I take, what I feel, are the two biggest problems facing our country (and everyone in it) and vote for the person I feel can best handle these issues. Well, this year, for me personally the two biggest issues are our economy and our relations in the Middle East. I am concerned about women’s issues, but I think work needs to be done elsewhere FIRST. Just my opinion.

        Reply
  6. Mary Beth says:

    “Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn of Cornell University tried to get at the pay gap between similar men and women by stripping out many of the differences that might affect wages, such as relative levels of education, the type of occupations and the industries they worked in, and the greater likelihood that women would interrupt their careers to have children. These variables explained about 60 percent of the total difference in wages, leaving an unexplained 9 percent pay gap between women and men.” – NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/business/economy/motherhood-still-a-cause-of-pay-inequality.html

    Motherhood or womanhood should not make me a less valuable employee. No employer should ever say – “You’re a mom/woman. For those facts you’re worth less to me. Your performance, basically, doesn’t count.” No matter how you slice it, it just doesn’t work.
    Twitter: bloombing

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  7. Jamie says:

    I was raised as a conservative but have found myself becoming more and more liberal over time. I have a MA in Poli Sci and politics is near and dear to my heart. I shy away from discussing it too vividly on blogs because of friends I’ve lost in the past who did not agree with my point of view. Personally, I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion (and I can be friends with people with various viewpoints on numerous things – it doesn’t bother me if we don’t agree) and should be able to express it however they see fit.

    In the second debate, I so badly wanted to see maternity leave coverage (or lack thereof) brought up when the “binders” snafu occurred.

    As the election applies to working women, I think President Obama and Governor Romney come from completely different viewpoints. Romney’s wife was a SAHM and President Obama’s wife worked in a high-powered career until he became president. As such, their views and opinions on working women and women’s roles are very different. In my personal opinion, I feel that Obama can relate more to me as a middle class working woman. He was married to one for years.
    Jamie recently posted..A Date with my Little Guy…My Profile
    Twitter: Jamieweitl

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  8. Mary Beth says:

    FYI – This is a great article, much more well-written than mine LOL – where you can actually get involved on another level. http://action.momsrising.org/letter/Binders/
    Twitter: bloombing

    Reply
  9. Jamie says:

    Bravo to you for posting this, Mary Beth! It is a total landmine (obviously- holy comments, Batman!), & “going political” gets a bad rap, IMO. It’s not “politics,” it’s policy, it’s our leadership! Yes people disdain talking about this, but… that’s the problem. We need to find a way to care about politics, and not just ignore it when it gets to be too much. Especially when a politician puts as much out there as Romney has (binders, dinner on the table, et al), that should be something workng mothers at least consider. Brave post, excellent points! Thanks!

    Reply
  10. cayley says:

    Regardless of political views, I am stunned and saddened that working moms, women, humans, would conflate the economic hardships of unemployment and job scarcity right now with wome not getting paid fair wages. Men and women both have it tough right now, and all of us working folks are fortunate to be employed. But that has NO bearing on whether women should be paid less for the same job, and it’s truly disturbing to me that anyone could really believe we should be grateful for that 75% salary. That just means it 25% harder for her family if her husband loses his job. Or, god forbid, she is a single mother. That’s a lot like saying a woman whose husband treats her like crap should be grateful because she’s married and not everyone’s so lucky. Or slaves in the 18th cent should have been grateful to have been counted as 3/5ths of a person, b/c earlier they weren’t counted at all.

    Reply
  11. Observacious says:

    Yeesh.

    My thoughts on politcs on LWM is that if the issues discussed are related to being a working mom that it is appropriate to bring up here, even though the commentary may get a bit heated. It would be good to try to make sure there is a blogger who can support an opposing viewpoint, so that the site is not viewed as biased. For example, both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney did guest posts for BlogHer.
    Observacious recently posted..Advice for Undecided VotersMy Profile
    Twitter: observacious

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    • Tracy says:

      Every contributor has a right to address whatever issues they would like. If a contributor chose to express their views opposed to this, I’d gladly publish it. I cannot force writers to write about issues they would rather not. I can only support what they would like to express.
      Twitter: wa_tracy

      Reply
  12. Anna says:

    If we’re going to be fair, then let’s also put out there that Obama pays his female staffers less. He is hardly innocent. Secondly, i’m tired of people acting like it’s such an atrocious thing to want to be home in time to make dinner for my family. You know what I want as a middle class working mom? Flexible hours so I can be there to raise my family as much as I can, be there for the school plays and run home when a child starts vomiting. I’m more offended by the massive amounts of debt this country is in and out of control spending than Romney trying to meet the needs of one of his employees.

    Reply
  13. SJ says:

    Did you ever consider that he knew it was important to his co-worker that she be home in time to make dinner for her family? Maybe it’s a priority in their family that they have family time together. I think it’s ridiculous that you took such great offense to this comment.

    If you want to talk about equal pay for women, how about the fact that Obama continues to under pay women on his staff? By 18%. (http://shar.es/cjKGU) How about Obama’s higher positions are held by men? Male VP, male Chief(s) of Staff, male WH aides. Romney had a female Lt. Gov and female Chief of Staff.

    If you’re going to get in a tizzy about something, why don’t you do some research and not just base your entire blog post on a comment that you have no further information about? Furthermore, why doesn’t LWM have viewpoints from BOTH sides?

    Reply
    • Tracy says:

      SJ, Contributors choose what they want to address. As the Managing Editor, if a contributor wanted to address the other side as it relates to moms in the workplace, I’d gladly publish it. Each writer expresses their own views.
      Twitter: wa_tracy

      Reply
    • Mary Beth says:

      SJ – the 18% number is often quoted, but only sourced in that one article I can find. It made an assumption on staffers’ names and doesn’t say what their actual role was. Still, it’s concerning for sure… and something the Obama campaign should probably comment on.

      Clearly it was a nice thing to allow her to be home if she wanted that. I didn’t take offense to that. I love being home to make dinner too! My offense was – that wasn’t the answer to the question asked. He has a history of avoiding his position on equal pay and I’m tired of it.
      Twitter: bloombing

      Reply
  14. Law Momma says:

    Somehow I missed this when it was first posted. I have to say, the bigger picture problem with both of the gentlemen running for office in this election is their ability to circle a question with finesse. I can’t think of the last time I actually heard a politician speak directly to the question presented much less answer it with any authority.

    As a woman who is also a mom and also an attorney, the issues of fair pay for women strike a chord for me. It’s 2012. It shouldn’t still be an issue. I shouldn’t have to go to my boss and present a case for why I should be paid as much as the male attorney in the next office who has less experience but, yes, different underwear than me. It just shouldn’t be an issue. But it IS an issue because as women we often fail to argue for our own worth… and THAT is what needs to be changed. I agree with the commenter who indicated the Governor and the President come at this from different angles… Governor Romney had a SAH-wife and no daughters, President Obama had a WOTH-wife and two daughters. We can’t expect them to view this issue from identical perspectives… but we CAN talk about the problems that may/will arise regardless of which is elected if women are not taken seriously as part of the work force in this country.

    Reply
  15. Law Momma says:

    Also I didn’t proofread that before I posted it. Obviously. I’m not even sure it makes sense.
    Law Momma recently posted..Bumps and BruisesMy Profile

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