Mom Shaming and Kellyanne Conway

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on December 16, 2016

As a psychotherapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, who provides counseling to working mothers and stay at home mothers, and is thus well aware of the challenges of balancing, navigating, and managing multiple parts of one’s life (children, work, marriage, personal health…), today’s blog addresses my genuine disappointment regarding the negative commentary via social media about Kellyanne Conway’s lack of acceptance of a full time position in the Trump administration. Additionally, as a woman, business owner, mother, and wife, I understand on a personal identifiable level the significance and importance of the decisions that we make as women. As the choices we make on our parenting journey is meaningful and impactful for ourselves and our family’s health and wellness.  

As women, we can all truly take pride in the fact that Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is the first woman in history to run a successful presidential campaign. Soooo, why oh why are feminists in an uproar spewing vile mom shaming comments on various social media outlets? I thought feminism is about a woman’s right to choose. I thought feminism is about expanding opportunities for women, which includes whatever decision women make. One can only begin to imagine the intensity of Kellyanne’s experiences as of late. One can only begin to understand her desire and reported intent to stay on as an adviser. One can only begin to imagine her thoughts leading up to her reported decision and plan to focus her attention on her four children, rather than accept the full time position offered to her in the Trump administration. Should we not respect that? Her children are 12, 12, 8 and 7. The fact that she can make the choice to devote time to her children the way in which she so desires is a wonderful thing, is it not?

Is her decision such a threat to women, to “sisterhood”? If we as women cannot support a woman’s right to choose, how can we possibly expect men to respect a women’s decision, whatever that decision may be?

Bottom line: Kellyanne accomplished, she worked, and she worked hard. Perhaps she worked even harder than hard. Why are some women bashing her for her decision to make a shift and focus on her children? Why are there women whose comments present with such anger and hurtful commentary?  When women who are in the movie industry are done with a movie and then take time off to be with their children, I typically see that action as commended throughout social media. I often see that decision as celebrated. Is this yet another example of feminists bashing a woman who is on “the other team”, meaning there’s a political divide of women? Kellyanne ran a successful campaign for a Republican, is that the problem here for those women bashing her?

Whether political or not, whether it’s a case of internal anger where some women are angry that another woman has the financial ability to decide to stay home, whatever the analytical reason why is, that is not the focus here today. Rather, the focus of this blog and intent, is to put out there to women the following notion to consider: the importance of supporting other women’s decisions. Please, let’s stop the female divide, thus, let’s stop the mom shaming! The right to choose is something to embrace. As women, let’s be proud of our fellow women with whatever they decide.

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