A Mother’s Gift Is Priceless
Democratic adviser and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen caused widespread offense April 11 by saying that Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “never worked a day in her life.” Rosen’s remarks suggested that because Ann Romney was a stay-at-home mother, she “never worked” and cannot understand the American economy like women with paying careers. Romney later responded: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Romney’s statement is true. However, the ensuing public focus on how “hard” it is to raise children seems to imply that the difficulties of being stay-at-home mother are what make it an equally worthy choice as a paying career. But raising children doesn’t derive its worth from being “hard.” Motherhood isn’t so much a “tough job” as it is a gift of self―a loving act of recreating the universe anew for her child.
All work―paid and unpaid―derives its value from the dignity of the human person. Despite market price comparisons for the things stay-at-home mothers do (which are considerable), no price can be placed on the gift of self that is motherhood. Utilitarian arguments forget that human beings are valuable for their own sakes, not for what they produce in the economy or for the equivalent monetary value of their unpaid work. A mother raising children is worthy of reverence, not because motherhood is hard, but because it is great.