President Barack Obama delivered a speech in Rhode Island today where he touched on the gender wage gap, much of which is due to women leaving the workplace to take care of their children. You can watch his speech below:
The quote that pissed off stay-at-home moms and right wing pundits was thus: “Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”
The right wing took this as an attack on stay-at-home moms, the nuclear family and probably Christmas since they’ll throw in that imaginary war any chance that they get. Nowhere did he say he wants all mothers to go back to work. Nowhere did he say that stay-at-home moms are making the wrong choice. All the man is saying is, “Hey, you shouldn’t have to choose between raising your child and smashing the glass ceiling. Let’s help with that.”
Working mothers don’t love their children any less, and given the chance, most people—both parents, fathers and mothers—would stay at home with their kids. But the reality is, that’s not financially feasible for a lot of families, especially families in which the mother is the higher-earning parent. Demonizing working mothers won’t improve anything for anyone, but that’s what a lot of hyper-defensive conservatives have taken to doing in light of President Obama’s statement. If the economy were more stable, of course more parents would stay at home. Unfortunately, many parents simply don’t have that luxury. (Of course, those parents could also just avoid becoming parents in the first place, but that’s not going to win over people who don’t believe in birth control but also hate abortion.)
Listen, there are plenty of valid reasons not to approve of Barack Obama as president of the United States: His handling of Benghazi, his droning of civilians in the Middle East, the NDAA and the NSA for starters. But his speech on working mothers and stay-at-home moms is not one of them, and harping on this will only make valid arguments against his administration diluted. Please take several seats and keep your noses out of other women’s wombs.