Linda Hirshman better articulates the point I was trying to make in my previous post about whether my experience as a stay-at-home dad gives me the authority to advice a president on women's policies as Ann Romney claims her stay-at-home parenting qualifies her.
Although Ann Romney may be a fine spokesperson on some issues, the dirty little secret of angling for female votes is that while all women’s work, inside or outside the home, has the same worth, as Michelle Obama and Barbara Bush sweetly expressed, all women do not have the same interests. Women who work in the home do not have the same interest in the recovery of the formal job market as women who have to work for pay. Indeed, wage-earning women probably have more in common with their paycheck-dependent male co-workers on the subject of economic recovery than with household laborers such as Ann Romney.
That sounds about right. When I was a stay-at-home dad I really didn't spend much time thinking directly about either the delightful job markets of the Clinton years or the real-estate bubble. Nor did I think much of the Cheney/Bush-engineered job-market collapses. I instead mostly spent a lot of time stewing about how to manage our household budget while relying on someone else to provide it.
If that had been the sum of my experience of the job market it would not qualify me to say I'd worked a day in my life no matter that as a stay-at-home parent I labored mightily.
Bottom line: In America today most parents are obliged to simultaneously compete for jobs and earn money in the workforce and perform all the duties of domestic consumption at home.
To say that Ann Romney's experience in the home qualifies as workforce experience is as out-of-touch as saying that Mitt Romney's experience at Bain Capital qualifies as parenting.