Ann Romney: My Career Choice Was to Be a Mother

Ann Romney, wife of Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, was publicly attacked for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, and by another woman. But this wasn't just any woman -- it was none other than Hilary Rosen, a political strategist. Rosen is the quintessential epitome of the "working" mom in society, and her critical comment about Ann Romney, that she "never worked a day in her life" has set off a social media, graduating to national media firestorm -- ultimately catching the attention of this stay-at-home mom -- who happens, also, to be a Mormon. Mind you, Rosen's comment was not intended to be a compliment -- nor a benign observation.

Video: Rosen on Ann Romney "...never worked a day in her life".

We all see the politics behind such tactics, as we know that womens' issues, in general, are going to play an even greater roll, going forward, in this year's presidential campaign. With Santorum now out of the way, Romney is basically assured the Republican nomination and will face, head on, Obama in the general election. Clearly the gloves are now, officially, off. But I say to Ms. Rosen, shame on you --  that as a woman, your willingness to participate in undermining womanhood and the individual right that each of us have to determine, for ourselves, what is right and best, for us, and our families is just that, shameful. Frankly, the war on women should not have as its greatest adversary, other women. I particularly appreciate Ann Romney's response to Hilary Rosen, in this Fox News report:

Video Clips from Ann Romney's response to Hilary Rosen on Fox News
My career choice was to be a mother

As Mormon women, whom Ann Romney is one, we have personal beliefs, based on the doctrine of the family, that have caused many of us, myself included, to make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I am of the same generation as Ann Romney, when such a choice was generally accepted as positive, and shared by the majority of women, both inside and outside of the Mormon faith -- even honored. Today not only does the world advocate that equality for women means the "right" to work outside of the home, to pursue one's career of choice, but is also becoming that which, among the majority of women, garners the greatest respect and supposed hope for personal fulfillment. Granted, this is a mindset that has had its time coming, as evidenced by the occasional challenges, to such a choice, that many of us have encountered along the way.

Due to this widespread interpretation of equality, an increasing number of Mormon women are making the choice to pursue careers that take them outside of the home to work. Let me emphasize though, that I do not believe that all Mormon women who work outside of the home are victims of this mindset. Many must do so for economic reasons, while others are imploring very creative ways to juggle home and family responsibilities, with supportive husbands by their sides, that allow and enable them to contribute to society in very meaningful ways -- while not sacrificing family as the priority. Modern technology is of great assistance in allowing many to generate both income and education, while never leaving the home -- or having to do so minimally.

Julie B. Beck, teaching the doctrine of the family, said this:

"In addition to understanding the theology of the family, we all need to understand the threats to the family. If we don’t, we can’t prepare for the battle. Evidence is all around us that the family is becoming less important. Marriage rates are declining, the age of marriage is rising, and divorce rates are rising. Out-of-wedlock births are growing. Abortion is rising and becoming increasingly legal. We see lower birth rates. We see unequal relationships between men and women, and we see cultures that still practice abuse within family relationships. Many times a career gains importance over the family."

Mormon Prophets and inspired LDS leaders have always taught the importance of womanhood and the influence of mothers. With today's economic challenges they continue to teach the importance of family, first, with a sensitivity to the challenges that many encounter. Gordon B. Hinckley, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave this inspired counsel, and warning, while addressing the women of the Church --  over 20 years ago:

"Now to others who work when it is not necessary and who, while doing so, leave children to the care of those who often are only poor substitutes, I offer a word of caution. Do not follow a practice which will bring you later regret. If the purpose of your daily employment is simply to get money for a boat or a fancy automobile or some other desirable but unnecessary thing, and in the process you lose the companionship of your children and the opportunity to rear them, you may find that you have lost the substance while grasping at the shadow."
He went on to say..
"I wish with all my heart we would spend less of our time talking about rights and more talking about responsibilities. God has given the women of this church a work to do in building his kingdom..."

In a more recent General Conference Elder M. Russell Ballard made this statement in his address: Daughters of God

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."

Utilizing the power and law of witnesses Elder Richard G. Scott boldly added his voice to President Benson's, in a General Conference address: The Power of Correct Principles:

"President Benson has taught that a mother with children should be in the home. He also said, “We realize … that some of our choice sisters are widowed and divorced and that others find themselves in unusual circumstances where, out of necessity, they are required to work for a period of time. But these instances are the exception, not the rule.” (Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, pamphlet, 1987, pp. 5–6.) You in these unusual circumstances qualify for additional inspiration and strength from the Lord. Those who leave the home for lesser reasons will not."

Julie B. Beck, former General Relief Society president, responding to this all too familiar question, at the 2011 BYU Women's Conference:

"One of the questions that I get frequently is, "Is is okay if I work outside of my home or I don't work outside of my home?" You have to know that as an international, global, Relief Society president, that question isn't always appropriate in all the world's countries. There are many, many places where if our women don't work, they don't eat. So of course they have to work. The question of whether or not to work is the wrong question. The question is, "Am I aligned with the Lord's vision of me and what He needs me to become, and the roles and responsibilities he gave me in heaven that are not negotiable? Am I aligned with that, or am I trying to escape my duties?" Those are the kinds of things we need to understand. Our Heavenly Father loves His daughters, and because He loves us and the reward at the end is so glorious, we do not get a pass from the responsibilities we were given. We cannot give them way. They are our sacred duties and we fulfill them under covenant."

The most recent address given to the women of the Church, by President Thomas S. Monson, was at the 2010 General Relief Society Meeting, in which he had this to say on the subject:

"My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another? 

Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” The Savior has admonished, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” I ask: can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer—with Mother Teresa: no, we cannot."

As Mormon women, we have been clearly instructed as to our first priority -- the family. Let us trust one another, enough not to judge the different choices that we make, in regard to working outside the home -- or not. Ours is a relationship of covenant, that by the Spirit will guide these types of decisions, if sought. The adversary has, as his mission, to destroy our unity. As women of Christ we must resist such attacks and see them for what they really are. The prophet Joseph Smith was a great example of understanding the principle of individual agency, and exemplified this when he said, "I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves".

The Savior taught the principle in this manner:
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (D&C 58:26-28)

Kathryn Skaggs

Ann Romney is a woman that I would feel honored to have in the White House, serving as our First Lady! It might even be okay if she brings along her husband, Mitt Romney. I'm a believer in the old saying that "behind every good man is a better woman" and I'm pretty sure in the case of Mitt, truer words could not be spoken.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World
"WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

Julie B. Beck: Mothers Who Know
"The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). 1 However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children."

"No, we don't look down on the many women who work. Yes, LDS Church leaders have taught that the role of a mother is sacred and vitally important, and have encouraged mothers to stay home, when possible. Let me first point out, however, that the Church encourages both women and men to become educated and to be prepared to make meaningful contributions in the world."

LDS Newsroom Topic: Women in the Church

"Motherhood and the nurturing of children are held in special respect in the Church, and many Mormon women who make this their first priority also achieve prominence in later life in business, education, medicine and other endeavors."

Eternal Marriage LDS Institute Manual: Mothers' Employment Outside the Home - Selected Teachings

Former CNN Producer and Mormon stay-at-home mom, Jocelyn Christensen, shares her very personal decision to walk away from CNN: Doing My Dream Job

"Women in our church are given many opportunities to serve and lead. We are encouraged to get an education and to follow our dreams. As I have pursued my goals in life, I have benefited from the wisdom of inspired church leaders. I felt particularly empowered by an address delivered last fall to the women of the church, called Mothers Who Know. In the talk, Julie B. Beck, the president of our women's organization offered many pearls of wisdom. Her main message was that there is "eternal influence and power in motherhood.""

We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ: The Hard Work of Motherhood

Over on "...and Spiritually Speaking" Sarah had this to say in response: Just a Stay-at-Home Mom?

"Because of the importance of the role of motherhood our Heavenly Father will guide our decisions, if there is any way possible to stay home with your children, do it, make the financial sacrifices so you can do this. I promise there is nothing more rewarding as this, and nothing as important. If this is not a possibility, know that Heavenly Father will make up the difference. So let's seek His will in this important matter, and let's be kind to each other."

Modern Molly Mormon: Every Mother is a Working Mother

"As women, we should be supporting one another. We should be creating a community and doing our part to make this world a better place. And yet, here we are, tearing one another down, denigrating the role and worth of motherhood and simultaneously denigrating the role and worth of mothers with an additional job. This is not how it is supposed to work."


  1. This issue never seems to go away. The first 17 years of my marriage I stayed home with my kids, working only a couple of evenings a week in law offices for extra cash. The "working" moms just "assumed" I would watch their kids because after all, I didn't have anything better to do anyway. When I had to go back to work full-time (preparing for my older kids to go to college), the stay-at-home moms chastised me for working because my 4-year-old had to go to a babysitter. I wish we could all learn to respect each other for the decisions we make for what we feel is best for our own families.

    1. In such a case that we are doing what is right for our family, guided by the Spirit, I say: It's none of my business what you think of me -- and move on... ; )

  2. I am thankful that I know for myself how important my role is as a mother in my family and in the world. The peace that I feel in my own home trumps anything that is said in the political arena.

  3. I spent 20 years as a stay at home mother of 6 kids. That was my most challenging and rewarding job. Now I have worked as nurse for 9 years. I enjoy my job and coworkers but I know there are plenty who can do that job. My children only have one mother. I appreciate the class that Ann Romney has displayed.

    1. Oh that every mother would know how truly irreplaceable she is! Having that same understanding was a strength that kept me going, too, as I spent nearly 30 years raising my own five. : )

  4. I was a "stay at home Mom" for most of my life with the exception of a few days here and there helping my husband with his business. The first time I went to help him, all of our first five children were in school. I took the youngest with me and we got home about an hour after the others got home from school. The next morning as the children were going out the door to school, our youngest son asked me if I were going to be home when he got home from school. I asked him why. He said, "I didn't like it that you weren't at home. It didn't feel like home."
    He passed away in his early teens. I look up and say, "It doesn't feel like home after you left, either, Son."

    1. Oh wow. That really puts things into perspective. I'm so sorry for your loss. As a mother, I can imagine such a loss and my heart truly breaks for you. Together we shall rejoice in Christ and His mission to bring us all safely home. Much love to you. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I am a single woman and have worked to support myself since before graduating from college. I had every wish and intention of getting married and raising a family, but that has not happened. I would give up my current career in heart beat if I were to find a great guy and get married. I don't need a career to feel fulfilled. In all truthfulness, I am really tired of going to work every day :) I would welcome the opportunity to work in the home and not out of the home. I am well passed the child bearing age, but would gladly welcome grandchildren, or anyone elses children, into my home.
    To those who say that a stay at home mom has "never worked a day in her life" I say, RUBBISH!. I have seen how hard my mother and countless other mothers have worked. They volunteer at schools, hospitals, libraries, and countless other places because there is a need. They work to create a warm loving environment where not only their own children, but the children of others feel safe and cared for. They juggle various schedules, shop, sew, wash, create menus and meals, clean, organize, etc. Yes, there is a place for moms who choose or need, for whatever reason, to work outside of the home. But there is also a place for moms who choose/need to work in the home. Just as the mom who works out of the home should not judge those who work in the home, the opposite is also true.

  6. I would advise that like to be take care and as well be career-oriented as without career nothing is there and without family we can't live. Because humans are social and we have our own ambitions also.

  7. Some people have to work. Other's don't. Others should but choose not too. I am a proud stay at home mother of three boys ages 7, 4 and 16 months. Not to mention, my mother lives with my husband and I and I take care of her as well because she is physically disabled. She's on peritoneal dialysis, a diabetic, she is legally blind, she has congestive heart failure and pacemaker. Taking care of three boys and a sick parent while trying to keep the house clean cook three square meals a day is very hard and at times very stressful and I'm only 26 years old. It's a lot to take in. My job is not easy. I KNOW hard work! I've worked my but off for the past 8 years trying to take care of my children and my mother and my husband's needs as well but I do it each and every single day and I am very proud of my job and I do everything out of love and compassion for my family. Shame on anyone who looks down on me for that. I have so much respect for Ann Romney and as a stay at home mom myself, I have to say, WAY TO GO! For taking a stand and standing up, not only for herself but for all the stay at home moms out there. Thanks for posting! It was a wonderful read!

  8. Such insightful comments! I love the part where Pres. Monson tells us not to judge each other. That is truly one of Satan's Best tools, creating internal disunity. I have spent time on all sides of this issue. I was starting my family in the 1980s when I remember Pres. Benson 3 times (In his talks)telling to "ME" that my place was in the Home! I am sure that it was the Holy Ghost helping me make the right decision for my family. I was very grateful as situations changed in our family that I was able to hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost again help me to find a job that allowed me to be at home as much as possible but still assist with the family income. My family is by far my most valuable possession! Worldly Things will never compare to the Beauty of an Eternal Family!

  9. Growing up in the 80's and 90's my mom and most of my friends moms stayed home. That was the norm. Now, most of my kid's friend's mom's work. I think there has been some choice in there as well as some necessity. As more women entered the work force the cost of living rose forcing more women to have to go to work to help support their families. I am a stay at home mom, but it is at a sacrifice to things our neighbors and friends have such as newer furniture, vacations, fancier clothes, and fewer sports and music lessons. But unlike others, I am fortunate enough to be able to make that choice.

  10. Well said! There is no job harder than being a mother and whether you work in or out of the home, your job as a mother never ends. Being a mother has taught me so much more about life than my years working in a career or any classes I took in graduate school.

  11. Judge not lest ye be judged.

  12. The only way this is ever going to go away is if people stop judging others choices. You have no idea how many working women would love to stay home and if they had resources like Ann Romney they would be able to do it. You never no what another's circumstances are--some need to work for financial reasons, some for mental health reasons. Being a stay at home mom is hard work but being a working mother is hard work as well. I think Ms. Rossen's point is that we don't all have resources like Ms. Romney's.

    1. Exactly. Every woman has a different situation and it isn't up to us to judge them on their individual lives, but to help them and feel compassion towards *ALL* women.

  13. I am not from the USA, and don't have any particular interest in the overall political debate, except that it is enlightening to see US politics at work. However, I have chosen to be a stay-at-home mum for 23 years, and I find it upsetting for anyone (particularly a women) to suggest that I have no understanding of the economic plight of working women. I deal with the economic workings of my household every day, my children have gone without many of the luxuries of life because we choose to exist on a single income, I shop at the store each week and struggle to balance the budget at the end of it, and I work very hard to raise children to be upstanding citizens who respect all people and the choices they make. Indeed, I am at the cold face of the economic situation and I work longer hours than any other women in a paid job. Thank you Ann Romney for graciously defending women's rights.

  14. The irony here is that Ann Romney defends herself using the language of "choice" when hers is the party that has historically denied women many types of choices. I am a Catholic woman married to an LDS man, and have no intention of staying home to raise a family because I would not feel personally fulfilled, and an unfulfilled mother is not a good role model for a child. Given that I have made that choice, and that my professional contributions are equal to that of a man, I should receive equal pay. However, Mrs. Romney's husband cannot decide whether he's for or against even a right as basic as that. The right of women to work in the home has never been in jeopardy.

  15. Renee,

    There you go again! I don't think you really understand who Mitt is, if you think that. Mitt has and does surround himself with competent women, whom he listens to. He has just tapped Beth Myers with the responsibility of vetting vice presidential possibilities. Beth Myers was his Chief of Staff when he was Governor of Massachusetts. I think you will be hard pressed to find a real example of Mitt not respecting women in the work force. Beth Myers has worked with him for years, and is extremely loyal. That is one thing that is repeatedly pointed out about Mitt. Those who work for him are very loyal to him. I guess you can look at him as either the "Godfather" or someone who commands loyalty. The choice will be up to you. Anyway, the Obama white house pays less to their women than their men. Maybe you should be asking President Obama why he doesn't believe in paying women as much as men.

    I have also been a stay at home mom for 21 years now. We have not been "rich" and have often gone without the fancier things in life so we can provide for our children. The idea that someone must be "rich" to stay home is silly, and it is class warfare. My best friend has worked all of these years while raising 6 children. She has always made more than her husband, who didn't earn enough for them to life comfortably, but together they have always earned MUCH more than we make. My friend and love each other dearly, and have learned to see the struggles each of us have faced. My friend, as she struggled with daycare and job issues. Myself, as I struggled to live frugally on less money. She would complain about being limited on the amount of money she could deduct on her taxes for day care, and then I would remind her that I gave up an entire income, which I could never write off on my taxes.

    We each need to respect each other's choices. Never should we get involved in the tit for tat, "Well, I work harder than you do." If you indulge in that behavior in a marriage, you will destroy it. Likewise, we women need to be above such behavior.

  16. SRV Gardener, I've never written a comment on this blog before, so maybe you have me confused with someone else - otherwise your "there you go again!" makes no sense. I'm also not sure why you brought up this being-rich thing in relation to my comment...I said I would be _unfulfilled_ staying at home, not poorer.

    A candidate surrounding himself with competent women, while positive, is not the same as a candidate clearly articulating a position of support for equal pay for women, and their right to sue to remedy inequality. Google "Lily Ledbetter Mitt Romney" and have a look. (Obama is the one who signed it, though that's largely irrelevant to this conversation)

  17. Loved this article. I think when you have an eternal view, like women of the church do, our view is not focused on vacations and dinners out, but the reward of a happy family, and content home life. Ironically, I have felt more empowered as a woman and a wife by staying home than I ever did when I was working.

    1. I don't want to argue, but it's really trivializing to say that vacations and dinners out are what motivate women to pour their talents into a job that produces a paycheck. It's like saying that you chose to be a homemaker because you lack perspective and work ethic and want to sit around all day reading romance novels. This probably isn't true of you because there's plenty to keep a homemaker busy all day, but isn't it insulting to be told that the thing you prayerfully chose to do is really just based on your own selfishness? I just think everyone needs to be more open minded and just be cool with people doing their best instead of boiling down every act of individuality to a lack of eternal perspective.

  18. This whole thing is just a fabricated controversy brought on by the fact that this is an election year when every molehill is going to be made into a mountain. What Hilary Rosen said on TV has clearly been taken WAY out of context in an effort to score cheap political points. She did not ATTACK stay-at-home moms - her point was that because Ann Romney had access to a gazillion dollars, she had the luxury of staying at home and raising a family without the financial pressures that millions of other moms who would love to stay at home are faced with. But the GOP propaganda machine did a good job deliberately conflating the two different meanings of the word "work" - 1) a job outside the home that provides financial compensation (the Rosen definition), and 2) labor in a general sense (the Romney definition). And what of Mitt Romney's declaration from last January, where he spoke of "the dignity of work" for lower-income women who were receiving government subsidies? His approach is to force those women into the workplace if they want to continue to receive their payments. So apparently if you're a woman of means and choose to stay home, you are doing the Lord's work and should be deified, but if you're a young struggling single mom, you need to get your lazy ass off the couch and get a job. Park your kids in day care all day and head on down to the local greasy spoon, where you can schlep cheeseburgers to those who are more fortunate than yourself. That seems to me to be a pretty glaring double standard.

  19. Na realidade ser uma mulher sud e um previégio pois minha esposa sempre esteve em casa acuidar de nossos filhos para serem cidadãos exemplares e nao meros marginais de escola rua trabalho mas cidadaos que primam em ser exeempolo na sociedade e em familia Obedientes e sabios empre prontos a ajudar o seu Próximo
    bem hajam

  20. Your post is well written and respectful, but I think you miss the point on why this topic bothers us working gals. When the LDS church covers this topic, the choice to work always comes down to fancy automobiles and (laughably) boats. Why does every talk about working women boil us down to vapid creatures who only work for materialistic or selfish reasons? To me, that's just as insulting as saying that any stay-at-home mom must be lazy or uneducated. Most of the problem is rhetoric. When the Church puts out a call to come home from work, they always mention lower-income support roles like nursing, secretarial work, or waitressing. You don't hear a lot of calls to come home from the cancer research laboratory or the senior design post, because they don't want to admit that women are doing anything besides earning a little extra money to keep up with the Joneses. It's easier to send the message that society doesn't need us and that home couldn't possibly run without our constant attention. The Church has done a better job recently of at least throwing in a few caveats about not judging destitute women who are forced to work in order to put food on the table (and you cited these here). But why should my only choices be to stay home or to automatically ruin my children, alienate my poor "adoring husband" who apparently can't make a bed, and eliminate all my happiness in the hereafter? There is no talk about how you can be an ideal mom, a good Christian, AND a good career woman all at the same time. It's hard—but so is anything worth doing. The men are consistently encouraged to be both good providers and excellent fathers, but the message from the Church is that it's impossible for women to have that same balance in their lives. That's the disconnect. Women are told we're special in one sentence, and in another we learn that we can only handle half of what the men can handle without having our pretty little minds blown. That sounds cynical, but this is how the Church's mixed signals on the worth of women make me feel when I leave the house to do work that challenges me intellectually and provides my family with the things we need. My job opens creative doors for me and gives my husband the freedom to work up the ladder in a very competitive industry; our house has junk mail on every surface and mountains of laundry waiting to be done, but we have a very close and equal relationship, and we love how we spend our work days. I firmly believe that your interpersonal relationships are the best things that will ever happen to you, so you can't let those fall to pot. I believe in strong families and close bonding. However, I do not believe that being a homemaker is the only way to keep your life out of the pits of hell. I respect your decision though and just wanted to add my experience to the dialog.


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