Mon, Aug. 19

Letter: Being stay-at-home mom isn’t what it used to be


I have fond memories of the mid-late ‘70s when I was a “stay-at-home” mom. My late husband and I made the sacrifices necessary to live on one income. He carpooled to work, I was a “couponer and refunder” and I babysat for a neighbor boy whose mother was a teacher. That cash was for “extras.” Those days were priceless and I was so blessed being able to teach my children the lessons of life I wanted them to learn not some stranger.

However, it became apparent that the economic prosperity of the ‘70s would soon be over. My husband began to experience lay-offs as a manufacturing supervisor. With his support, I decided to complete my degree in a high-demand healthcare field attempting to go to classes part-time and stay home part-time. Luckily, I attended a private women’s college with excellent babysitting services so I could take my children with me. There was abundant money in student loans to allow me to do this.

For a couple of years this worked but then we became victims of the “ trickle down” ‘80s recession when choice manufacturing jobs moved from the Midwest to the South for “cheaper” labor. And, as we all know today, subsequently moved to Mexico and then globally. My late husband was now laid-off on a more permanent basis, going anywhere he could to find work rather than try to live off unemployment. I dropped out of school during the day to work as a grocery store checker and then took night courses. He became a “househusband” while job hunting. We used food stamps to get by along with the generous contributions of church and family. Finally, with a lot of finagling I finished my degree and got a full-time, well paying job immediately.

Alas, my late husband, though not as well prepared as me, became the “stay-at-home” mom. He wasn’t thrilled but did what needed to be done. I only wish today’s recession was as easy on our children as the ‘80s recession was on us. Our neighborhood, friendly savings and loan let us pay interest only on our mortgage. We avoided bankruptcy and foreclosure.

No, I am not resentful of Ann Romney and am not part of a liberal agenda to accuse conservatives of waging a war on women, but I guess I find it laughable that she would in any way have experienced the ‘80s recession as I had. And, I find it even more laughable that she could empathize with today’s young families who have lost their homes, jobs and ended up cramping themselves into a 1,200 (or less) square foot home to live with their parents.

Personally, I think Ann Romney is a genuinely nice person and should not have to answer for her husband’s misspeaks. Rich people will always have more material wealth. It’s been that way for centuries. The rest of us say “so what, the real wealth in life isn’t material anyway.”

The bigger problem is American people and institutions have allowed themselves to become pawns in a self-serving media and political game. If you are one of the many who can’t find their way through political rhetoric and media hype such as the latest buzz phrase “war on ______” (fill in the blank), you need to verify the facts not swallow the “spin”.

Lynda Keegan-Kuglitsch