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Mom-In-Chief

Ruth Marcus is miffed at Michelle Obama for coming right out and saying that her primary task right now is “to continue to be mom in chief.” This is deemed “retro,” and Marcus is annoyed that Michelle is letting down the working-mom “team.”

Oh please. Let’s go through a few of the ways in which this is misguided. First, once again we see that liberal feminism was never about “choices,” but about a certain choice — a career outside the home. It is cringe-inducing, apparently, for someone to come right out and say that child-rearing is a priority.

Second, there are two little girls here. Their parents have been on the road non-stop and now they are moving, going to a new school, and keeping the imposing 24/7 company of  men in suits who drive big black SUV’s. Is it so awful to expect that one of their parents (Yes, the one not elected Leader of the Free World) should devote some time to focus on them? But again, liberal feminism wasn’t so much about caring for and devotion to other people. That’s, you know, “retro.”

And finally, let’s be honest here. Michelle Obama isn’t going to be “giving up” much in any meaningful sense. She’s one of the most famous women on the planet and she’ll have an army of professionals helping her with a dizzying range of activities.  There will be schedulers, planners, drivers, cooks, advisors, stylists, and more.  So let’s not take the “giving it all up for the kids” quite so literally. It’s not a life of drudgery and lonely sacrifice we’re talking about here.

But Marcus gives away the game at the end:

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and not only because of Michelle Obama. I’m in the midst of one of those periodic work-family recalibrations, balancing the needs of adolescent daughters, my husband’s busy job and my own overextended one.

Well, maybe everyone should solve their own “recalibrations” and let the Obamas do their own. The latter certainly don’t seem very angst-ridden about their new life.



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