Politics aside, was I the only one a shocked at the Ann Romney rah-rah speech about the supremacy of moms. Don’t get me wrong, I believe moms are great. I also love strong women, including my own mother and my wife. I found Ms. Romney’s speech reaching a little too hard to bring women back into the fold after Democratic “war on women” charges. Does one sex really have to own hardship, caring, homework chores, “sighing just a little louder” about the worries of the day. I was kind of hoping we were starting to get beyond the old stereotype of the big lunk who goes to work to bring home the bacon, leaving his in-charge wife to manage the checkbook, household values, and child-rearin’ to the kids.
And then next up was Chris Christie. Within 60 seconds of his opener, he tossed his own father (in the hall) under the metaphorical bus, saying “in the automobile of life, my father was definitely just a passenger.” He then went on to say that everything he is, direct and forceful, came from his mother, and that he was his “mother’s son” whenever he did anything new and bold. I couldn’t help wince a bit for his old dad wondering if we was also just a “sperm donor in the fertility clinic of life.”
Each family is different and maybe these were the realities of these two households in the fading light of the 20th century when expectations were different and breaking out of molds was harder. There were no, or few, same sex parents, far fewer single parent households (and virtually none headed by dads), and everything was a lot more black and white. But then was then, and as much as some might wish for a more golden past, moms and many, many dads are nurturing, caring, opinionated, homework helping, loud sighers across the country. Had I been sitting on the fence about Romney, the performance last night would not have endeared me to him, his wife, or his cause, if for no other reason than that he and his wife are locked in that past paradigm of what an “American family” should be and likely will never be again.