Memo to Ann Romney: Motherhood is hard work, but it’s not a career

Whether you’re a father with a stay-at-home wife, a working mother with a partner, or a single mother on her own, the buck stops with you if you’re providing the primary financial support for your family—and that responsibility is often terrifying. We all have our wide-awake-at-3-in-the-morning nights, and no doubt Mrs. Romney has endured her share. But her worries, however grave, have never included the ability to feed her kids or keep a roof over their heads—and those are problems that regularly torture countless American women.

For most of them, working for pay is a necessity, and staying home to raise their children is not an option, despite the constant blather about “choice.” Whether or not we want to do so—and many of us do—the majority of us work because we have to, and our children depend on us to bring in a reliable income. No one who has never shouldered that responsibility can ever really know what it’s like—how scary it is, how hard it is, and how lonely it can feel…

When it comes to motherhood, there’s no shortage of heroism or sacrifice no matter which role you play. But for all too many families, if mom didn’t bring home the bacon, there wouldn’t be any food on the table.