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The Myth of “The Corporate Wife”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Last night I recoiled at FOX News correspondent Juan Williams comment about Mitt Romney’s wife Ann. He said, “She is a corporate wife”. Upon further questioning he intimated that she was a “kept woman”. I know the “corporate wife” sitting next to me in my apartment dropped her jaw and sighed in disgust.

Except I didn’t work for a corporation. That adds an element of risk that isn’t there with corporate life.

The US to me was always about freedom and choice. Isn’t that the main point of pro-abortion activists, that women should be free to choose? I can’t speak for Ann Romney’s choice. But, she raised five boys and did a lot of charity work outside the home. I suspect she was pretty busy.

My own family isn’t dissimilar. Maybe Juan Williams might feel differently. My wife was one of the top salespeople in her division of the multi-national company she worked for. After we had our first child, she kept working and we tried the day care thing. But we didn’t like it, and she chose to stay home and raise our kids. We didn’t have five boys, but had two girls.

As my wife says, “Who better than to raise the next generation than a college educated person that loves them?”. My wife has a business degree from the University of Illinois’ College of Business.

Women who choose to stay home don’t have a life of bon bons and cherries. They deal with a lot of problems foreign to women that work-and deal with the constant assault of messaging that tells them they made the wrong choice. Women will get out of parenting what they put into it. If they tell themselves they hate it, and choose to be unhappy-they’ll be unhappy. Many women I know that chose to stay home said it was the most fulfilling experience of their lives.

But the point is not to judge. Every women makes the choice that is best for them and their family. If they choose to stay home, great. If they choose the tenuous balance of work/life/kids, that’s okay too. It’s the United States and we ought to be free to choose what we want to do. People shouldn’t try to pigeon hole us into convenient gerrymandered slots that they can try to exploit for their own gain.

Juan’s characterization is rooted in myth. Even the corporate wives that you see in Mad Men didn’t have it easy. Women that stay home lose control over income. They make a bargain that the person they married will provide income, while they make the rest of their lives go smoothly. That’s why Ann Romney said after a tough day men sigh, and women sigh longer.

Women are under assault all over the place in our current culture. I see it all the time and experience it through both of my daughters and my wife. Crap, in high school and colleges, men don’t even know how to date anymore. Many are so afraid of rejection they don’t know how to even ask. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a beautiful women walking down the street in Chicago next to a guy who barely has taken a shower. I shake my head.

Women need to feel safe with any choice they make and guys…guys need to grow a pair.

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